Did you know that there are more than 100,000 restaurants across the U.S.? From Alinea, Chicago to Bouley, New York City, from traditional to fusion dishes, from sandwiches to BBQs, the list goes long and endless. With so many good options around, competition among these eateries is fierce and fast-paced. Needless to say, if you’re already a part of this rat race or planning to join the bandwagon, you have to have a strong and foolproof marketing strategy.
The idea is not just to attract and satisfy your customers, but also to have them coming back and refer your brand to others. As simple as it may sound, building an effective restaurant branding plan requires the use of time tried industry knowledge and experience. Below, we provide you with some creative restaurant branding ideas that can work wonders for your food business.
It’s 2022 and we can’t stress enough the importance of social media for restaurants.
8 Must-Try Restaurant Branding Tips
Creating a unique and memorable brand identity is one of the most promising ways to boost customer loyalty and retention. When you develop an identity that resonates with your audience’s needs, they’ll keep returning and also bring their acquaintances along. Although restaurant branding is essentially similar to any other kind of branding, the difference lies in the fact that the restaurant industry covers several categories and caters to a huge variety of customers.
The focus should be on how you want the audience to view your brand. Remember, they’ll judge the quality of your restaurant based on a combination of their experiences and your brand’s visual identity. From fast food joints to finer-diners to theme-based restaurants, these effective branding ideas should help.
#1. Create Your Google Business Profile
Each day, billions of Internet surfers use Google to look for information – national news, celebrity lifestyle updates, home renovation tips, local restaurants, and so much more. Since the competition is fierce, it’s important to optimize your business pages for higher SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).
Google My Business (or GMB) is a free, multi-featured business tool that allows users to manage and promote their local businesses online. This GMB listing allows users to locate and find information about your business on the internet – local search results, Google Maps, and the right-side Knowledge Panel in Google search results. However, creating your profile isn’t the end of the story. You must optimize your Google Business Profile in order to appear higher on search results, and draw customers from your listing. A Google listing typically covers the following information:
- Business name
- Contact details
- Frequently asked questions and answers
- Operational hours
- Customer ratings and reviews
- Reviews from elsewhere on the internet
Did you know that almost 89% of people research an eatery online before actually visiting it? This means all your restaurant details should be online and up to date, including phone number, address, working hours, latest menu, etc. The more accurate your GMB details are, the better it is for your business.
#2. Make the Most of Social Media
It’s 2022 and we can’t stress enough the exceptional power of social media. From raising social awareness to keeping people connected across the world, it is the ultimate platform that allows us to raise our voice and be heard by others. It is also a great engagement tool to promote your business and connect with your target audience.
While most restaurants do have a social media presence, only a handful of them are actually making a difference. Sharing a few pictures and gaining followers isn’t enough. You must create visual content that’s gripping and relevant enough to draw your customers’ attention. It should be so interesting and engaging that the audience will share your content with their friends on social media. Here are a few things that you need to focus on.
Call to Action Words or Phrases
A call to action or CTA is a term used in the marketing field to prompt an instant response from the audience or encourage a sale. Some of the most common examples are “Grab Before it’s Over”, “Don’t Miss Out”, “Limited Time Offer”, “Join Us Today”, and “Get Your Discount Now”.
Videos are not only more gripping and engaging than image posts, but also allow you to be more creative with your content. If the audience finds your videos interesting and helpful, they’ll also share them with their friends and followers, hence boosting the engagement rate and website traffic.
Social Media Templates
When it comes to social media marketing, consistency is key. Posting anything randomly won’t’ do your business any good. Using similar colors, tones, and fonts for your social media posts will help maintain consistency in your social updates. Designing attractive social media templates from a reputed design agency can make your brand stand out.
#3. Enlist Your Brand on Restaurant Apps
The food industry is flourishing once again post pandemic, thanks to booming technology. Over these last couple of years, all sectors including the food and restaurant sector have used information technology solutions to thrive and boost their efficiency, performance, and customer satisfaction. Today, listing your business with online dining and restaurant apps is key to survival.
These apps are one of the finest free restaurant advertising tools, as they are widely used by people to locate and decide the best eatery around. Since these apps allow users to filter restaurants according to their preferences, it’s important to add as many details as possible, particularly:
- Address and contact number
- Store hours
- Price Range
- Loads of photos
- Specialties: Free Wi-Fi, parking, outdoor seating, special diets (e.g. Gluten free, vegan) etc.
Some of the most popular apps to get a listen on include Zomato (previously Urbanspoon), Yelp, Open Table, and TripAdvisor.
#4. Consider Paid Online Ads
Paid advertising, as the name indicates, is an advertising medium that one pays for. It is one of the quickest and most promising ways to promote your offerings to the target audience. With digital paid ads, you showcase your business to your prospective customers and get direct traffic to your website, app, or online food ordering platform.
What’s more, any special discounts and offers at your store can be promoted using these ads. This is particularly beneficial if you’re a startup and have recently launched your own food ordering app. The effectiveness of paid ads can be determined easily using your Google AdWords dashboards, which give a clear picture of how things are working.
