If you’re a restaurant owner you may be asking yourself, “what exactly makes for a successful restaurant brand?”

Having great food and drink options for customers is only part of having a successful long-term restaurant branding strategy. There is more to consider these days such as the quality of service, ambiance, environment, location, as well as your online marketing. All of these have an impact on each individual customer’s experience at your establishment.

But what about your brand? What we’ll look at in this article is what defines a brand, what defines a successful brand, and how you can make sure your branding is done correctly.

Branding Explained

In a nutshell, it is the personality and ideology that goes with your business. It is what people remember even more than great food. Consider something like Applebee’s brand, we all know their branded line, “eating good in the neighborhood”, and this is an example of a successful brand. It also includes the staff’s uniforms, the ambiance of the restaurant, and its internal decorations and menu. This is what creates a complete and total experience for diners.

It also goes beyond marketing your restaurant to fill tables. A brand creates a memorable connection with patrons. It is something they can refer to and remember easily. It can create a memorable experience that will stick out in people’s minds when it comes to where they will eat out.

A great experience with great food and a great brand makes for a great restaurant that is successful.

“But isn’t branding only important for chain restaurants?”

False. Branding is important for every establishment from neighborhood lemonade stand to food trucks to fast food chains to the worlds best restaurants. People who get on board with your brand will be brand loyal and will choose your establishment over other options.

What You Need For A Brand

Get through these few items to get a jump on creating your brand. Be sure to plan this out because when your brand is established and has a following you will not want to make any changes as it can hurt your brand.

1. Brand Concept and Mission Statement – these two items should be thought about concurrently. Your restaurants mission statement may or should have an impact on the brand concept you develop. What is the goal of your restaurant for each patron that enters on an emotional and yes even physical level? What needs does your area have? Is there a need for a fine dining establishment or is there a need for a family friendly sports bar? Answer these questions to come up with your brand.

2. Know Your Audience – demographics is also an important aspect of creating a successful brand. Who is your audience? Families who want affordable good food? What is the price point of your customers? What age groups are you expecting? This will be important when it comes to branding. How modern should it be or should there be a more old world feel to your brand? Things to consider.

3. Name, Logo, and Tagline – when you know your audience demographics, your mission statement, brand concept and type of restaurant you are opening, it will be time to think of another very important aspect to branding, your name.

Names should be memorable and unique, with a good-looking sleek logo that provides a positive and memorable feeling to patrons, as well as a tagline they can remember and recite. Think “I’m lovin’ it” from McDonald’s.

4. Website & Social Media – today’s fast paced and modern world means you need to have a website with important information for diners. People will be looking for things like store hours, location, the menu, pricing, and any events you have coming. In conjunction with Social Media like Instagram and Facebook, this creates a way to reach out to your fans and provide updates, start conversations, and be in the modern world of restaurants today.

5. Atmosphere & Ambiance – the look and feel externally and internally of your restaurant is also important in relation to your brand. Let’s say you run a barbecue and smokehouse style restaurant that serves things like ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and other barbecue options. You won’t want to have candles, white table cloths and chandeliers throughout the restaurant. Go with ambiance that matches your food and brand.

6. Merch – merchandising your brand is a great way to keep the message going and really make people get on board even stronger with your restaurants brand. Things like t-shirts, hats, magnets, matchbooks, even mints is something people can get behind. Free options like matchbooks are great because people will take them home and it also works as a business card with restaurant phone number and name.

If using a rewards system you can also have diners get a free shirt when reaching a set number of points a long with a discount next time in.

7. Food – this is the last aspect to branding you should consider. Your food should match your brand. Let’s say again you run a barbecue and smokehouse restaurant, your food should be what people expect. To take it to another level, produce different takes on classic dishes that will make yours stick you out apart and above other similar places. Designing a great menu is important to keeping your brand healthy and robust.

Getting your brand created and established should be one of the easier parts of creating a successful restaurant. When you have your location, your permits, your equipment, and the other aspects ready, get out there and create your brand.

Learn from other restaurants that have successful brands and take little cues from all of them to create something unique and memorable.

No Cost Analysis of Your Menu

We will be glad to review your menu and point out things that may help your menu work better. Even if you are not using our menu papers or printing services. Email a PDF or JPEG of your menu to tom@menustore.com

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visit MenuPaper.com or call 1-800-815-5342 to get started