3 Requirements for Successful Restaurant Branding

By Bijan Shahrokhi in Branding, Quick Service

Restaurant branding is a concern for all quick service and fast casual business entrepreneurs. Branding separates your business from your competitors. It is also a component of your marketing strategy necessary for developing customer loyalty. What will your restaurant brand be known for?

Restaurant branding requires three parts; creativity, values, and market differentiation.

Restaurant Branding: The Creative Mindset

Clay Dover, CMO of Raising Cane’s, knows a lot about building a national brand. He oversees the marketing direction for more than 180 restaurants. Writing for Nation’s Restaurant News, Dover covers the ways that brands touch our lives with their creativity.

“They touch our souls, make us laugh, give us a story to tell — they inspire us. How many times has someone said to you, ‘Did you see that commercial,’ or ‘Look at that billboard.’ Some of the best restaurant brands use creativity to help create a big impact for a small cost.” – “How brands can stand out in a crowded industry”

If you are looking for inspiration, Chipotle ran an emotional campaign this year around their commitment to sustainable farming. “The Scarecrow” video has been seen more than 12,000,000 times on Youtube reaching viral status, but that is not the only way that Chipotle expresses its brand. The architecture of Chipotle is influenced by its humble origins when the first restaurant used items bought from a hardware store for its lighting and fixtures.

We can see by this example that values also play an important part in restaurant branding.

Restaurant Branding: Amplify Values

Denise Lee Yohn also has advice for quick service restaurants, “Define your identity”.

She offers two techniques for discovering your brand’s values:

    1. Let your employees help you by creating a brand documentary: You don’t have to hire a crew. As Yohn tells us “The documentary doesn’t need to have high production values; a smartphone to capture clips and an app to edit them together works just fine. The purpose of the video is to highlight examples of how the brand is delivered by employees and experienced by customers.”
    2. Write a brand obituary: As morbid as this may sound to, it is brilliant advice. An obituary is used to define the accomplishments of a life. Doing this for your brand will highlight what you want your brand to be known for.

These are only two ways, can you think of more? If you do please a leave a comment with your suggestions.

Restaurant Branding: Differentiate

The hardest task you face is differentiating your brand from your competitors. Promotions have to go beyond price. This is why creativity, ability to inspire, and your restaurant’s values are so important to develop. They help you build an intimate relationship with customers which can be leveraged to create a loyal community.

One of the easiest ways to differentiate your restaurant is to create a brand loyalty campaign linked to your customer’s mobile phone.

Yes, we know that mobile payment is one of the most important trends in restaurant marketing. More customers are opting to use smart phones to pay their bills. It is also the preferred choice of payment for the millennial generation, a leading demographic for sales.

When you link your POS to a mobile phone, you also get an added benefit in the form of data collection. This gives an advantage over others in the marketplace. This data can be used to create a more personal connection to your customers.

Virtual Next has developed a loyalty marketing solution that integrates with mobile POS apps. Customers that use their smart phone can receive offers whenever they are near to one of your franchise locations. It is simpler than it sounds and can be implemented with relative ease. Our client Currito is using this technology to connect with customers and you can too. Please contact us today to find out how.
photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc

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