How to create a strong and profitable restaurant brand.
Creating a strong and profitable brand is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant’s offering, but so often it doesn’t receive the attention or effort it deserves.
In this post we’re going to explore the vital elements which drive your restaurant’s brand. And as a special bonus you can see what the experts think, by downloading a Q&A with branding gurus, Hey You.
A brand is just a logo right?
Wrong; a brand is so much more than just a logo; your brand is driven by every customer touchpoint, from service, to your fit out, your menu offering and your marketing.
Combined, these elements all drive your customers’ perception of your offering and its value. It drives preference for your business, trial, loyalty and ultimately, when everything is working together, love for your brand.
And with brand love comes loyalty beyond reason. Think of some of the brands you love beyond reason; maybe it’s a clothing brand, a car brand or even another restaurant. Think about how you covet these brands and talk about these brands to your friends; this is ultimately how you want your customers to feel about your restaurant.
When I talk about brand, I often refer to the Brand ID. This brand ID is what drives brand love through:
- Brand Image: The tactile elements of your restaurant which help cultivate a brand experience such as your fit out, your menu design and the presentation of your staff.
- Brand Personality: How your brand speaks to your customers though the language used, your marketing, and service style.
- Service Delivery: The total customer experience from their interaction with your staff, the quality of the meal to the value proposition.
- Brand Awareness: Quite simply, whether or not your target market is aware of your brand, and how they perceive it.
BRAND ID DRIVES VALUE
Earlier on I mentioned that a brand will influence your customers’ perception of value. This means a strong brand ID will allow you to charge a premium, and within reason, customers are prepared to pay this premium because they still feel they’re receiving good value for money.
Think about it; imagine you have two sandwich shops operating in a similar area offering a similar product.
One store is clean and well presented. Its fit out is on-point, staff are well dressed and deliver outstanding service, the sandwiches are well presented, and the packaging, signage and menu boards are all consistently presented. They’ve created a vibe which completely resonates with the target market.
The other sandwich shop offers the opposite. The sandwiches are the same but they’re poorly merchandised, the visual elements in the shop are inconsistent and the customer service is lacking.
We all know restaurants like these two right?
The second shop will probably do OK at best. Their product and perhaps their location may drive a little bit of business, especially amongst customers for whom price is the key driver.
However, it’s pretty easy to see that the first sandwich shop will be able to charge more for their food. And what’s more, their customers are still going to feel like they’re receiving good value for money. And in all likelihood will develop a fondness or even love beyond reason for this business.
BUILDING A STRONG BRAND ID
When developing or evolving you brand ID, consider your current offering and the changes you want to make in the context of these five vital elements:
- Target Market: Identify who your target market is and develop a brand ID that resonates with them. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
- Consistency: Without consistency your messaging and brand ID will drift and become confused.
- Professional: Every place customers connect with your brand must be presented professionally.
- Personality: Identify what your brand’s personality is, make sure it resonates with your target market and make sure it is projected throughout your business though colours, styling, language and fonts.
- Cost: Building your brand ID needn’t be expensive, think about what changes are going to give you the best bang for buck.
IN SUMMARY . . .
A strong brand ID that resonates with your target market, and is consistently and professionally presented, will grow your customer base and drive your profitability by:
- Improving your perceived value;
- Allowing you to charge a premium;
- Building love for your brand; and
- Driving loyalty.