When launching a brand new restaurant the volume of business tasks you need to take care of can be fairly intimidating: hiring enough staff, ensuring the aesthetics of the restaurant are right, buying in enough ingredients for your opening week.
With all of these things to consider it is no surprise that so many owners of new restaurants neglect things they deem to be secondary issues, such as their branding and marketing. However, by failing to establish what your brand identity you could be significantly affecting how successful your business will be in your opening weeks as well as moving forward.
Here are five common branding mistakes you should avoid when opening your new establishment.
- Not working out who you are
It is essential for new restaurants to have a clear sense of who they are and why they are, because discerning diners will always pick up on inauthenticity.
Your brand image and tone of voice should flow through everything you do, from the level of service you offer to the marketing and PR campaigns you run.
You of course want to be able to attract as many customers through the door as possible, but don’t make the mistake of trying to be too many things to too many people. Figure out the personality of your business and stick to it.
- Not taking social media seriously
The likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t just frequented by generation Z. There are a wide range of people using these platforms that you can engage with - but you need to do it in the right way.
Too many restaurants see social media as flippant, and communicate through these channels in that way. However, when used appropriately, social can be used to help you reach your target market with tailored content and offers that can deliver significant benefits over traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing messages.
- Conducting ‘me-too’ marketing
If you’ve conducted thorough competitor research and identified what other restaurants in your area are doing, you might think you should start doing the same.
However, this is one of the most common mistakes new restaurants make.
After carrying out your competitor research you need to work out what they’re not doing, and strive to fill that gap, ensuring you stand out from the crowd - don’t disappear into it.
- What you claim and what you deliver aren’t the same
If your branding and marketing messaging are saying one thing, but your restaurant is delivering another, then this is a major problem you need to resolve as soon as possible.
This isn’t just about quality but also about style. You shouldn’t oversell what you’re offering to get people through the door as they will only leave disappointed never to return, but equally you don’t want to promote yourself as a family-friendly and affordable restaurant if you’re more upmarket. This disconnect between your messaging and service can undermine the credibility of your brand - a fatal mistake for a new business.
- Neglecting your website
Far too often restaurants of all sizes consider their website a mere afterthought (if they even have one!), investing the majority of their time and money in the physical building rather than their most important digital asset. In fact, you could argue that a restaurant’s website is the second most important collateral after their menu.
People will, more often than not, research where they want to eat online first, and if you’re a brand new restaurant you won’t be able to rely on customer loyalty, word of mouth or a history of great service to get people through the door. Someone might hear about your new restaurant from a friend, newspaper or radio ad, but they probably won’t decide to dine with you over their tried and tested favourites until checking out your menu - and most people will do this online first.