Why branding matters when starting a restaurant

Any business owner will tell you that branding is crucial to your business. Many business owners believe that branding essentially is just the name of your business and a logo, but it dives much deeper than that. Your branding is essentially how your business is noticed and remembered by others. In the restaurant industry, even though food and cuisine are the primary drivers of your business, your branding is also vital to your business. There are so many factors that incorporate your restaurant brand. Your restaurant brand encompasses your cuisine, theme, name, logo, the patronage of your restaurant, mission, and purpose of your restaurant business. In keeping this in mind, let’s consider why branding matters in a restaurant business. 

Branding establishes your identity and reputation

Your restaurant brand is the identity and reputation of your business. People have the tendency to view brand identity and reputation as one component, yet they are two separate entities. This being said, your restaurant brand identity and your brand reputation do still correlate with one another for your restaurant business. You may be asking how this connects and why does it matter? 

  • Your brand identity is the visual component of how your restaurant is notably viewed outside of your business. Your brand identity conveys your restaurants’ unique and cohesive image, such as your name, logo, and other visually identifiable traits. 
  • Your brand reputation is ultimately how customers and others in your community that may visit your restaurant view your business. Your reputation shows your community and customers that you serve a consistent, relevant, and distinctive restaurant brand. Ultimately, it shows them why they keep returning to your establishment.

Making sure your brand identity and reputation are correlative and not contradictory will make your restaurant that much more memorable to your customers and the community you serve. 

Branding creates connections and expectations with customers

The branding of your restaurant also goes beyond the identity and reputation of your brand. Dining in a restaurant can be both a physical and an emotional experience. The food itself is only a portion of the experience. The visual aspects of your restaurant branding, the ambiance, plating of the food, and the cuisine itself create a connection between your restaurant and the diner. Making that connection with your restaurant brand to your patrons over time can create a greater sense of trust and loyalty to your establishment. 

In addition to creating a connection with your customers and the community surrounding your restaurant, your brand will also develop a level of expectation for your restaurant. When customers visit your restaurant, they are expecting a level of experience associated with your brand. When customers have a positive experience with your restaurant, they tend to share their experiences with family, friends, and social media. Considering this, positive experiences can bring more notoriety when you set a high level of positive expectations with your customers. It ultimately brings new people in and keeps the same ones coming back to your restaurant time and time again. 

Branding assigns value to your restaurant

If you take a moment and observe some of the largest restaurant brands in the US and worldwide, you will see how important branding is to determine the value of your restaurant business’s success. Thinking about some of the largest restaurant and retail chains out there, you must remember they all started with just one restaurant. When restaurant businesses start with one location and build a quality brand, it creates brand loyalty and high value to their brand. 

Having a high level of value assigned to your restaurant promotes greater customer loyalty and long-term restaurant success for your business. For example, some people are not fans of Starbucks because of their prices, while others are entirely brand loyalists and continue to go there regardless of the cost. Branding that creates a high value to your restaurant will continue to see regular customers even if you have to raise prices eventually. 

Branding for your restaurant business is as essential to the strategy and success of your business as the food you put on the menu. As imperative as branding is to your restaurant, it is crucial also to remember, but your business and your brand should be an evolving concept. Branding should be viewed as a relationship with your consumers, not just a one-step concept. Your brand should be able to evolve and change with the times to ensure more predominant success long term for your restaurant. 

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