Branding for a restaurant is one of the most impactful elements of the business. It is so much more than design and representing the brand behind the food— it's about the consumer's experience, from the marketing to your staff, to your menu, to the decor. They all should work well together to create the expected experience and make it memorable.
Good restaurant branding should create the need to live the restaurant's experience, display the quality of the food, the specialty of the restaurant, and the customer service. To help you get a restaurant brand that communicates all of this effectively, we've put together this guide to gain clarity on the process of developing a brand for your restaurant. We will cover all the aspects required to make your restaurant's branding successful.
What is a brand?
Before you get started, it is essential to understand what a brand is. According to Marty Neumeier, "A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a product. A brand is not a promise. A brand is not the sum of all the impressions it makes on an audience. A brand is a result—it's a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It's in their heads and their hearts. A brand is your reputation." With that definition in mind, let's see the process behind developing your brand.
It is essential first to understand the market in which you are operating before building your brand. Start by understanding your ideal customers, the demographics and psychographics: age, sex, education, job, marital status, hobbies. Our approach involves user profiles, this step is essential as it gives us a deep understanding of the consumers. It allows us to solve their challenges and pain points to provide them with the best experience possible. Doing your research and understanding the customers will help avoid false expectations and miss the mark. The goal here is to build brand loyalty with your customers. Part of the process is to uncover the customer's journey, understand every step of the interaction between them and the restaurant.
Get familiar with your competitors. It is the positioning phase where you will find ways to differentiate your restaurant from the competition. Ask yourself these questions: What do we stand for? Who is the brand for? Who are our direct and indirect competitors? These preliminary steps will be beneficial throughout the entire project.
Combine your image and identity while building your brand. The two terms are close but represent two different things. Your image is how the outside world perceives you, and your identity is who you are. By finding a way to show your identity and make it part of your image, you show the culture behind the restaurant and create a genuine relationship with your customers, creating brand loyalty.
The brand story is supposed to evoke an emotional reaction from your customers by showing who you are, why you are the best, how, and who contributes to this effort. Like a person, brands have a voice, tone, look and feel, that sets them apart and make people relate to them. We define brands by adjectives such as luxurious or economical, playful or sophisticated, classic or modern. This way, we get a sense of who (the brand) we are dealing with. The brand's voice will determine a particular way of speaking. It's not what you say but how you say it. Ways to express your brand voice but not limited to it are, in your marketing, website copy, packaging, and social media.
Brand Identity & Design
Make the bridge between logic and magic, where strategy meets design. Here we will focus on translating your brand visually. There are a lot of opportunities for customer interactions. We will uncover your brand identity design, menu design, packaging, interior & exterior design.
The logo is arguably the most important element. It is a mark made to represent your brand and what you stand for. According to Sagi Haviv (partner and designer at the firm responsible for many of the most famous logos of all time), a logo must be "appropriate, distinctive, memorable, and simple." Too often, businesses make the mistake of asking for a logo that is way too detailed about their service or a logo that is not appropriate.
Avoid theses Logo mistakes
- Your logo poorly represents your expertise
- The use of templates, online logo makers, or the wrong softwar
- Using every idea you have in one logo.
- Unbalanced color choices
- Using multiple fonts and typefaces.
What's so unique about restaurant logos is that they give a taste of what to expect. A certain style or color gives the potential client a taste of what you offer before stepping foot in the restaurant and bringing your brand's personality to life. There are plenty of opportunities for them to see your logo before stepping foot inside—on social media, on your website, on your storefront, on your business card, on flyers, and more. Before tasting the food, they have already made their decision based on your design.
Every aspect of your brand identity design sends a message. The typography has to be aligned with your brand personality. The preliminary steps before the design play a massive role here. From the research, we know that if your brand is described with adjectives such as luxurious, sophisticated, or classic, we quickly understand which direction we want to take the typography.
It has been shown that colors affect our behavior and mood. They spark emotions, and using them strategically can help you reach the desired outcome. Red, orange, and yellow are the most used colors by fast-food chains. They make people feel hungrier and creates a sense of urgency. Green is often used for healthier options, vegan or even eco-friendly. What does this mean for your restaurant? Your brand color can impact your sales performance. Still, most importantly, constant use of your brand color creates familiarity and strengthens your brand awareness. Orange could be your favorite color but would go against your business goals and desired outcome.
The menu is the final gate between the customer and the food. It has to be extremely appealing. Most importantly, it has to be so simple that no explanation from the waiter is required. A lot goes into menu design, the disposition of each section, the use of images or even illustrations, colors, and typography. Here the typography plays a major role. Ensure the text is readable by everybody. Keep the price and the meal the same font size, do not draw too much attention to it. A study showed that it makes customers pay less attention to it and therefore will spend more.
Food Packaging & Delivery
Your packaging, business cards, and all the takeaway items that your customer takes/interact with outside of the restaurant are an extension of your brand. Those elements speak for you when you're not present. The knowledge you have of your customers can play a massive role here. By knowing the behavior of your customers we can create the perfect takeaway packaging for them. Are they taking their food to eat at the office? At home with their family? Friday night with their friends? By being thoughtful with your packaging design you create the opportunity to engage with your customers.
By creating custom packaging you build awareness and advertising in a lot more places you probably did not think could have an impact. People carry their pizza boxes or takeaway bags from the restaurant to wherever they go next. It creates the opportunity for other people to see it, then starts the awareness process. Unconsciously people start building familiarity with your brand until one day they get to your restaurant.
Interior & exterior Design
Think of ways you can attract but stay true to your identity. Do not put neon signs if your restaurant is more on the luxurious side. When making a decision keep referring to the initial research and we believe you will make the right decision. The signage is essential on the exterior, but also inside. Think about restroom signage, hours of operation, menu, and more.
Attention to detail goes a long way. Use your brand identity when designing the physical spaces of your restaurant. Custom elements are the way to go. Think of the color and the logo on your walls, dishware, table decor, lighting, curtains. Make all of these elements work together to create the ambiance and atmosphere desired.
Your online presence is the most representative aspect of your restaurant. Your website and social media are where your brand identity should come in full force.
Web design & Development
Anyone that decides to visit your restaurant will most likely look up your website first. Craft your website in a way that is a direct translation of your brand identity. The website is one of the last elements in our process as it collects all of your brand elements. Here is a list of the elements you must include:
- Your brand story
- The use of your brand identity
- Your menu
- High-quality photos
- Reservation Button
- Phone number
Another element often overlooked is Reviews. Include a section on your website where your customers can leave reviews as they are a great way to convince potential customers.
Everything we mentioned previously applies to your social media presence. The unique opportunity of social media is the conversation you create with your customers. How do you plan on engaging with your loyal customers? Are you sharing recipes? Are you inspiring or creating the need to taste your food through the beautiful posts you share? Are your plates so beautiful or unique that people share on their page? Are you only using social media to advertise, and what does that say about you? Social media marketing is difficult, so here is a tip. Ask yourself how you can provide value before engaging with your customers. Another way is by documenting your business, show your process, your staff, how you operate or cook your meals. This method is usually effortless and more authentic.
If there is one takeaway from this guide, it would be to stay consistent with your branding elements through every aspect of the restaurant. Stay authentic to your brand image and identity!
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