There’s nothing quite as powerful as fantastic branding. Successful restaurant branding goes far beyond the realm of color palettes. Branding initiates an emotional connection. It is a precious tool in business and a vital business component if you have high hopes for your restaurant.
This is especially the case for restaurants that rely on the secret weapon of customer loyalty. Branding is essential if you want a restaurant that goes the mile to create long-term success. Your restaurant should evoke emotion, have a clear customer experience, and have an inspiring, or at least relatable, mission statement.
Of course, none of this is a walk in the park to create. Creating your restaurant’s brand is a slow but rewarding process. You’ll need a clear path forward to intentionally reinforce your restaurant’s brand image every step of the way.
Think of it as having an ornate hedge in a garden. You might plant the hedge first, but you’ll continuously return to shape it. It will need regular pruning to maintain its desired shape. This is exactly like creating a brand image for your restaurant.
In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to make a start — whether you’re planting or ‘pruning.’
What Is Restaurant Branding?
So, what is restaurant branding? It is always important to clarify definitions before embarking on the in-depth stuff. To simplify things, restaurant branding is how people perceive your restaurant. It mixes the emotions, thoughts, and associations your restaurant conjures.
For instance, McDonald’s conjures thoughts of fast food cravings, fun, and family meals. Meanwhile, Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants conjure associations of professionalism, high standards, and — likely — idiot sandwich memes.
You can see how these brands have personalities beyond just a color palette. The key to branding your restaurant is to create personalities as if your restaurant is a person with critical traits. This helps to create a rounded brand with clear emotions, thoughts, and associations.
The appeal to loyal customers here is reliability. They know what to expect, and they build a relationship with your restaurant. Meanwhile, potential customers get high brand awareness before crossing your threshold.
Of course, the color palette does come into things to a certain extent. You can play on the psychology of color. For instance, yellow is for happiness, and navy is for professionalism and loyalty. However, branding is more about how your business acts to align with its overall themes and message.
For instance, Gordon Ramsey demonstrates professionalism and high standards when appearing on TV shows. McDonald’s has that iconic whistling jingle to reinforce its fun and family-friendly brand identity.
Your restaurant brand is a semantic field of intentional thoughts, emotions, and associations — often tied to an overall mission. This could be as simple as providing excellent quality food or a fun and cheap dining experience. All your business actions and choices link to this brand image and identity, reinforcing it to customers.
How To Create The Best Restaurant Branding
So, all of this sounds great, but how do you create the best restaurant branding? Simple. You get clear on your business as a whole. What do you value? How do you want your customers to leave your restaurant feeling? What do you honestly care about?
These questions help you get the ultimate clarity on branding your restaurant. You should start by digging deep.
You can follow some simple steps to create the perfect branding for your restaurant. Just check these out.
- Brainstorm what is most important for your restaurant. For instance, what do you want to provide for customers? If you could change one thing in your industry, what would it be? What makes your dining experience unique or more fulfilling? Bullet point all of your answers. These are your brand goals and the base of your brand identity.
- Next, focus on emotions. How do customers feel when they experience these parts of your brand identity? What feelings are you trying to instill?
- Finally, how can you bring this brand identity to life? Are there colors that can help build these associations? A particular style of decor? Or perhaps there is something unique about your customer service? Determine how you can help deliver your brand to your target audience. Jot down as many ideas as possible.
Next, put your ideas into action. Follow these next steps:
- Establishing a budget is a serious part of this task. Crunch your budget and decide how you can bring your new brand identity to life. This will help you narrow down the ideas you had in the last step.
- Lastly, create a plan. You should have a collection of ideas and a timeframe. This is your branding plan moving forward.
Restaurant Branding Ideas To Fuel Your Success
So, now you know all about branding your restaurant and the creative and logistical process behind the magic. What next? Well, you need some brilliant restaurant branding ideas. How can you create your brand identity with the correct brand awareness?
In this section, we’ll provide you with basic but brilliant strategies to help put your business on the map. Grab a pencil and paper, and let’s get started.
