Restaurant branding is generally a catch-all term for every way your food business communicates the brand personality, brand identity, core values, and goals. A strong restaurant brand tends to create an emotional connection with diners across all parts, including its concept, ambiance, decoration, online presence, and printed materials.
The restaurant's branding is crucial for any business size. According to a Vista survey, most leaders in small enterprises that operate in the hospitality sector (89%) attribute branding as a key to success. More than 81% report it is considerably connected with revenue growth and over 85% claim it helps acquire new customers. More than 91% say it makes for improved brand loyalty. Let's dive into this ultimate guide to restaurant branding to achieve overall success.
What strategy for branding a restaurant: 14 most creative ideas
1. Determine your restaurant's mission and brand voice
As you create a restaurant branding strategy, the first step is crafting your restaurant mission statement that will be your guiding compass all along and help your eatery build trust with customers. To do that, just answer these questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why do you do it?
- How can you do it?
- What do you expect to accomplish?
- What is your unique selling point (USP)?
The mission of Chipotle is “food with integrity.” Their “For Real” campaign highlight their ingredients and consistency throughout stores to express this mission. (Image: Chipotle)
After deciding your mission, define the restaurant’s brand voice (meaning what kind of eatery you will be in relation to your target audience). Will you be elegant or fun? Depending on the traits your restaurant branding communicates, you will discover how to interact with your potential customers live, on your restaurant website, and social media.
Whole Foods is home-grown and healthy. Their brand personality comes through easily via the ad campaign. (Image: Whole Foods)
2. Define your target audience
Out of all the elements to consider, your restaurant customers are impossible to disregard. You can break this down into two groups: your existing customer base and target customers. Defining your intended guests will help you decide how to communicate with your diners. Besides, it should reveal insight into enhancing your customer experience and avoiding negative reviews.
Determining your target guests depends on factors such as the brand design, location, ambiance, and menu. For instance, do you run a fast-casual food establishment ideal for families wishing to grab a bite? Or, is it located near a college campus, and does it serve affordable drinks and food - then, most of your patrons will be university students.
Another tip for defining your customer base is to ask your loyal customers what they like about your restaurant brand and what kind of dining experience they expect to have when they visit.
3. Work on brand positioning
Positioning your restaurant in the mind of your guests should be based on:
- Your menu items
- The menu design elements (this can be built and optimized using One2’s menu management functionality)
- The price
- Your restaurant location
- Your marketing efforts to attract new guests.
4. Choose a quality name
This is a key part of restaurant branding. Your name needs to be unique but relevant and memorable. Ideally, it gives customers a sense of what food you serve and what should be their expectations when they visit.
5. Create your restaurant brand by being real
Your guests do not want your eatery’s exaggerated version but the real you. Tell them what they will get, then do not fail to give it to them. Gaining their trust and loyalty is invaluable to your success.
For instance, should your overall brand mission be to offer tasty breakfast food in a relaxing way, do so. The more muddled your brand messaging is, the less strong branding you have.
Being real also equates to doing something beneficial for the community. Consider working with a non-profit to provide employment opportunities to the down-on-their-luck.
6. Customize the look of your restaurant (including the restaurant logo)
This playful design by EWMDesigns is clean and approachable.
From your restaurant logo design and interior design to the brand's color palette, lettering, business card design, and more, the eatery’s look should reflect your mission statement and brand voice. If you also provide delivery and pickup (which can be implemented easily and efficiently with One2’s ordering system), consider designing the packaging. Remember that the design elements are among the first things to connect people with your eatery.
7. Personalize your menu to fit your restaurant brand
Branding can extend to the restaurant’s menu items. For instance, a sports bar menu might help reinforce its branding following these pointers. A ghost kitchen menu can be impressive this way. Or, Japanese restaurants like Sushi X have integrated One2 Menu into their website for improved branding, customers experience, and traffic.
What our customers have to say
8. Create a catchy slogan
Some of the successful restaurants have recognizable slogans, for example, KFC's It's Finger Lickin' Good. If possible, create one for your restaurant. It should be memorable and connected with your brand forever.
Image: The Drum
9. Tell your brand story
Every business has a story that creates an emotional connection with customers and helps them remember who you are. For instance, you are the third-generation owner of your town’s popular Mexican restaurant. Or, you were the organic produce supplier of the eatery, and when the owner passed away, you bought it. As your mission statement is the moral of your restaurant’s story, ensure that it is a compelling truth.
10. Offer promotions aligned with your brand identity
Give guests what they crave most: discounts and coupons. For instance, should you be a family-friendly restaurant, think about discounted kid menus. And use One2’s promotions update functionality to streamline the process.
But on the other hand, be careful about deflating your brand by devaluing the menu. Restaurants that give discounts all the time tend to get more bargain hunters who are not going to be loyal to your place.
11. Set your priorities
Crucially, in this customer-centered society, your brand delivers excellent service aside from preparing consistently quality food. Should your customers be unsatisfied, get back to their comments with empathy and understanding. Do not let guests determine your brand since you failed to take care of them.
12. Keep your online and offline branding consistent
Panera (Image: Dieline)
Your website color palette should match those of your physical location. Also, your social media platforms need to have the same imprint. Keep advertising on par with your branding as well. And should your restaurant not provide uniforms to servers, you can still get them to wear t-shirts in the brand’s colors.
Employees wear outfits in the brand’s colors.
13. Unclutter your message
To cut through the noise in the restaurant industry, you may keep your restaurant brand’s look and message clutter-free. Take Chipotle and Panera as examples. They boast simple logos and clear brand messages.
Panera (Image: Dieline)
14. Be patient
Patience is the last rule regarding restaurant branding. It will take a while for your business to create brand awareness and leave a lasting impression on customers. Chipotle surely was not an overnight success. Just know your restaurant brand and keep it at the forefront of everything you do.
Restaurant brand inspiration
Colorful food photos (Image: Sweetgreen)
- Business model: Fast-casual restaurant concept that serves healthy food
- Restaurant's branding: Through simple design layout, neutral color palette, bright lighting, marketing platforms that shows colorful food photos, and vibrant employees
Rachel's Cafe & Creperie
Image: Rachel's Cafe & Creperie
- Business model: Full-service cafe with a Parisian theme,
- Restaurant branding: Through whimsical lighting fixtures, floral wallpaper, checkered floors, floral wallpaper, Paris images, and menu options under French influence
1. Which are the parts of restaurant branding?
- Logo design
- Brand colors and font styles
- Interior design
- Employee uniforms
- Restaurant's menu
- Website and social media
- Parking lot
- Outdoor greenery
2. What is the main difference between restaurant's branding and marketing?
Branding molds loyal guests. In comparison, marketing involves finding and motivating more diners.