Creating a Restaurant Brand: A How-to Guide

Differentiating your restaurant from the sea of choices can be a key to building a loyal following.

Your brand is more than a logo or a name at the bottom of an ad.  While there is no secret formula, here are some of the first steps to building a unique restaurant brand that sets you apart.

Every brand has a personality, and the most successful brands create a personality and a culture that resonates with a specific target customer. Does your brand represent who you are, what you do, and what you sell—and clearly differentiate you from your competition?

Position yourself.

Consider product, price, place, and promotion—the “four P’s” of marketing, and decide where you fit among your competition. Do you offer a convenient business lunch location? Family-friendly dine-in or delivery in a residential area? Funky menu choices for an uptown crowd? Consistent marketing, focused on delivering the right menu and environment for that specific target market, is your key to attracting sales.


Think visuals.

A consistent visual presence will create vivid memories for your target audience. Quick-service restaurant chains use bright, catchy logos, tag lines, mascots, and color schemes to create brand awareness. Signage, décor, color scheme, and uniforms all contribute to the brand experience.


Be memorable.

A distinct personality makes you stand out. If you have something to offer besides delicious food, people will remember and have something to tell their family and friends. Some brands are memorable for over-the-top service, unique menu creations, community involvement, or irreverent humor. What stands out about your business?

Melissa Rickman, owner of Wholly Stromboli, calls this your hook. At the Virtual Pizza Expo, she talked about how being memorable is one of the ingredients for making your restaurant a destination. 



Connecting with your target market is key: people who identify with your brand personality will visit, and visit often. Get to know your customers’ likes, dislikes, and motivations. Are they looking for kid-friendly convenience? Whole, local foods? Focus your brand message to make a connection with them based on their interests.


Stay consistent.

A fast casual concept with 1980s décor won’t attract busy professionals or young families. Make everything—menu, prices, decor, marketing, advertising, website, staff and customer service—cohesive throughout the business and between locations.


Remind your audience.

New customers have short memories. Stay top of mind with consistent marketing. Flyers and box-toppers, direct mail and email are great ways to create and maintain awareness. Track response rates to specific offers and promotional methods in your point of sale software to focus your spending on the most effective channels. Keep in touch through social media too.


How to Improve your customer experience by shifting focus. Download the webinar



Posted on Mon, Feb 02, 2015 @ 08:02 AM.
Updated on May 4, 2022 @ 12:12 AM PST.

Tags: Restaurant Marketing

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