Customer Success

How To Build A Strong Restaurant Brand | A Mini-guide

Building a strong restaurant brand can be the key to unlocking your sales potential. In a market as competitive as the restaurant business, brand building helps your customers remember you uniquely.

Building a strong brand for your restaurant can be the key to unlocking your sales potential. In a market as competitive as the restaurant business, brand building helps you to develop a relationship with your customers

The entire process of building a restaurant’s brand can be broken down into 3 simple steps:
1. Analysis
2. Brainstorming
3. Expression

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What Is A Brand?

A brand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual. Think of a brand as a person. How do they look? How do they talk? Are they fun or serious? Sophisticated or simple? Accessible or luxurious?  All these traits would together build your brand.

For restaurants, every little part right from your logo and tagline to your menu and outlet design, would contribute to your brand. In an industry as competitive as the restaurant business, your brand can be a huge differentiating factor. So creating a compelling brand for your restaurant is critical.

The Three-Step Process To Build A Strong Brand

Step 1 - Analysis

Your journey to creating a strong brand for your restaurant begins with analyzing the brand identity of your top competitors.

Only when you know how your competitors are positioning their brands can you use that information to position your brand uniquely. Use your competitors’ brands as inspiration to think of ideas that set your restaurant apart. When observing your competition, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are their mission and values?
  • Which customers are they trying to reach?
  • How do they sound and interact?
  • What do they look like?
  • How are customers responding to their brand?

Document the answers to each of these questions in as much detail as you possibly can in order to thoroughly analyze your competitors' branding strategy.

Step 2 - Brainstorming

Only after a thorough analysis should you begin to think about ideas to create your restaurant’s brand. To get started, sit with a pen and paper and attempt to answer all the questions that you asked yourself to understand your competitors' brands. You could take the help of your restaurant staff and customers to understand how they perceive your restaurant’s brand already and build upon it. Once done, remember to document your answers to essentially build a brand guide for your restaurant.

Restaurants have many points of customer interaction, each of which can be an opportunity to position your restaurant strategically. We’ve categorized the likely behavior of your customers into 5 stages and broken down each stage into touchpoints you could optimize to strategically reflect your brand. Let’s take a look!

Stage 1 - Shuffling

Before physically visiting a restaurant, users tend to check out restaurants online. This usually happens directly through google images and reviews or through aggregator platforms like Swiggy and Zomato.  This is where a user shuffles through multiple restaurants and gets acquainted with your brand.

Here are the touchpoints that you can optimize to position yourself as a strong brand:

  • Restaurant’s Name
  • Restaurant’s Logo
  • Restaurant’s Website
  • Restaurant’s Cover Photo (on aggregator platforms)
  • Restaurant’s Ratings (on aggregator platforms)

Stage 2 - Scouring

Once a user has gotten an overview of the restaurants they may be considering, they tend to individually look up restaurants on search engines. Here’s when they look at photos to assess ambience, reviews to assess quality, and the location, among other things. Since this is the point when a user is rigorously evaluating your restaurant, they are most likely to make their decision at this stage.

Here are the touchpoints that you could optimize:

  • Quality of photos of your restaurant
  • Reviews and your response to them
  • Menu design

Stage 3 - Selection

Once the user has picked a restaurant, they go ahead and visit it physically or place an order online. While it is likely that they will order from your restaurant once they have picked it up, there is still a possibility of them being turned off at the final stage.

You would not only want to convince them to visit your restaurant but also would want to position your brand strongly at this stage. Here are touchpoints for you to optimize in that regard:

  • Exterior design
    > What does the restaurant banner look like?
    > How do you create a hassle-free entry?
  • Interior design
    > Does your restaurant have enough space and ventilation?
    > Does it give the ‘vibe’ you want to create to reflect your brand?

Stage 4 - Synchronization

Since your customers had set expectations of your restaurant during online assessment, they would now try to evaluate their experience against each expectation. This can happen at both, a dine-in or an order from home. Here are touchpoints you could optimize to offer a consistent brand experience to your customers:

  • Music
  • Comfort (Seating, ventilation)
  • Food quality
  • Hospitality

Every part of the points above reflects your brand. Traditional music could ruin your brand if you position it as a sophisticated contemporary one. Similarly, right from the uniform donned by your staff to how they interact with your customers, all these minute details build the perception of your brand in a customer’s mind. And therefore, you would want to optimize each factor rigorously.

Stage 5 - Sequel

By the time the meal’s over, your customer has most likely made a decision about your restaurant based on end-to-end experience they have had. Here’s when they are probably considering revisiting or recommending your restaurant to a friend. While it may seem that the show’s over, here as well, there are touchpoints you could optimize for your brand:

  • Billing
    > How do you present your bill?
    To position yourself as a traditional Indian restaurant, you could present your bill in a bahi-khata styled file rather than the typical billing folder.
  • Check-out
    > Do you thank your customers for visiting? If yes, how?
    You could be super creative at this point to make sure that they feel good enough to want to visit again!

Every point of interaction with the customer is an opportunity for your restaurant to stand out. Optimizing every one of the points mentioned earlier to reflect your brand would go a long way in building an unforgettable restaurant brand.

Again, remember to document your answers to make sure that all your staff and managers can understand and execute it well.

Step 3 - Expression

Once you have rigorously brainstormed all the aspects of your brand, it’s time to express it. Apart from reflecting your brand across all the touchpoints mentioned earlier, the two major mediums to express your brand would be:
A. Website
B. Social Media
C. Traditional Media

A. Website

A website is the most critical platform to reflect your brand in 2022. It is essentially the place for you to tell your own story, in your own words (unlike third-party platforms).

To build a strong brand, get a website that helps your restaurant stand out. Apart from providing you a channel to display your brand, your website should help you increase your revenues as well.

We can help you do this really well with our website building tool - Meraki.

B. Social Media

Social Media has changed the way companies connect with their customers and conduct business. This is especially true for restaurants. According to a study by Matchbox, 69% of millennials click a photo of their food before eating it!

And when you know that someone’s going to be clicking a photo of your meticulously cooked dish, why not offer them the chance to tag you publicly and spread the word through social media?

Follow this 5 step process to leverage social media to build your restaurant’s brand.

i. Create a business profile on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and  YouTube for your restaurant. These are the must have social media platforms.

ii. Customize your social media as per your brand - add logos, bios, website, location, contact details etc.

iii. Create a content plan for your social media and get going.

C. Traditional Media

i. Set up banners, posters, and billboards advertising your restaurant at popular locations.

ii. Collaborate with print media to publicize your brand in-famous newspapers.

iii. Distribute handouts, flyers, and brochures in large gatherings during events or festivals.

iv. Remind customers of all the happenings at your restaurant by SMS and email outreach. Send them offers and discounts to encourage them to keep ordering from your restaurant.

Expressing your brand plays a crucial role in keeping it alive in your customers’ minds. Today, we have thousands of brands constantly reaching out to your customers. So building a brand alone is not sufficient. Expressing it, promoting it, and marketing it is your route to making it successful.

Get started with building your own website here.

Oshin Sharma
Content Manager

I research best practices from across the restaurant industry and condense them into easy to understand articles.

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