In the restaurant business, you need more than good food to stay competitive. By focusing on building a strong brand, you can set yourself apart from the competition. Whether you’re a new restaurant building a brand from the ground up, or an established operation looking for a refresh, it’s critical to share your unique story and company values and let them guide your brand identity. As you are building brand awareness for your restaurant, allow this simple question to guide you: Why should people go to your restaurant over others?
Restaurant Branding: The Basics
Develop an actionable restaurant awareness strategy to help boost your reputation among new customers while staying connected to your regulars.
Mission & Values
Your mission statement and value proposition are the backbones of your brand, which is why it should be thoughtfully reflected in everything you do at your restaurant. The values of a restaurant are important to consumers. According to the Consumer Technographics Data report from Forbes, “nearly 7 in 10 U.S. millennials actively consider company values when making a purchase.” Some of these millennial values are related to sustainability and responsibly sourced ingredients. As a result, many popular restaurant brands play up the use of sustainable or farm-to-table ingredients in their fast-casual menus. Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainably sourced food if they trust the brand’s values. Sustainability will undoubtedly be important to Millenials as well as Generation Z consumers for the foreseeable future.
When thinking about how to build brand awareness, consistency is key. Your restaurant’s logo, wordmark, and color scheme should be the same across all channels. Consider using bright colors, which have shown to increase brand awareness by 80%. Most important of all, keep the design aesthetic clean and simple for maximum brand recognition. The brand logo should be instantly recognizable as a cohesive visual design so that just seeing the logo evokes the desire to go to your restaurant.
Tone & Voice
Any marketing copy for your restaurant—including blogs, emails, and social media posts—should also always have a consistent tone and voice that reflects your restaurant. Choose three words to describe your brand personality (e.g.,witty, irreverent or sophisticated). If your restaurant were a person, how would you describe him or her? Having a consistent voice and tone will give you the direction you need to keep your messaging on brand. For instance, if you are promoting a sports bar, the messaging style could be conversational and upbeat, containing a healthy dose of sports references customers can relate to. The sports motif could also be represented in the decor and employee uniforms, which also builds out your restaurant awareness.
Know the Demographics
You can’t just rely solely on one demographic for your customer base—restaurants need to reach out to younger customers across Millennials and Generation Z. And while generational categories have some similarities, they also have key differences that are essential to understand if you want to appeal to them. For example, Boomers and Generation X customers might be more comfortable ordering from restaurants via traditional methods, such as menus and phone orders, while Millennials and Generation Z are more accustomed to—and—often prefer—online methods.
In-house Restaurant Branding
In-restaurant branding is another way to enhance customer experience and build your brand.
- Music: Consider the music you choose for the dining room. Does it reflect the overall theme of your restaurant? Should it change based on the time of day? Have you provided music general guidelines to your employees?
- Decor: Choose appropriate decor. Do all accents express your restaurant’s identity? Does any existing decor require a refresh?
Service: Customer service also plays a role in your restaurant’s brand identity. 73% of consumers said they loved a brand because of friendly customer service. Does your staff exhibit friendly, professional service?
For example, customers can relate to familiar and beloved chain bar and grill restaurants because their brand operates around the concept of having fun and enjoying appetizer and drink specials. Such well-known brands’ employees also exude this theme of unfettered fun through their enthusiasm. Another example of a company whose employees showcase the brand is Southwest Airlines. This brand evokes fun, embraces a sense of humor, and exudes enthusiasm for welcoming their customers—and the employees reflect that in every customer touchpoint.
Consider casual restaurants. Here, jokes and banter are appropriate between customers and staff. Upscale establishments, in turn, typically follow a more formal customer service approach. The appropriate style should reflect the level of formality of the restaurant, so it best fits the brand personality and reflects your customer base. Your brand should be relatable, recognizable, and welcoming to the respective clientele.
Restaurant Branding Beyond the Dining Room
Marketing materials, including print and digital, allow you to communicate your restaurant's look and personality outside of your restaurant. Your branding in marketing materials should allow customers to recognize your restaurant immediately, whether they're receiving an email or viewing an advertisement. Present the same image across Facebook, Instagram, and other online platforms. For more tips on how to market your restaurant online, check out our blog 5 Ways to Ramp Up Restaurant Marketing.
Branding should also play a part in takeout and delivery services. Whether the restaurant is fast-casual or more upscale, the takeout containers should reflect the appropriate aesthetic—branded take out containers and bags are a great way to communicate your personality to the outside world.
When you implement a strategic restaurant brand awareness initiative, it will give your restaurant the consistency it needs to help customers easily identify your business and build brand loyalty. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to maintain your brand as you grow your business and reach new customer bases while also engaging your loyal regulars.
If you’re wondering how to increase brand awareness for a restaurant, check out our Resources page to find the recipe for success. We also have more ideas from our blog, 6 Restaurant Marketing Tips You Can Use Right Now
Ready to capitalize on increased brand awareness? Get started with DoorDash For Merchants today and boost your reputation both online and in the neighborhood.