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What’s Your Restaurant Brand? How to Develop a Vision for Your Business

With so many big restaurant brands dominating today, it can feel overwhelming to be a smaller, independent restaurant. But it’s important to remember.

Being an independent business isn’t a flaw. It’s a feature

The secret is to hone your independent edge by carving out a unique niche for your own restaurant brand, by:

Download this free eBook today to see if you’re doing all you can to build up your restaurant brand — and how doing so leads to bigger and better success overall for your business.

Excerpt from Chapter 2:

Creating new and exciting dishes from scratch is part of the normal flow of a restaurateur’s life. Combining the right ingredients with just the right amount of TLC can develop a delicious and intriguing new menu item for your customers to enjoy again and again.

But when it comes time to cook up a restaurant brand identity from scratch, how do you choose what to include? The same concepts in developing a new menu item apply. You have to measure out and combine the right design ingredients if you want to create a powerful brand identity. Fonts, colors, logos, typography treatments — the choices can be endless.

A great brand can also influence other choices you need to make for your restaurant, from chairs to lighting as your visual brand should be in unison with your overall restaurant concept. Whether you’re revamping your current brand identity, or looking to start a completely new restaurant concept, follow these suggested guidelines to save time, money, and frustration down the road as you build an effective and powerful visual brand for your restaurant.

Initial concepting should begin long before the actual hands-on work of creating a brand identity on paper. Much like deciding what type of restaurant concept to launch, there’s a significant discovery process to help you better understand what your visual brand could look like.

Most likely, you’ll need to share your vision with a graphic designer so they can hone in on specific design choices that match the style you’re seeking. Having a clear idea of what you want (with samples of similar things you like or hate) before a designer begins to bill will make for a much more efficient and productive branding process.

Step one in determining your brand is to write down three or four adjectives to describe what you would want your brand (i.e. your restaurant) to express. Draw upon the story or history of your restaurant, its menu, and the actual name of the establishment for inspiration.

These adjectives are ultimately what you would like your customers’ perception of your restaurant to be. They should have a direct influence on every aspect of your brand, including the colors, fonts — even the actual structure of the logo and other brand pieces. For instance, “My restaurant is hip and upbeat, yet modern.”

Here are some additional questions and tips to get you started on the brand exploration process:

What do you want your customer to feel when they look at your visual brand?

Is your brand “evergreen,” meaning can it stand the test of time? Or does it incorporate colors or fonts that are trendy and could quickly become outdated?

Are you gravitating toward elements that every other restaurant or small business uses? For instance, Papyrus font or the image of a fork and knife? Avoid these at all costs.

Where do you plan to use your brand identity? Write out a list of all the items and areas where your logo and name will appear — from the welcome floor mat and napkins to your website and outdoor signage. Remember, it’s important to maintain a high level of brand integrity. It has to remain scalable, legible, and cohesive no matter where it lives.

Take a look at the competition and see how they have chosen to brand themselves. What do you like about their visual brands, what do you feel when you look at them, and does the brand seem to match the restaurant’s concept? Record those answers.

If you are creating a new brand identity and scrapping your old brand completely, what is it that you liked and didn’t like about it? Did it not hold true to your ultimate vision?

Creating a brand identity is not a quick process. There are multiple steps and revisions to get through before arriving at a final product. But with the right design ingredients and time — and a bit of hard work — you’ll be able to build the right brand from the ground up, one that compliments your restaurant’s concept and appeals to your audience.

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