Social media and online presence are two of the significant ways you can push your branding. How you show up in the digital world is insanely important. Your digital presence needs to align with your real-life branding.
This is especially important as customers increasingly use social media like a search engine. If customers use Instagram to search for new places to eat and drink, you need an accurate online presence.
You can use plenty of tools for inspiration, like social media content planning calendars. You can use photos to capture your restaurant’s aesthetic. Or videos to capture personality, experiences, and stories behind the restaurant.
For instance, the story of a family recipe to reinforce your branding as an authentic Italian restaurant.
Another considerable way to brand your restaurant is through WiFi marketing. Many people think WiFi marketing is primarily applicable to its captive portal strategy — collecting marketing details.
However, it goes far beyond that. WiFi marketing is brilliant for creating brand awareness through encouraging reviews and social media interactions. It also helps build loyal customers through loyalty program sign-ups and email marketing.
You can use WiFi as a bargaining tool to wedge your foot in the door, creating better customer relationships. It also helps to reinforce your brand image online through reviews and social media interactions.
Another thing that reinforces your brand is partnership choices. Who do you choose to affiliate your restaurant with? This could be in terms of suppliers.
For example, which brewery do you source your beer from? A local brewery? A major beer brand? Or a sustainable microbrewery with carbon-neutral processes? Little partnership choices create a big message.
This message even comes down to things like which figureheads or influencers you invite to events. Branding is worthwhile even at temporary events. The best form of branding is consistent branding.
Make sure that who you work with resonates with your branding goals. Ensure you are transparent about partnerships — providing extra details through captions, verbal correspondence, and QR codes.
As you know from McDonald’s and Gordan Ramsey’s restaurants, figureheads are great for branding . We all know Gordan Ramsey’s branding. He is a loveable ‘tough guy’ passionate about professionalism and high standards.
All your staff should reinforce your brand image through a passion for professionalism or a cheerful attitude. You should ensure that all your staff knows your ethos and branding. And provide training where necessary to ensure they are confident enforcing it daily.
There may be simple tips and tricks in your practice that they can use to do so. For instance, you are greeting guests with a specific line or serving in a particular order.
Restaurant Layout and Design
Finally, your restaurant layout and design are essential for branding your restaurant. These two factors reinforce everything. And nobody likes a shabby, uninspired-looking restaurant. Investing in restaurant layout and design is vital for success.
Little things like color and decor instill brand values. For instance, the Italian flag colors and rustic interiors reinforce authenticity and the importance of tradition. Carefully consider how your restaurant looks and evaluate how you can better use it to strengthen your branding.
How Much To Budget to Brand Your Restaurant
Branding is a vital part of any restaurant marketing budget. As a general rule, it depends on how much you already allocate to your marketing budget. You can brand your restaurant for under a couple of hundred dollars. This is especially true if you are running your social media campaigns and choosing partnerships. Budgeting should be low-cost and straightforward, even for things like live event marketing.
Where it gets more expensive — think as much as $100-300 an hour — is hiring experts. You can consult brand consultants to form better or outsource your restaurant’s branding. However, we’d recommend this only if you are still waiting to see results from branding or have a large budget.
We’d budget a couple hundred dollars a year for branding. You can then incorporate it into your existing marketing budget. All you do here is keep the brand in mind when conducting all marketing, ensuring campaigns align with brand identity.
Final Thoughts: The Power of Branding Restaurants
There’s so much power in branding restaurants. The brand is everything. It defines how your target audience perceives your restaurant and provides an essential sense of identity. Perfect.
Branding is the solution if you want to establish a circle of loyal customers and extensive brand awareness. It can really transform your business. It helps customers connect with and remember your business.
So, how does Beambox factor into all of this? At Beambox, we run an all-in-one WiFi marketing platform that helps you utilize WiFi marketing. As discussed earlier, WiFi marketing is one of the most effective ways to invest in branding. Start your Beambox free trial now, and start your journey to better restaurant branding.
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