Have you spent years dreaming of growing and building your own restaurant empire? According to the Office of National Statistics, there are over 15,500 restaurants in London alone. So how do you succeed in this highly-competitive marketplace? When it comes to any product, your brand will form the DNA and foundations of success.
Building your brand goes beyond having a great name or logo. In order to build a sustainable and long-lasting business, you will need to construct a brand that makes an instant emotional connection with your customers. This brand will be composed of many strands, including identity, messaging, ethos, design, atmosphere, philosophy and imagery. Your brand will express your dreams and aspirations and importantly, it will help you stand apart from the crowd.
Define your core values
As Roy Disney once said: ‘It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your core values are.’ Before you start building your restaurant business, you need to know your values and create a mission statement. This will form the cornerstone of your brand and be your guiding principles to build upon.
Ask yourself these questions: What are you passionate about? Who are you? What are you offering your customers? For example, Starbucks’ mission is to ‘inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, one neighbourhood at a time.’
These values may include everything from family, community and integrity, through to teamwork, quality or consistency. Once these values are in place, they will shape the culture of your business and your brand. Your core values will need to be authentic and represent the real you.
These values, translated into a mission statement, will guide your decision process and help you communicate to new customers what you stand for. These values will also help you recruit the best talent and attract like-minded people to roles within your business.
Position your brand within the market
Next, you need to think about how you will target potential customers. Who are you targeting? What will they think when they envisage your brand? What can you offer them? You will need to make your brand appealing, authentic, credible and different from others.
Whether you are planning an independent deli cafe, ice cream parlour, or 100-cover restaurant, defining what makes you unique is crucial. How you are different from, or better than your competitors, will help you drive your branding forwards.
Help to define your market position by creating detailed lists of questions regarding concept, price points, marketing and other factors that inform your competitors’ success. Note in detail how your offering would be better and unique. Ensure the details of the how, why and who are drilled down as you position yourselves in the market.
Develop your image and interior
No matter how great your core values and brand positioning are, visuals are a key way to capture your audience’s attention. Your visuals are a central part of your branding and will play a part in building brand recognition. This will create a clear visual language that can be applied to everything; from your menu and logos, to your website. All the imagery for your restaurant will need to be distinct, memorable, scalable and cohesive. This imagery should work well for everyone; from the designers and internal team, through to customers.
The potential design of your restaurant will also play a fundamental role, telling customers about your story. All restaurants need to create a pleasing and enjoyable ambiance, which informs customers more about the brand and created a positive dining experience. Restaurant interior designers like Object Space Place will understand your offering and brand and translate this into authentic interior design that visitors will fall in love with.
Once you have all the elements of your branding in place, it is important that they are cohesive and consistent. Having great food, quality service, strong core values and a clear visual identity is important but these elements will need to be tied together for the best results. From advertising on social media, through to menus and uniforms, everything about your brand must be consistent.
Keep telling your story – through the visuals, messaging and other branding. By building emotional connections, this will make people remember you and remain loyal. Become one of those restaurants that are known by everyone. They need no explanation and have no competition because they have the strongest identities.
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