There are approximately 200,000 organized restaurants in India alone. This is not including the fast food centres, chat shops, tea shops and tiffin centres. Imagine what the numbers would be like if we include all of them! So, how can you make your restaurant stand out in this vast and competitive industry? This is where branding your restaurant comes into play!
When it comes to branding, you have to look at it in two ways, the Tangible part and Intangible part. The tangible aspect includes the way the product looks, the size, colour and shape of it all. It is what essentially helps you visually differentiate one product from another. In the long run, if you solely differentiate your product on colour, packaging etc., there is always a possibility of losing customers to other similar products.
The differentiation you achieve in the intangible part will help you create the cult you are looking for. The intangible aspects of branding are all about the personality and what the company stands for, the feeling your product induces, giving its customers something to relate to.
For example, Harley Davidson; if they had purely differentiated on terms of product performance, there any many bikes which are faster, more comfortable and less priced than a Harley. Instead, they have created a cult following when it comes to their product. The customers are fiercely loyal as it is a part of who they are. It ignites in them, a feeling of being free and being a rebel, which helps its consumers connect on a deeper level with Harley.
Building a restaurant brand is not as easy as you may think. You can’t just create a logo and call it a day. In order to create a brand that resonates with your customers, you need to put in a lot of hard work. But trust me, the ultimate reward of having loyal customers and a sustainable business will definitely be worth it.
Here’s how you go about branding your restaurant.
Define your restaurant brand
Your restaurant brand requires a solid foundation, so start with the obvious, such as name, logo and your restaurant’s philosophy. This includes how your brand elements are conveyed, from your visual identity both offline and online to the way your restaurant prepares and plates the food. To define your brand’s personality, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are you and what are trying to do and why?
- Who are your customers?
- How do you want to be seen by new customers?
- Which of your competitors are doing a good job at it?
Branding begins with the look and feel of your restaurant. The interior design of your restaurant should resonate what your brand is and what you stand for. These questions will help you get there. A quick glance of your website, social media and even signage should represent the experience that a customer will get at your restaurant.
“Successful people ask better questions, as a result, they get better answers” – Tony Robbins
Position your restaurant
You need to position your brand in the market as strongly as you can. Your restaurant needs to differentiate itself through at least one aspect. Your product, its price, its promotion and its market place are the key components of your branding strategy.
Similar to how Paradise restaurant positions itself as the best place for Hydrebadi Biryani, even though they have many other dishes in their menu, or how some restaurants position themselves as a value for money food joint, you too need to position your restaurant in order to stand out.
“Your culture is your brand.”
The experience that your customer has at each touch point of your restaurant, right from how the waiter opens the door to the way you deliver them the bill defines your brand.
An easier way is to jot down your thoughts step-by-step. This will give you an overview of your business and brand which will kick-start your branding strategy.
Create a personality
The personality of your brand is what will make your restaurant brand unique and memorable. Do something unexpected and people will connect to you and remember your brand. But, you may think, “There are so many concepts and ideas out there, how can you possibly make your brand stand out?”
Well, it’s done by finding that X factor that is a big part of your story. It can be anything from what inspired you to start a restaurant to a fun piece of history that is linked to you and your brand. This extra titbit is what people will remember for days after they visit your restaurant.
Describe your brand as a person with character traits, such as original, energetic, fun, etc. and elaborate on them one by one until you get a clear picture of your brand’s personality. When you finalize the type of person your brand is, you will easily know how your brand will interact with your customers.
Consistency is key
Being consistent with your branding is just as important as having the high quality of your food unchanged. Every time your customers do business with you, it is an opportunity for you to emphasize on your brand image. It is like building a relationship with them. You don’t want to turn into a different person in the middle of the relationship, do you?
No matter the type of media or advertising platform you use, everything about your brand must be consistent, such as logo, colour, font and even the tone of communication. You can’t control where your customers first come in contact with your brand, you can only make sure what they see and how they perceive your brand is based on the actual experience they will get.
Provide strong touch points
None of this will matter if you do not back up branding your restaurant with good quality food and service. In order for your brand to be strong, all touch points of your business must be strong enough to impact the relationship you have with your customers.
Just remember to stay focused, consider all touch points, and don’t forget to enjoy what you are doing. Bringing that feeling of warmth and hospitality is what makes your brand stand out and it is that warmth that people will remember and talk about with others.
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what the consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook