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6 ways to stand out from the crowd and build a successful restaurant brand

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6 ways to stand out from the crowd and build a successful restaurant brand

By Nory - June 24, 2024

Let’s not beat around the bush — the hospitality industry is saturated. 

The market size of the restaurant industry in the UK was £18.7 billion in 2023, and is forecast to rise to £19.5 billion by 2026. As of December 2023 there were around 36 thousand licensed food-led premises and approximately 54 thousand drink-led venues. 

So what can you do to stand out from the crowd and attract more customers to your restaurant?

Solid restaurant branding is a good place to start.

In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the ways to establish a strong brand identity for your restaurant. But before we get to that, let’s clarify what it means to have a brand identity — and why it’s so important for restaurant success.

Understanding brand identity

Your brand identity is the image you portray of your business and how customers perceive it. It represents your mission, vision, and values, showing diners what you stand for and what they can expect when they dine at your restaurant. 

Think about The Ivy as an example. The elegant yet retro logo combined with the luxurious decor and the slightly higher price points tell us a lot about the brand. It’s modern and sophisticated, but not completely unaffordable for most diners. It finds a middle ground between luxury and affordability. 

The Ivy interior restaurant branding

(Image source)

Now, why is a brand identity important for restaurant success? 

A strong restaurant brand differentiates you from other restaurants. It shows diners what your unique selling proposition (USP) is and why they should choose to dine with you. This can increase your footfall and boost your bottom line. 

It also establishes your restaurant as a trustworthy and credible brand. If people recognise who you are, they’re more likely to trust you. And when people trust you, there’s a higher chance they’ll choose you.

6 ways to build a successful restaurant brand

Working with restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs throughout the industry means we have a pretty good handle on what makes a successful restaurant brand.

Here are some of our top tips. 

1. Perform market research to understand your target audience

The first step in creating a successful brand is to understand who you’re creating the brand for. Who is your ideal audience? What do they like? What would they rather avoid? What’s the best way to engage with them?

Finding the answers to all these questions will help you create a brand identity that resonates with the people you want to attract.

Take a look at McDonald’s as an example. One of their key demographics? Families. 

To appeal to this demographic, McDonald’s does a few things: 

  • Use bright colours in their marketing campaigns and within their venues
  • Serve Happy Meals with toys
  • Provide children with games and drawings to do while eating
  • Have a dedicated play area (in some locations)
A family enjoying McDonald's

(Image source)

Plus, their lower price points and speedy service appeal to the family dynamic. It’s quick, easy, and affordable for busy families. All of these elements position the brand as an appealing place for families to eat.

2. Develop a strong visual identity

Brand recognition plays a big part in building a successful brand. The more people that recognise your logo and branding, the more established you become.

This means creating logos with eye-catching colour schemes that stand out from your competitors, but also represent who you are as a brand. 

Wenzel’s is a good example of this. Their logo is bold, with strong colours (purple and orange) throughout their website and decor to grab your attention. It’s a colour scheme you’ll remember, that’s for sure.

Homepage of Wenzel's website branding

(Image source)

And inside their venues? They feature the same colour scheme, creating consistency with the brand. People know what to expect when they walk into a Wenzels, which builds trust. 

So think about the vibe you want to create with your branding and how you can bring it to life with your logos, colour schemes, and restaurant design. 

Hot tip 🔥 If you have multiple restaurant locations, consistency is key for your brand identity. Make sure each venue aligns with your brand to add credibility to your restaurant. 

3. Build an online presence

An online presence is pretty much a necessity for brand building in the current day and age. People expect you to be online, and if you’re not? This can impact their perception of your brand, and not necessarily in a good way.

Plus, not being online means you miss out on opportunities to interact and engage with potential customers. It can help you establish rapport with people, which gives you a chance to showcase your brand identity and build relationships with people in the process. 

One of the simplest things you can do to start building an online presence is to create a user-friendly website. Make it as easy as possible for diners to navigate — if it’s hard to find the information they need, or it’s slow to load, that doesn’t bode well for your brand. 

Take a look at the Buns from Home website as an example. It has a simple and clean design that makes it easy for people to move around the site.

Homepage of the Buns from Home site branding

(Image source)

Your social channels are also a great way to showcase your brand, connect with potential customers, and build relationships with existing diners. But building a community with your social media? That’s how you can really elevate your presence online. 

It encourages people to engage with your posts and positions you as a brand that cares about the community and your customers. Have a look at some of the posts from the Jamie’s Italian Instagram feed as an example. Amidst images of delicious Italian food are posts that encourage followers to engage with the brand: 

Post from the Jamie's Italian Instagram account

(Image source)

4. Improve your inventory management 

If you’re reading this and thinking “how inventory management can impact brand reputation?”, don’t worry. Let’s clear it up. 

