When customers think of big corporate brands, one of the first things that comes to mind is a slogan. A good slogan not only grabs a consumer’s eye, but also helps solidify what the business is about in one simple phrase. For many corporations, their slogans go monumental and grandiose, but what do you do when you’re a smaller business, like a locally owned restaurant?
We’ve compiled five easy guidelines for brainstorming and finalizing your restaurant slogan.
1. Keep it short.
When it comes to marketing restaurants, short and sweet is always a good idea. A shorter slogan is easier to fit onto your signage and advertising than a longer one. A short, snappy restaurant slogan is more likely to grab your customer’s attention. If your slogan looks more like a paragraph than a phrase, customers’ eyes will glaze over. Try to keep your slogan at seven words or less — short, snappy, and memorable.
Speaking of memorable…
2. Stay away from generic language.
One of the biggest mistakes a restaurant can make when creating a slogan (and creating their marketing overall) is using generic language like “good food and good service.” What does that really say about your business that’s any different than any other? After all, every restaurateur will tell you they serve good food and offer good service.
Think about how you feel when you’re a customer at a business — if the most they can say about their business is they offer good products and/or services, does that make you confident your experience will be something special? Probably not.
So what does make your restaurant special? Is it a star dish? Is it your many decades serving the area? Is it your authentic cuisine? Do you make everything from scratch? Put your best foot forward and highlight the unique reason why your restaurant is worth visiting.
3. Strike the right tone.
Like with your decor, signage, and overall marketing, your restaurant slogan absolutely needs to fit within your brand. If you’re a kid-friendly fast casual restaurant, your slogan can be playful, but if you’re an upscale seafood restaurant, you want to focus on sophistication. On the other hand, if you’re a hip independent bar, you can be a little more sly and tongue-in-cheek (while still avoiding being crass, of course).
4. Don’t overpromise.
Restaurants want to put their best feet forward with their slogan, but it’s also important to avoid overpromising. If a guest sees your restaurant slogan promising that you have the best burger in your city or “home of the famous [your restaurant] chili”, that dish better really be that good. Otherwise, you’re just setting that guest up to be disappointed!
Similarly, if your restaurant slogan claims your food is award-winning and it’s later revealed that’s not true, your reputation and integrity can sink very quickly. Same goes for claiming your food is all made fresh in-house when you actually buy some elements already made. Don’t set up expectations you can’t deliver on.
5. Avoid redundancy.
Make sure your slogan doesn’t just repeat descriptors already in your business’ name. For instance, if your restaurant is Tia Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, making your slogan “Delicious Mexican Cuisine” doesn’t tell them anything new. Similarly, a coffee shop called Laketown Cafe using the slogan “Serving Laketown” is also just stating the obvious. But maybe Tia Maria’s has been around since the 1950s. Or Laketown Cafe roasts their own coffee beans. Think about what isn’t mentioned in your business name that makes your restaurant special.
Of course, if your restaurant is named Ernesto’s and you want your Brooklyn neighborhood to know you serve Cuban food, then having your slogan be “Authentic Cuban Cuisine in Brooklyn” would be very appropriate! As long as the important detail you’re putting in the slogan is not found in the business name, you’re good to go.
Do I even need a restaurant slogan?
The answer to that question is… not necessarily. While it can be a strong element of your marketing and signage, a restaurant slogan is not the end all be all to getting guests to try your food.
If you’re wracking your brain brainstorming a restaurant slogan, don’t force it. You may think you need one as soon as possible, but customers are more likely to be turned off by a bad slogan (whether it’s too generic, too cheesy, or just not reflective for your business) than by no slogan at all. And good food (and a good experience!) will always stick more with a customer than a catchy catchphrase.
If you or your staff thinks of a great slogan down the line as you’ve developed a reputation in the community, you can always start gradually incorporating that restaurant slogan into your marketing and signage.
Want to dig deeper into developing your restaurant brand? Download our free eBook “What’s Your Restaurant Brand?” today!