Do you want to own a restaurant that people love - the go-to place in town for amazing food and a phenomenal dining experience?
If so, good for you! If you are in the food business, that should be your goal.
But you already know getting your brand to stand out isn't easy. And if you want to stand out as the place people talk about, you’ll have to work hard at building your unique brand.
Don’t worry though. With a little ingenuity and perseverance, you can pull it off. And the team at Pick On Us is here to help you do just that.
You already know your restaurant is amazing - now it’s time to let everyone else know that it’s the best place to eat out in town.
Ready to go? Let’s get started!
Why Building A Restaurant Brand Matters
Does your brand even matter? And is investing time and energy into building your brand really worth the effort?
But why? Here are the top reasons your restaurant brand matters.
Bring People To Your Restaurant
Let’s begin with a simple rule of business, especially in the restaurant world: No people, no restaurant.
While that sounds a little heartless, it's the plain truth. If people don’t know about your restaurant, or don’t visit your restaurant, it will fail.
Just think about the Covid-19 pandemic. Restaurants had to close their doors to the public, and as a result over 17% of restaurants permanently closed.
But guess what?
The restaurants that are still in business are the ones who had already established their brand in the community. Restaurants that were well known in the community bounced back faster, and had much higher success rates than those that were not well known.
In other words:
Restaurants that had built their brand had returning customers, as soon as their doors opened again. Restaurants with little or no brand presence struggled to regain their footing even as restrictions were lifted.
And that's just the first part of why restaurant brand awareness matters.
Let Other People Talk About Your Restaurant
We know that building your restaurant brand brings people to your restaurant - and that people are vital to the success of any restaurant.
But how you build your brand and how you get those people to your restaurant matters too.
You could create a TV ad or hang signs outside your restaurant that might build your brand - and those wouldn’t be terrible ideas.
But people don’t like it when you tell them how phenomenal your food and restaurant are. It feels arrogant and manipulative.
On the other hand, if someone’s friend raves about the deli or burger joint downtown, that person is very likely to give that place a try. The bragging is more believable if it comes from someone other than the restaurant owners or marketers!
Think about your own experience:
Where is the first place you look when making a purchase on Amazon, or some other online shopping platform? The reviews, right?
That’s because you are more likely to trust someone similar to you, rather than the company itself when it comes to their products. We all know that companies like to talk about their products' good points more than its drawbacks.
And there is the key to restaurant branding: Get other people to talk about you!
Don’t believe us? Studies show 65% of a company's business is directed to that company by existing customers.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on that topic. We’ll discuss how you can grow organic brand awareness through your food and drink presentation.
Now, let’s get practical!
Grow Your Restaurant Brand With Food Presentation
Organic brand awareness is a term we like to use to describe brand growth that is fueled by your customers.
In other words: your customers are advertising for you!
But how can you get customers to talk about your restaurant?
Your food presentation is a good place to start - because great food presentation says a lot to your customers. Right away, they know they are in for a special dining experience when their meal gets delivered to their table with special flare.
For example: which burger would you prefer?
The burger on the left looks so delicious and unique that you’re bound to pull out your phone and share such a special meal before sinking your teeth into it. On the other hand, the burger on the right looks like something you’d get from a fast food drive through.
But think about it: you haven’t even tasted the burgers yet!
And yet you are convinced the burger on the left is going to taste better because of its appearance. It's ingredients could be very similar, but it just looks way nicer than the other one.
Now, let’s explore real-life ways you can present your food to give you that same kind of advantage.
Custom Sandwich and Burger Picks
Custom made products are the name of the game when it comes to presenting food in a way that will build your brand.
And there’s no better place to start that on major food items like burgers and sandwiches.
Not only are the items popular, they are often large and heavy. Without something holding them together they look like a jumbled mess of ingredients, and can fall apart when picked up.
Just add a custom sandwich pick and you have a beautiful meal that doesn't fall apart, shows off your brand, and wows your customer at the same time. You can even label your sandwich picks with sandwich names!
But don’t take our word for it! Here’s a testimony of how burger picks helped Steven Sponder, co-founder of of NN Burger build his brand:
“We needed a pick for our burgers and ended using them in our shakes too. Custom picks convey a quality image and it puts our NN Burger rband right in front of each guest.”
But we get it: not all picks are created equally. And as a busy restaurant owner you don’t have extra time to spend on testing various picks to make sure you choose the right one.
At Pick On Us, we are committed to providing quality products so you can spend less time worrying about picks and spend more time growing your business.
Charcuterie Boards And Boxes
Charcuterie is gaining steam all the time - and for good reason!
While charcuterie originally referred to the preparing and eating of carious cured meats, it has now expanded in definition. A charcuterie board can be home to bread, vegetables, nuts, dipping oils, fruits and more.
It's a delicious and beautiful meal. And the best part is that it is shared between friends for a memorable, bonding experience.
As a restaurant you can take your charcuterie game to a whole new level with custom engravings on your charcuterie boards.
Whether it's leaving an inspiring message for your customers, or putting your logo on the boards, you can make an already enjoyable experience even better.
Give someone a bad first impression, and they are likely to form negative opinions about you. If you give them a great first impression, they are likely to think positively about you.
That’s why appetizers are so important at your restaurant. Amaze your clients from the start, and they are more likely than even to spread the word about your amazing restaurant.
So get creative, and make your appetizers unique!
Need a few ideas? Try these!