When you efficiently manage your inventory, it provides a better customer experience. Here’s how: 

  • You have all the ingredients you need to meet demand. How gutted are you when you order a meal in a restaurant only for the waiter to say they’ve run out of it? With optimal inventory management, this won’t be an issue. You’ve planned ahead and ordered the right amount of ingredients, which means your customers aren’t disappointed when ordering items on your menu — you’ve got everything you need to prepare the dishes they order. 
  • You can store foods efficiently for quick preparation. Chefs can easily grab the ingredients they need to make the meals that customers order. This speeds up the food prep process, giving customers their food as quickly as possible. And we all know from experience how frustrating it is to wait a looooong time for your order to arrive. 🥴

What we’re trying to say is this: 

When customers have a good experience in your restaurant, it builds a positive association with your brand. 

And the better your brand perception, the more chance you have of retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. So, how can you improve your inventory management?
It’s pretty simple —use a restaurant operating system like Nory. Our platform helps restaurants track inventory and supply chains in real-time, monitoring food levels, usage, waste, and more.

Nory inventory management dashboard on desktop and mobile

Plus, our AI features will analyse your historical sales data to accurately predict future demand. As a result, you can stock your shelves with the right amount of ingredients to meet customer demand without overspending on food items that you’ll never use. 

Nory success story 🥳 See how Pasta Cosa used Nory’s real-time sales and performance insights to make informed and strategic decisions about inventory management, leading to a 6% increase in productivity in Q1 of 2024! 

Implementing Nory revolutionised our operations. The real-time data allows us to make informed decisions about labour costs, scheduling, and inventory management.

Kayleigh Baccine, Co-owner at Pasta Cosa

5. Leverage reviews and customer feedback

Positive customer reviews are golden for your brand. In fact, 75% of consumers always or regularly look at reviews before deciding where to eat. So it’s important to maximise any positive reviews and feedback as much as possible. 

If people leave reviews for your restaurant on review sites (like Trip Advisor or Google), add these to your website. Put them front and centre so people instantly see positive feedback if they head to your site, like Passyunk Avenue

Homepage of the Passytunk site

(Image source)

To really maximise your positive reviews, repurpose them across your different online channels. Griolladh, for example, uses customer reviews on their Instagram channel. 

It’s a great way to spread the word about your restaurant, and it shows people across different channels that your brand is trustworthy and your restaurant provides top-quality food.

Post from the Griolladh Instagram page

(Image source)

Hot tip 🔥 53% of diners aren’t likely to write reviews after their experience, so you might want to incentivise reviews to give them a bit of encouragement — perhaps a discount code or a free side with their next main. 

6. Embrace technology

Technology is a valuable asset when it comes to branding.

Why?

Take a look:

Monitor customer preferences

Keep track of what your customers want from the dining experience. Are there certain menu items they love? Are there trends in customer feedback? Technology will record all this information and present it in a way that helps you make quick and informed decisions. 

Measure brand performance

Use technology to monitor how your brand is perceived by customers. For example, you can ask them to complete surveys online or track their behaviour on your website to figure out what they think of your restaurant brand. Then, you can make tweaks to improve your brand perception. 

Expand your reach

Technology gives you access to a much wider pool of potential diners. Think about social media, for example, where you can reach new people every time you post. It’s a great way to raise brand awareness, and (hopefully) increase footfall.

Without technology, you miss out on these valuable insights and opportunities to establish your brand. 

So now the question is, what technology should you use? 

There are a lot of different types of tech that can help you solidify your restaurant brand. Here are a few suggestions: 

  • A restaurant operating system like Nory, which helps you provide a smooth and efficient dining experience for your customers. 
  • A POS system like Toast or Vita Mojo, which makes the ordering process quick and accurate. 
  • Social media scheduling platforms, which allow you to create and schedule social posts ahead of time. 

Hot tip 🔥 Take a look at Nory’s restaurant operating system to see how our platform can give you valuable, real-time insights to support your restaurant branding. Pinpoint popular menu items, keep an eye on brand performance, and better understand what your customers are looking for — all in a single location. 😎

Use Nory to track key insights about your restaurant brand 

A successful restaurant brand has a lot of moving parts, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Follow these steps and be consistent with your efforts to get the best results and establish your restaurant brand in the market. 

Learn more about the impact Nory is having on standout brands like Roasting Plant

Together with Nory, Roasting Plant Coffee was able to reduce labour costs by 18% in just two months.

Read the case study
Roasting Plant Coffee cuts labour costs with Nory

FAQs about restaurant branding 

What is branding a restaurant?

Creating a restaurant brand involves creating a unique identity that distinguishes your restaurant from competitors. This includes defining your restaurant’s name, logo, colour schemes, design elements, and overall visual identity. Effective branding helps build recognition, trust, and loyalty among your customers.

How do you build a strong restaurant brand?

Consistency is key. Yes, you need to understand your target demographic and pinpoint how to differentiate yourself from your competitors, but you also need to be consistent with your branding. This is what builds trust, awareness, and establishes your brand in the market. 

How can I make my restaurant more appealing?

The first step is to find out what your ideal demographic finds appealing. Are they looking for a modern and fun brand, or something classic and sophisticated? When you know what your ideal diners are looking for, you can figure out how to appeal to them the most.