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Key Restaurant Branding Trends to Watch in 2022

restaurant branding

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Restaurant branding is critical to success, whether you’re just starting out or are a third-generation restaurant. Modern and creative restaurant branding strategies can help you create the right plan for your business to draw in more customers.

What is Restaurant Branding, and How Does It Differ from Design?

Restaurant branding is a complex field that relies on the same general trends and principles as other industries but differs significantly from general corporate branding. In addition, modern restaurant branding requires a deep commercial understanding since there are restaurants everywhere, from the smallest rural areas to the biggest cities, and that’s a significant amount of competition.

Restaurant branding, design and managing a restaurant are three unique concepts, though design often plays a part in branding. Your restaurant’s branding encompasses everything you do to influence your customers to appreciate your company. Restaurant design, meanwhile, tends to focus on the visual elements and how you express that brand.

BrandingDesign
Focuses comprehensivelyFocuses on visual identity
Offers overarching planTailors into branding plan
Builds conceptions about the companyHelps people recognize the company

For example, KFC is a global company with its signature red and white design. However, the brand encompasses the taste of the food, the Southern style hospitality, and the convenience of ordering from there compared to other brands.

Key Restaurant Branding and Design Trends to Watch in 2022

Restaurant branding and design is an evolving field due to improved technological access. As a result, you can employ creative restaurant branding trends to attract new customers who will love your atmosphere and food without much additional marketing outlay. However, doing so requires you remain grounded in your original brand.

Driving Customer Experiences Through Restaurant Branding

Your restaurant brand and customer experience need to line up to attract repeat customers. Customers expect both positive and personal experiences when they walk through your doors, which your brand can be part of creating.

Take Chick-fil-a as an example. If you’ve been to one, you see the chain’s branding in action every time you thank a staff member when they reply, “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome.” This simple decision changes the customer experience as much as being closed on Sundays does.

If you want to use this modern restaurant branding tactic, you must endure laying the foundation well. From your building to your team, reflecting the brand is a comprehensive activity that one lacking facet can spoil.

Encourage Customer Engagement

Customer engagement refers to your customer’s relationship with your brand. While you know customers will not have an identical relationship with your establishment, you can use this modern restaurant branding trend to improve retention overall.

Whether you want to create a custom hashtag or offer customers discreet feedback forms when they are selected, customer engagement can take many forms. You want customers to engage in their relationship with your brand regularly.

For example, the photo-worthy food trend has endured for many years at this point. While you may not want to add marbled bagels to your menu, you can ensure your staff puts out neat plates or spruces up dishes as a way to prompt customers from certain demographics to engage.

Prioritize Authenticity

While creative restaurant branding ideas can be compelling, it’s also important to remain authentic to your restaurant brand and experience. For example, if your restaurant built itself serving comfort food, suddenly moving to small portion elegant dining because it’s trendy is not going to work out well.

Staying true to your restaurant branding is relatively straightforward as long as you separate the branding from the design trends. Modern restaurant branding is comprehensive, and it takes more than creating a food challenge to change the bones of why people are loyal to your company.

You can also stand out from the crowd by taking a trend and altering it to match your branding. For example, you might want to jump on the food challenge trend. Rather than creating new foods, you would use the recipes customers already enjoy in your restaurants in larger proportions.

Maintain Simple Brand Messaging

Simplicity is key in restaurant brand messaging. Pick one thing you want to embody your restaurant, and that forms everything around it. Whether it’s the type of food you serve, the way you treat customers, or your community involvement, stick to it no matter which restaurant branding trends you try. Without simplicity, your customers can have a difficult time connecting to the brand. 

For example, McDonald’s is the most profitable food chain in the world. While the company offers regional variations on its main dishes, the brand focuses on delivering consistent quality so much that it’s a simple message.

Protect Your Restaurant Brand

Restaurant brands are critical to remaining competitive. Without the legal infrastructure like trademarking your name or copyrighting your website, anyone can coopt your hard work for their own purposes.

Brands also need to consider protecting their brand practices. Codifying branding, consulting branding experts, and retraining are all good options to ensure your brand remains the way you want your customers to perceive it.

How Does Creative Restaurant Branding Affect Your Establishment?

Nearly 80% of restaurants close by their 5th year (CNBC). While situations like poor location choice and not monitoring cash flow closely enough happen, if your food is good, you should still experience a measure of success. The kicker is often not building a repeat customer base, which requires branding.

Your branding will depend on your specialty, location, and intended customers. However, there’s no denying the effect the right branding has on your customer engagement and retention, which may be the component that allows you to reach the next level.

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