- Use decorative picks for amazing poppers like stuffed mini peppers and cheese poppers. Everybody loves appetizers from the "popper" category!
- Use fancy toothpicks to make appetizers of more than one ingredient like Buccaneer Shrimp Bites or Smoked Salmon - Cream Cheese - Cucumber Bites.
Does your restaurant serve the best kabobs in town?
If so, make sure people remember which restaurant they are eating at while they ingest that delicious food by putting your restaurant’s name or logo on your kabob skewers.
Grow Your Restaurant Brand By Using Custom Products In Your Drinks
Drinks are an essential part of life in America.
Think about it:
For almost every special occasion we celebrate, we include some kind of drink. Maybe it’s milkshakes at a big birthday party, a cocktail at a wedding, or pink lemonade at a baby shower.
For many, the drink they order at a restaurant is just as important as the food on their plate. After all, a good bottle of wine cost $32.48 on average - and we all know prices spike from there!
So how can you make sure the drinks at your restaurant are something people remember and help build your brand?
Let’s take a look!
If you are a restaurant owner, then you already know when business really picks up: the holidays.
And if people are coming to your place of business to celebrate you need to help them do just that - celebrate!
Themed cocktails are a huge success during specific holidays. So utilize unique picks to make your cocktails one-of-a-kind.
For example, you could try a red heart toothpick for Valentines Day, a Shamrock pick for St. Patrick’s Day, or a jack-o-lantern pick for Halloween. And of course, you can always keep it classic with a bamboo knot toothpick or colorful beaded pick.
Drink stirrers are an important part of many beverages from coffee to cocktails.
This offers another opportunity to get your brand in front of customers by engraving your drink stirrers with your logo or putting a fun image on your drink stirrers.
After all, what’s more cozy than a steaming cup of coffee with a drink stirrer that has a snowflake, bells, or Santa’s smiling face on it?
Custom Coffee Cups
It might seem like a no brainer that coffee cups are branded, but there are more benefits than are first apparent.
Most people grabbing coffee are going to carry their coffee cup out of your restaurant and into their world where everyone can see it. One single cup of coffee might expose your restaurant brand to twenty people in a single morning. Plus, they will see your brand in their friend's hand, which means their friend likes your brand--which means maybe they should try it too!
Isn't that amazing? That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have branded coffee cups!
But be careful - go cheap and you’ll be in a heap of trouble. There have been lawsuits over people being burned by hot coffee cups. That’s why we recommend making sure you purchase double walled coffee cups.
They keep your customers safe, and the coffee warm longer so more people can see your brand!
Use Special Items To Grow Your Restaurant Brand
What pops into your mind when you think of big brands?
There’s a high chance you think of a company like Starbucks, Target, or Nike.
Now think about it: when you visit a big brand store you see their brand everywhere! It’s on the floor mats, the decor, and the windows.
In other words:
It’s on a lot more than just the products they sell.
These companies understand the value of repetition when it comes to building a brand. And there’s science to back this theory up.
Research shows that people need to be exposed to a new brand around 6 times before remembering it, and having the confidence to eat there.
So, where can you find opportunities to expose people to your restaurant brand? Let’s find out!
Have you ever eaten at a restaurant that uses plastic spoons, forks, and knives?
The cutlery looks cheap and snaps under fairly minimal strain. Annoying, right? Doesn't make a great impression.
But what if you had cutlery made out of another material, like bamboo? Bamboo utensils are visually sophisticated, offer strong performance, and are environmentally friendly.
Beyond that, you can customize them with your brand logo or name. It’s another opportunity to expose people to your brand!
Here’s a truth that we can’t emphasize enough: little details matter.
- Attention to detail matters because it can ruin your credibility. Simple mistakes are easy to overlook, but when they start to happen frequently things start to look sloppy.
- Detail demonstrates the importance of the activity. When you pay attention to details it demonstrates thoroughness and pride in your work.
- What’s little to you isn’t little to everyone
- Details big and small combine to complete the final puzzle. When the work you deem not so important is top quality , it generally ensures the bigger, more important projects will also be high quality.
In short, pay attention to the small things. They add up.
Thoughtful touches like custom napkins at your restaurant are just the kind of details that will ensure your customers have the dining experience of their life.
And even if napkins aren’t a big deal to them, the fact that you paid attention to such a detail guarantees success in the bigger picture.
Coasters are another piece of custom tableware that help to impress diners and build your restaurant brand.
Of course coasters also protect your furniture from drinks, spills, and scratches. In the long term this also helps to build your brand as clients recognize the top notch condition of your furniture.
You can even make your coasters into a simple puzzle while people wait on their food, or send them home after the meal as a small memento from your restaurant.
Toothpick flags are a fun way to communicate with your customers and show that you care about every aspect of their dining experience.
They can even be used to mark food with important details like “gluten free” or “medium rare.” This helps your servers deliver food properly and gives your customers peace of mind that they are getting just what they ordered.
If you want more creative ideas for using picks, skewers, and more, you may enjoy our blog: 21 Creative Ways To Use Fancy & Custom Toothpicks.
By now you understand exactly how important it is to grow your brand if you want to succeed as a restaurant. You have to get a lot of eyes on your brand, and then, make those people remember you!
We know that building a restaurant brand can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Start with the basics covered in this article like taking your food and drink presentation to the next level with custom restaurant products.
It won’t be long until you’re smiling broadly as the doors to your eatery swing open and closed regularly.