Restaurant Branding and Marketing Strategies

Restaurant branding and marketing strategies

Good branding and marketing are key to making your restaurant well known and successful. You could have the best food in the world, but if nobody knows about it, your seats will remain empty, and the telephone won’t ring for orders. Therefore, you need excellent branding and marketing strategies to help you increase your reach and customer loyalty! If you want to find out how you can use branding and marketing strategies to your benefit, this article is for you.

What will be covered in this article 

Today’s eating-out culture has become increasingly about the customer experience. The taste and quality of the food are no longer the sole reason for guests to enter a restaurant. With the saturated restaurant-market of 2022, building a brand that inspires customers and creates emotional connection with the guests is a crucial part of running a successful restaurant.

Creating a distinct, memorable, and cohesive experience that draws customers in and keeps them hooked doesn’t happen by accident. You need to be very strategic about the way you build your brand and plan your marketing. To help you get this process started, we created a list of key steps to focus on, including the following:

  1. Building a brand identity
  2. Naming your restaurant
  3. Effective marketing strategies
  4. Smart advertisement
  5. FAQ - Branding & Marketing Strategies for a Restaurant
Restaurant Identity & Mission

1. Building a brand identity for your restaurant 

Restaurant market analysis

1.1 Conduct a market analysis

First things first: Before any of your decisions are set in stone, you should conduct a thorough market analysis. Consider the location where you want to open your restaurant and analyze its demographics to see if your restaurant concept would work well there. What kind of people live in your area of choice? Families, students, older people, or a mixture? What is their lifestyle like, and how high is their budget for eating out?

Other important questions to consider are what restaurant options are already represented in your chosen area and if your restaurant would fit into the area and satisfy a need. If you are looking to open a restaurant in a very busy, high-end street in downtown where people rush in and are craving to grab something healthy for lunch, your style of restaurant should be a different one than if you are going for a quieter place on the countryside where families can come to enjoy a peaceful afternoon coffee and homemade farmhouse pie. These examples are just there to illustrate the point: examine your area with its demographics and choose your location and restaurant style well.

Find your brand identity

1.2 Find your brand personality & identity

Your brand is the way customers perceive you. Good branding is the key to stand out from the crowds and create connection with customers. But what makes a good brand? It’s not just about the trendy designed logo and catchy phrases. It is about the values and identity from which your style and outward appearance flow.

When you do your market analysis and choose a location, you are automatically thinking about your identity as a restaurant already. However, once you have done your research and settled for a place, give these thoughts even more depth and time. Who are you, and what do you want to embody and accomplish with your restaurant? What are your core values as a restauranteur? Also, ask yourself what the personality of your restaurant will be. Fast or relaxed? Modern, classic, or romantic? City-loft or farmhouse vibes? Traditional cuisine or trendy, exotic dishes? Which style of service do you offer? (Quick service, mid-scale or upscale?). All these factors play into your brand identity and personality.

Once you have the answers to these questions set and know exactly what your restaurant should embody of who you are, what you do and why you do it - all the other decisions from big to small will fall into place a lot easier.

Restaurant mission statement

1.3 Create a mission statement

A mission statement might sound exaggerated, but it doesn’t have to be long or complicated.

If you have your brand identity sorted out, this will most likely come very naturally to you. Just try to think of a sentence that expresses what you do, why you do it and the value you bring to your guests.

Having that statement repeated on your website, under your logo, and displayed on different occasions throughout your store will strengthen your brand identity and create meaningful connection with your staff and customers.

Restaurant branding

1.4 Get inspiration from the pros

If you don’t know where to start or feel a bit uninspired, try to think about your favorite restaurants or some very successful eateries and examine closely how they went about with their branding. What do they bring across when you hear their name, when you see their website, or when you walk into their store? How do they make you feel and what plays together to create that feeling?

You don’t even have to limit yourself to looking at restaurants only. You can certainly get inspiration from all different kinds of brands.

Don’t copy anyone else but take note of these things and look at them as an inspiration for which elements you want to include in your own restaurant branding.

Choosing a Name for Your Restaurant

2. Naming your restaurant 

Brainstorming restaurant names

2.1 Brainstorm your restaurant name

Finding a good name can be very difficult. However, having thought about your brand identity first can make this process a lot easier.

A great way to start the name-game is to thoroughly storm your brain. Get out a blank sheet of paper and set a timer for 10 minutes. Write down every word that comes to mind when you think about your restaurant and what it will be like.

Which words pop up in your head when you think about the desired atmosphere, style, and feel of your restaurant? Write everything down and spend some time puzzling the words together, seeing if you can build a name from them.

If this doesn’t help you enough, try the pro-trick again: Look at what other brands are doing. What names come to mind when you think of successful eateries you like or any other memorable brands? What is it that inspires you or stands out to you about their name? What are some elements that you could include in your name, too?

