Skip to the main content.

2 min read

Brand Identity: How to ensure that your bar, restaurant or cafe becomes a recognisable brand.

Brand Identity: How to ensure that your bar, restaurant or cafe becomes a recognisable brand.

Walk down most city centre streets and you’ll see more cafes, bars and restaurants than just about all the other retail outlets combined. It’s a clear indicator how pervasive the eating out culture has become in Australia and just how very competitive the market is for cafes and restaurants.

In a mature and saturated market, where standards are high and serving great quality coffee and food is the norm, rather than the exception, successful café, bar and restaurant owners rely more than ever on their brand to distinguish them from the competition and be the stand-out on the high street. 

Whilst great brands look natural and effortless, there’s a bit of work behind them. So here’s a step by step guide on what goes into creating a great brand for a café, bar or restaurant:  

 

A mission statement 

Building and maintaining a strong brand starts with 100% clarity. Clarity about what your brand stands for, what it is trying to achieve. A mission statement is a way of capturing the brand message and communicating it to management, staff and customers.

Positioning - literal and figurative

A good brand knows what it is, and (just as crucially) what it isn’t. It’s important to be able to position your restaurant, café or bar in the market. If you’re already in a location, that will be a factor in determining your target market - after all, a café won’t have much joy attracting parents with toddlers if it is in the middle of the financial district, or lawyers if it’s in the leafy suburbs. 

If you’re starting out, you might do things the other way round, and choose your location based on the people you want to serve. Either way, it’s important to be quite specific and to build your brand around the customers you want, how they will use your venue and what will attract them. 

Understand what your customers want 

Customers go to cafes, bars, restaurants for a myriad of reasons - business meetings, social functions, work away from the office, homework after school, celebrations, parties, dates. A successful brand will tie in with the reason your customers are using your venue. Surveys show that the atmosphere of a bar, café or restaurant is one of the biggest factors in building an attractive brand experience. 

So once you understand your customers and why they’re coming to you, you can start to create the elements of the brand that will make them feel that this is the only place for them and build brand loyalty. 

Those elements will include the name of your business, a logo, colours, and the overall ‘look and feel’ of your space. Branding can be carried through to every element of the customer’s experience - from the logo and signage, the décor and furniture, the menu, including the names of your dishes or drinks, to the colour palette, music and staff uniforms - everything that your customer sees, hears, touches or tastes. 

Getting it out there

Once you’ve developed your brand, with its distinctive look and feel aimed at your perfect customer, it’s time to get it out there. Word of mouth gets a lot of people through café and restaurant doors, and social media is ‘word of mouth on steroids’. By connecting on socials with your customers, you get to also put your brand in front of their friends, family and ‘people like them’. Your website, and ‘traditional’ advertising are all part of the brand building mix. 

Go online

An app is a great way to get your brand into your customers’ pockets and stay in their minds even after they’ve walked out of your door. If they can order their coffee, or their favourite lunch online and pick it up when they’re ready, you’ll be reinforcing your brand even more strongly. 

Reward them

The whole purpose of building a brand is to generate loyalty, so rewarding regular customers through a loyalty program is a no-brainer. Whether it’s an old-style hole punch coffee card, or part of your app, a rewards program strengthens your brand and reminds customers why they love you.  

You can easily spot a venue that’s been through these steps - it’s the one that’s always busy, always buzzing is the place that everyone wants to be.

The rise of the dark kitchen and virtual brands, and what it means for restaurant operators.

The rise of the dark kitchen and virtual brands, and what it means for restaurant operators.

Time for dinner - and Australians around the country open up a food ordering app, scroll their favourite cuisines and place an online order for...

Read More
Listen and learn - three ways to use feedback to improve customer experience

Listen and learn - three ways to use feedback to improve customer experience

Customer experience has always been a key goal if you’re a hospitality business, but over the last 18 months, it just got even more important.

Read More