I have mentioned it before — a brand is not something you can produce yourself but you can set the tone and give guidance to establish your brand leading it in the right direction.
Your brand is generally established by your audience. Your customers will determine the brand, but again you can only guide how you want to be perceived in the public eye.
So how do you establish your brand? The following three steps will help you plan your brand presence.
Writing a business plan.
When I started my business I knew it was mandatory to write down all my goals and milestones of what; as a business, I want to achieve. The same goes for a restaurant. Writing down what you want your business to look like, be seen as and the feelings you want your restaurant to portray in the eye of your customer is not only important but sets a guide to which you can reference.
When they say ‘out of site, out of mind’ it is true — you may forget your purpose and your vision and you may be taken astray if you do not reference your goals every few months.
Writing your business plan also gives an idea of the personality of your restaurant. This is a great starting point when establishing your brand flavour.
Study the market and your target audience.
Since the people who come into your restaurant will be the people that determine the fate of your business, you want to know them quite well.
How the heck do we figure out this information, you ask? Well, you can start by answering some of the following questions: Are they locals? Are you attracting people from a far? Is your business situated in an area that is mostly residences or businesses? Are people coming for lunch or dinner? Do you attract a younger or older crowd? Generally you can get this information by studying who walks into the restaurant, doing a survey in-store or online or even have a business card drop off for a free meal. This gives a bowl full of information.
Finding out who these people are will not only help you determine how you run your business but will help establish your brand and how you want it perceived. For example, If your in an area that is residential and your audience is 50 plus. Your not going to do well as a college-esque dive bar with 5 dollar shot Tuesdays.
As well you want to understand the state of the market — eg. is their any restaurants like yours in the area? Do you have something that makes you stand out? Is there a need for your restaurant? Again you can get the answers to these questions by studying the area, your target market and any other factors that will give you information.
Find a good designer to make your vision a reality.
Getting a good designer is very important. Once you find one and you are in the briefing stage of a project, paint a clear picture of what you want your brand to represent. As well make sure the designer is aware of your target audience and your objectives.
For me, when I have clients that are unsure of their brand persona or what they want, I generally give a list of adjectives and images of design styles to choose from — checking off the adjectives and images they would like for their brand while having a clear vision in mind of what they want to portray to their customers. This will generally breakdown a style and describe to me the vision they have.
An important note is to be sure to have a designer or team that is knowledgeable in the food and drink industry. As we know it is quite competitive, so having a good understanding of the food and drink industry is important in developing a strong brand and marketing initiatives.
Once you have gone through these three steps your brand should be well on its way to becoming a success.
Lastly, if you have had a restaurant and been in business for a while, initiating a rebrand may be what you are looking for. In this case you may still carry through parts of your established brand but may want to have a refresh of the logo, your name or even what you are known for. These steps should still be taken but with more focus on the new vision, objectives and having a good understanding of what you want changed.
Have any thoughts? Want a rebrand? Or even just chat about your vision?
Please email me at: ashley -dot- firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!