Types of logos and names

2.2 Different styles of names for your business

There are obviously many different styles you could choose to name your brand. The most popular brand names can be summarized in the following categories:

  • descriptive names
  • word games
  • abstract names
  • personal names
  • acronyms
  • using other languages
  • names inspired by literature and classics

Some examples to illustrate these characteristics would be „Lisa’s Pancake Store“ as a descriptive name, or „Windows“ or „Apple“ as abstract names that don’t necessarily have a connection to the brand’s product or service. There are endless possibilities when it comes to naming your brand - get creative and enjoy the process!

How to name a restaurant

2.3 Practical tips to find your restaurant name

There are a few practical tips that will help you once you stormed your brain and came up with creative ideas for your brand name. You now want to narrow them down by thinking practical and asking yourself the following questions. Do I like the name? Does it sound good? Does it make sense? Is it easy to understand and spell? Is a misunderstanding likely to happen when I say the name for the first time? Is it easy to remember?

These questions are very important to consider. A name might sound good and make sense to you - but put yourself in someone else’s shoes: Would a random person understand the name and your intentions with it without having the same background information or language skills you have?

The latter is especially important to consider when you are using foreign languages in your brand name. Some words are widely known and understood across cultures and languages, others however require a deeper knowledge of your language of choice. A more sophisticated foreign name could produce different outcomes for you and potentially narrow down your audience - if that is a good or a bad thing solely depends on your desired outcome.

You should also do a keyword research for your name ideas, play around with the name on a possible logo and mention it to family and friends to see if it would fit all these criteria.

Register your restaurant name

2.4 Legally register your restaurant name

After the creative and practical part comes the legal check. We recommend choosing three names you like and see if they are still available, starting with your favorite version of the three.

Check for legal availability, but also for the domain and social media profiles.
Also determine your business entity and see if there are certain rules in place for your name due to legal or tax regulations.

Once you have checked all the boxes and have that perfect fit that is still available, go ahead and save that domain, legal name, and social media profile as soon as you can. You don’t want someone else to come up with the exact same name and reserve it for themselves.

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How to Attract Customers

3. Effective marketing strategies for your restaurant   

Once you established your brand, you want to market it to the right people. Effective marketing will build a solid customer base and significantly increase your sales revenue. But not only that - it can benefit your business in multiple other ways. Good marketing will create brand awareness and build bridges to connect with your local restaurateur-community. It can also open the doors for new business partnerships with service providers, artists or vendors and even attract new staff members.

With all its benefits, your marketing strategy is essentially the way of how you engage with your customers to attract them to your brand. The following are important building blocks that will increase your marketing effectiveness. We recommend trying out different marketing campaigns to see what works best for you. Set specific goals for a defined timeframe, choose a budget, and define your target audience - and then roll with it. See if your strategies work and compare what route brings you the most benefits.

 

3.1 Online appearance of your restaurant

A spot-on online appearance is a key marketing tool for your business. Yes, even restaurants today should use a Google Business profile, Google Maps, a spotless website, and social media accounts to their benefit and engage with their customers online!

If you want to learn more about what makes a great online appearance, head on over to our article on „Digitalization and Technology in a restaurant“.

 

3.2 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Great SEO is another key to successful marketing for your restaurant! You could have the best online appearance, but not many people will benefit from it if they cannot find you through Google or other popular search engines. Conduct good keyword research and use the same info and contact details all over your online appearance to push your ranking in search results higher.

 

3.3 Local marketing campaigns for your restaurant

You should use social media and online marketing to your advantage, but there are some great offline, real-life opportunities to promote your brand, too! Community events, food festivals, farmers’ markets, street festivals and other gatherings of crowds can work wonders for your reach.

Promoting Your Restaurant

4. Smart advertising for your restaurant

Personalized advertisement

4.1 Personalized ads for your business

To use your money wisely on advertisements, define multiple buyer personas for your restaurant. Think about who exactly your dream customers are. Be detailed: what is their lifestyle, their job, age, hobbies, and interests, and even their name and personality? The more specific you can be, the better your marketing will work.

This strategy will help you personalize your ads and position them in the right places where your target audience will see them.

Budget-friendly advertisement

4.2 Ads placement and a budget friendly strategy

Depending on your buyer personas and the time spending habits of your target audience, you should invest in different ad placements. Instagram, YouTube, magazines, or the bus station: Each option has its own benefits and will attract different groups of people.

If it fits your target audience, we recommend investing in well-positioned ads. However, most of our suggested marketing strategies are free of charge or very low-cost. Smart advertising and marketing don’t need to break the bank. Use small amounts of money to pay for ads here and there - if your online appearance is on point, these small investments can get you very far.

There you go - these are our top tips on how to succeed in branding and marketing strategies for your restaurant. Customize each of these points to your use and it will help you make that successful restaurant dream come true!

Frequently Asked Questions

5. FAQ -  Restaurant Branding and Marketing Strategies  

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