Six strategies to refresh your brand

By Diane Chiasson

A brand makes a statement of what your business is all about. It conveys quality, consistency, familiarity and trust. Customers want to come into your restaurant knowing they will have a good experience because that’s what your brand tells them. Or does it?

When did you last look at your branding and ask yourself what it says about your restaurant? Maybe it’s time to consider whether your brand reflects your restaurant’s true values? Is it highlighting the best you have to offer? Does it stand out or inspire potential customers? How does it compare with your competitors?

In combination with your business goals for your restaurant, these questions can help you determine if your brand needs to be refreshed. A strong brand image will bring your restaurant added value, command higher prices and attract better employees. Most of all, it will bring you more money, so if you see the need for a change, don’t be afraid to take the plunge.

Here are six strategies to consider when refreshing your brand:

1.  Identify a specific target market

Do not try to create a brand that appeals to everyone. You will end up with a brand that is unclearly defined. Target your brand to the specific demographics to which your restaurant appeals. Is your neighbourhood more family-friendly or full of students? Are you surrounded by busy, condo-dwelling urban professionals? Are there a lot of offices nearby?  Do you have a good lunch crowd? You need to cater your brand image to the right crowd. It’s important to ensure your branding captures the culture of these potential customers.

2.  Brainstorm the best new brand ideas

Once you have a good understanding of who you want your restaurant to appeal to, spend some time determining the best way to impact those prospective customers. Consider other successful brands that appeal to your target market, not just competitors, but brands in other fields that are successful with your target market. Look at the qualities that set those brands apart and try to identify why these things are appealing to your target market. This can help you come up with new ideas for how your brand could be. You can then take these ideas and try to come up with catch phrases, design concepts and overall looks that can represent your refreshed brand. Working with an expert in the area of creative design aspects or a design agency on the final conceptualization and logo can be important things to consider at this stage.

3.  Tell stories

Your brand is your story. Develop or improve your story to support the improvements to your brand. Build recognition of your new brand by continuing your story. Whether you choose to work through your website, a blog, a video series or some other format is totally up to you. Just make sure that you’re letting people know what you’re up to, how things are developing, etc. This does not mean a barrage of Facebook updates. You can tell a surprisingly compelling story with just a weekly photo essay/blog post.

4.  Deliver your brand promise

The most important element of branding is delivering what your brand promises. For example, if you say lunch is served in under 30 minutes or it’s free, make sure you serve lunch in less than 30 minutes! You need to gain the trust and loyalty of customers by standing by your brand name and what it offers. Make sure you are organized to deliver on the promise of your refreshed brand.

5.  Ensure brand consistency

Everything in your restaurant must convey what your refreshed brand wants to say, including the interior design and décor, menu, prices, food, drinks, uniforms, marketing, advertising, website, social media platforms and customer service. Your refreshed brand has to be cohesive throughout your entire operation and must reflect its desired image and vision. Developing a powerful brand image involves the entire restaurant design, from lighting and flooring to compelling graphic images and menu boards.  Ensure everything is consistent in look, feel and colour. The different elements should have a recognizable style that is not only apparent inside your establishment, but also outside, online and in print.

6.  Consider the best technology for your brand

When freshening your brand on your website and social media platforms, use this as an opportunity to evaluate which is the best investment and the most complementary with your refreshed brand. For example, a target market of young and middle-aged business professionals would suggest you need to have a strong mobile presence. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon of mobile marketing, now may be the time to incorporate that. On the other hand, remember that having an account on every social media platform is not a marketing strategy. You may see a better return on investment from just one or two platforms. The launch of your new brand is a good time to cut wasted time and money on platforms that aren’t working for you, and dive all in on the ones that do.

About the author:

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or [email protected], or visit