In the bar & restaurant industries, developing a strong, identifiable brand is crucial for success. An effective branding strategy will ensure that you provide the best possible experience for your customers.
So, how can you maximize the effectiveness of your branding strategy? Here are 5 tips to help you get started!
1. Make sure your branding strategy is consistent.
To be successful, your bar or restaurant must be as good on a Wednesday afternoon as it is during prime hours on the weekend. The quality of the food, service & the overall atmosphere must be consistent.
It only takes one bad trip to your bar or restaurant to lose a customer for life.
Brand consistency also involves knowing your target audience. Once you can define who your business wants to target with its food, drink & entertainment offerings, you can ensure that all of your marketing materials are designed to speak to those ideal personas. It is then up to your staff to deliver when customers decide to pay you a visit.
2. Seek feedback from customers and know what people are saying about your business.
Without getting feedback from your customers on the quality of their experiences with your business, it is extremely difficult to identify what you’re doing well and what areas require improvement. While there are some customers that will come right out and tell you how good or bad their experience has been, the majority of patrons may not talk to you about their experience unless they are prompted to do so.
Make sure to ask customers what they think of the food, service, atmosphere, decorations, etc. If they indicate anything negative, always ask for their suggestions on how to make it better. While you may not agree with or take action on what they tell you, letting the customer know that your interested in what they have to say will add credibility.
A simple way of asking for feedback would be creating a customer comment card. Giving customers a little incentive for filling this out is a proven way to increase participation.
3. Make sure your bar or restaurant atmosphere, layout & design aligns with your brand.
Properly aligning the atmosphere & design of your bar or restaurant is key to communicating your branding strategy. If you’re able to do this well, the appearance & atmosphere of your establishment can become a key to attracting new customers. Depending on your brand, make sure you provide the ideal environment for patrons to enjoy quality food and drinks.
4. Add your logo or slogan to each food item or beverage served.
There’s a good chance that you’re proud of the food and beverages that you serve. Using custom products that feature your logo is a proven, affordable way to brand your presentations. Here are some of the most popular customized items used by bars and restaurants:
- Custom Swizzle Sticks, Beverage Stirrers & Cocktail Picks
- These custom garnishing tools are ideal for adding a branded touch to each beverage served. Each can be fully customized to coincide with your unique brand image. Whether you own or operate an upscale restaurant or a casual sports bar, stirrers and picks can be molded and decorated to fit your brand. These are commonly taken as souvenirs by customers and are ideal for marketing photos.
- Custom Coasters
- Coasters can be customized to feature your logo, upcoming promotions, or anything you please. These are great messaging tools that reach everyone who orders a drink!
- Custom Steak Markers
- If you serve steak, there’s a good chance you’re using some kind of steak marker to communicate cooking conditions. Customized steak markers not only communicate condition, but they add a logo touch point to each plate. These can be molded and decorated in virtually any shape or size.
5. Utilize social media to engage and interact with your customers.
Your customers are using social media. You should be, too. Establishing a strong presence on social media becomes more and more important for your branding strategy every day. Consistently updating social media & using affordable advertising options offered on many platforms will be key to keeping your brand on the minds (and news feeds) of potential customers.
Specifically, here are some of the keys to mastering social media marketing for your bar or restaurant:
- Maintain and update top & emerging social media profiles.
- Ensure your branding strategy is consistent on all social media profiles. All posts and messages should be written with your brand in mind.
- Monitor mobile local listing & review profiles.
- Map out promotional plans that can be used across multiple social media platforms.
- Respond to EVERYONE. Thank those who loved your establishment. Tell those who were disappointed what you will do to make things better next time.
- Consider using Groupon & LivingSocial to attract new customers.
- Post pictures! Imagery is key to attracting customers. Adding your logo to food and beverage photos via custom stirrers, picks, coasters, steak markers, etc, is highly recommended!
If you have other suggestions for those in the bar and restaurant industries who are interested in further developing their branding strategy, please add your thoughts in the comment section below!