Here’s how you can make great promotional ads:
- Less text, high on visuals
- Get creative with call to action phrases
- Include fun and humor
Common examples of paid advertising are Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Google Ads, Programmatic advertising, Google Display, Twitter Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, TikTok Ads, Google and FB remarketing, and more. Herein, the ads are presented to the target audience that an advertiser specifies in the ad platform and whenever someone clicks on the ad, they pay a certain fee. Aside from paying for every click, some people also choose to pay per 1000 views (CPM), commonly referred to as impressions.
#5. Pay Heed to Customization
Plan to surprise your customers with something different and new that can only be found in your restaurant. For example, you can consider including dairy-free, vegan food items in your menu which will appeal to customers with special preferences or certain health conditions. You can also personalize your menu based on a particular theme or simply one that caters to the young generation.
Also, make your menu card interesting to look at, with unique names for food items and a design that matches your store’s theme. Make sure that everything is in sync with your brand’s mission statement, from logo and packaging design to furniture and wall colors. You’ll perhaps use bright shades and bold fonts if you target the young generation, and choose muted colors and typeface for the aged group. If you own a family-friendly restaurant, provide meal bundles and special kids’ food items.
6. Start a Food/Restaurant Blog
While most restaurant owners own a website to flaunt pictures of their food items, drinks, and other important business details, they often forget to add a blog section for the customers’ utility and knowledge. They also miss out on some of the biggest benefits of promoting their brand in the local community, for example higher search engine rankings, repeat website visitors, and better interaction with the audience.
Blogs shared on social media platforms help your business stay on your customer’s mind, who may also share the content with their friends and followers.
Here are a few tips to make your blog more appealing and SEO friendly.
- Make use of relevant and catchy headings to draw the audience’s attention.
- Avoid lengthy blog titles as most users only look at the first three or four words before making their decision to read the content.
- Use attractive images (not too many) to increase the blog’s visibility and engagement.
- Do repeated spell checks and proofreading before posting the content online.
- Avoid stuffing your post with focus keywords as this makes the content boring and mechanical.
- While long blog posts tend to perform better on Search Engine Results, making it too long (over 2000 words) can scare away the readers.
- Make sure that you include a powerful call to action button. For instance, “Don’t miss out on our all-new Vegan Cheese Burst Pizza – Get Flat 30% Off – Use code ### and Order Now!
#7. Try Internal Linking
Internal linking occurs when you connect (add link) one of your website pages to another relevant page on the same website. In other words, an internal link takes viewers from one page on a specific domain to a different internal page on a similar domain. It is key to your brand’s on-page SEO, as it makes navigation easier on web pages.
So, if you already have content on your website that’s similar or even related to your current post, remember to add a hyperlink to that previous post. This will earn user credibility and dependence, as it will show your knowledge and authority on that topic. Also remember that your link structure is key to your website rankings in Google.
With correct internal linking, search engines get to know how internal pages relate to each other, and exactly which pages are more relevant than the rest. The design and structure of your website further helps search crawlers to recognize and navigate the site effortlessly.
The more internal links you add to your content, the easier it is for search engine bots to identify the important pages and show them on the search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher your website’s ranking, the more likely users are to find your business when they search for specific keywords.
#8. Create a Comfy Ambiance
While the food quality is one of the major success factors for a restaurant, there are many other reasons as to why one would choose a restaurant over the rest. One of these other factors that influence a consumer’s choice is the right ambience as it plays a key role in ensuring optimum customer satisfaction and retention.
According to reports, some customers even think that service and ambiance are more vital than the quality of food. Here are a few important factors to consider when working on your restaurant ambience.
If you have changed just even one thing about your restaurant setting, it should be lighting. It’s a quick and effective way to create a positive vibe and keep your customers hooked to your space. When choosing the lighting, consider the overall theme that you’re trying to create. For example, if you’re trying to create a romantic ambience, choosing bright, industrial-style lighting won’t do. On the contrary, if you’re running a coffee shop or breakfast café, using a dark, moody lighting scheme might not be helpful.
An individual’s dining experience is incomplete without good background music. Surprisingly, the background music being played in your restaurant has a direct impact on your restaurant’s personality and the overall sales. According to a survey, playing the right background music in your café/restaurant could boost your overall sales by 9.1 percent.
A promising way to create an enticing restaurant ambience is to choose the right color scheme. A fresh coat of paint or an attractive wallpaper can do wonders for your business. For instance, if you serve mostly pizzas, pastas, and other Italian dishes, use ivory wall color with brick wall paper, and paintings of famous Italian singers and actors/actresses. You may also solely focus on deep, rich reds and browns.
Again, if you’re serving vegetarian or vegan delicacies, consider using green, blue, and neutral tones for your furniture, walls, linens, and other décor elements. In case you do not want to invest in a full restaurant redesign, consider adding pops of colors by changing your restaurant menu card design, napkin color, or simply redo one wall with a bright hue or abstract print.
Final thoughts on Restaurant Branding
Associating your products/services with a strong brand identity is key to creating a competitive advantage and receiving greater financial rewards. From creating an attractive menu card to choosing the right wall decor, your restaurant branding techniques decide who you are and what to expect from your business.
The taste of the food, the ambience, the music, the attitude of the staff, the brand logo, packaging design, all must be in perfect sync to create something memorable. This blog was all about how to do so, and we hope it proves really helpful.
Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.