Whether you are opening up a new restaurant or you’ve been in the area for years, it’s quite likely many people have no clue who you are. Especially for smaller, family-owned restaurants that don’t have the spread or marketing of major franchises, you need to get people to notice you.
That means having strong restaurant branding and then spreading it in your area so people see it, learn to recognize it, and get comfortable with it. The more people see your business’ name and brand, the more likely they’ll give your restaurant a try, and it could even help increase the number of returning customers. Spreading your branding requires creative marketing and advertising techniques so a larger audience can see it. Here’s some tips to get you started.
You Need Strong Branding — Both Logo & Colors
It’s a smart restaurant marketing move to have a strong brand identity. Everything about your restaurant — from the name to the decorations — impacts your restaurant’s brand and how people view it. Everything needs to match in order to convey a strong brand message. If you don’t have a good connected brand, it only leads to confused guests.
Good branding starts with the name and the type of restaurant you are. A casual pizzeria is going to have a very different branding than a five-star restaurant. Embrace what you are. Then find ways to stand out with your branding and restaurant. If you are a casual pizzeria, what makes you special against your competitors? Do you provide a ton of pizza for cheap? Is it a great place to hang out with friends? Is there a specialty pizza that is out of this world? All of this needs to be considered when branding.
With these in mind, have a logo and color scheme that makes sense. A logo should be easily recognized, usually include a name, and be pleasant to look at. Similarly, your branding color scheme needs to match the theme you are going for and look nice. Then, everything you put out should match that color scheme and have the logo on it.
Giving Away & Selling Swag to Guests
A good goal for your branding and marketing is to become a local hotspot; the hidden dining gem in the area. That way, as more people eat there, they become enamored fans who want to come back time and time again. As you grow in popularity, you’ll want to give your guests the option to share their love of your restaurant with the world. And that’s where swag comes in.
A good place to start is with stickers and decals. Give away stickers with your branding to repeat customers as a way to show your appreciation and spread your brand at the same time. This could range from small ones for kids, to larger ones for coffee mugs and the back of laptops, to even bigger decals to slap on the back window of a car.
Other swag works well too. Give away t-shirts to your most passionate customers, or sell them for cheap, and you’ve got a walking endorsement around town. The more visible the swag you give customers, the more other people will see it. You could even offer promotions to people who come in wearing your swag, like 10% off their meal. That way, you ensure your brand gets seen.
Being Seen at Local Events
If you want your local community to notice you, then you need to be a part of the local community. Your restaurant needs to be an active participant in town or city events, and it’s a great way to get noticed. Whether you set up a booth to pass out swag, have a food truck passing out food, create a float for a parade, or simply donate volunteers and money to helping out, every bit of extra exposure is good.
Especially if your business is just opening, you need to get involved. That means supporting charity events, participating in town carnivals or holiday events, and being seen by the public. Have you ever gone to a city event and seen that Taco Bell or McDonald’s have a booth there? It’s because even franchises know it’s a great way to get extra exposure to the local community and feel connected to it.
Grow an Online Presence
People are constantly online, and your business needs to be too. You need a strong website that matches your brand and has content that can attract the locals. The restaurant also needs a vibrant and worthwhile social media presence as well. That way, as people look up your restaurant and want to follow you online, there is something worth paying attention to.
Especially with a local market, you can hyper target your online content and marketing to that audience. That means content that matches what your local audience searches and is interested in. Facebook ads and boosted posts are also useful to get your brand in front of people in a specific geographical area.
Spreading your brand means getting in front of people by any means necessary. It requires a blend of creative marketing and traditional advertising. But paying for billboards and teens to flip signs in the air only goes so far — you need to get people to feel connected and interested in your restaurant, even if they’ve never stepped inside it. That’s what it means to have a good brand and to spread it to everybody you can.