9 reasons your restaurant needs to rebrand
Beyond menu changes, new colors, or a refreshed logo, a rebrand is about the desire and need for better customer experience. Jon Taffer provides a foolproof method for determining if a restaurant rebrand is necessary:
When your food gets to your customer’s table, do they put their phone down, stop conversation, and sit up? If they barely acknowledge the arrival of their food or drink—if they are not excited about the prospect of your product—then you’re not doing something right.
Restaurants rebrand for many reasons, but Taffer says the bottom line is that:
If there’s any level of disconnect, it’s time to make a change.
The top three reasons cited by business owners for a restaurant rebrand include: a changing customer base, competition, and declining revenue. However, chef-owners rebrand for a combination of reasons.
1. Flagging or stagnant sales
Restaurant owners rebrand when marketing efforts haven’t made a dent. According to Restaurant News:
Rebranding can provide an immediate about-face for any operation experiencing declining sales and waning popularity.
Declining sales point to a need to reposition your restaurant brand.
2. Stay relevant
Chef-owners capitalize on new trends or broaden their appeal to a different demographic with a restaurant rebrand. Reasons listed by restaurant owners include:
Over the years, our branding and marketing collateral had become too complex and a bit dated. We made the switch in order to fit our positioning—branding that fit the clean and simple quality nature of our product. Daniel Lee, marketing manager at The Flame Broiler.
The rebrand is really an opportunity to reintroduce ourselves to the world. Christina Wong, director of public relations and brand expression at Tender Greens.
Staying relevant to customers means knowing what your market expects and what they lack, and then filling that need.
3. Change in demographics
Perhaps your restaurant started as a college hangout, but now sees more corporate guests dining during a working lunch. If you’ve noticed a shift in clientele, then capture these new patrons by refreshing your image.
Chef-owners also use a restaurant rebrand as a way to niche down by marketing to a more specific market, be it women or Gen Z. As your loyal guests age, you either must age with them or decide to target different demographics.
4. Readjust reputation
A common refrain in the marketing industry is that if you’re not setting the stage correctly, then your competitors will define your brand for you.
While many restaurant owners are comfortable with their story, there are others who face issues from past management or local negative reviews.
Restaurant operators review and re-launch their brand to reset guest expectations and perceptions. In Inc., McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson indicated that their strategy focuses on updating their reputation while evolving into:
A more trusted and respected brand…that customers can feel good about.
A successful restaurant rebrand positively alters your guest’s perceptions while providing clear results.
5. Business expansion
Opening a second location or new ownership are fantastic opportunities to rebrand. If there’s been a shift in mindset or company culture, then chef-owners want their core values to come across in their branding efforts.
Other ways your business might have expanded are by offering online ordering, delivery services, events, and catering. Rebranding pulls together all of your restaurant’s services for consistent promotion.
6. Distinguish from competitors
Competition is stiff. You, your employees, and your guests should be able to distinguish the differences between your establishment and the one down the street. Restaurant rebranding highlights the business’s strengths and unique qualities.
7. Tell the story
George Hailey, CEO of Cafe Express, says that:
Customers need to be educated on your story to be able to appreciate its foundation and the concepts progression.
Consistent storytelling across marketing channels makes customers aware of your restaurant’s history. Using location-based SEO and outreach helps your restaurant develop a connection to the community while creating a conversation.
8. Menu changes
Although menu changes are relatively common in the restaurant industry, substantial updates often require a restaurant rebrand.
If your products or services have drastically changed since you opened or if you’ve introduced location-specific, diet-specific, or other tactics into your menu, then this often indicates that a more profound change is needed at your core to ensure consistency.
For example, if your brand started using locally sourced foods or now provides delicious gluten-free meals, then a restaurant rebrand highlights these new benefits.
9. Become more user-friendly
A cohesive brand delivers an exceptional customer experience, while meeting the critical needs of the consumer, like convenience.
Redesigning your website and including customer-friendly integrations ensures accessibility. According to the National Restaurant Association (as quoted on Upserve):
37% of restaurant owners intend to focus on online ordering as their next technological advancement.
If your brand is outdated or the customer experience feels clunky, then you’re missing the mark. Your digital strategy defines your restaurant brand and compels your online audience to take action.