Various studies reveal that the majority of the new businesses launched every year are food service businesses. This includes everything from food trucks to cafes and restaurants. However, only 50 percent of these businesses stay operational after two years. In this article we look at Top 6 Branding Trends for Restaurants.
In an NHK World report, this discouraging number is attributed to two variables: a highly competitive dining scene and high startup costs.
That being said, business strategists strongly recommend utilizing smart branding to overcome the effects of those two variables. With the right branding practices, loyal customers are created and more sales and profits come in.
And when it comes to intelligent branding, it’s crucial to keep up with what’s currently keeping people interested. Branding trends are unlike other business trends; they tend to have a long functional life span, and most of them will remain unchanged for the years to come.
As such, restaurateurs can trust that staying on top of these trends can harness long-term benefits and even secure industry longevity for operations.
So what all-important trends should you keep in mind? Six are discussed below.
1. Becoming an Influencer
Using endorsers or influencers has long been a practice for branding and marketing, but this is more important now than ever — even for restaurants or other types of dining establishments.
Therefore, finding a personality who has influence and power to somehow represent the brand is always a smart move.
However, for this to work to a brand’s advantage, the influencer’s values should perfectly align with those of the business.
Otherwise, questions may arise regarding the inconsistencies with representation that will compromise the brand’s authenticity and trustworthiness.
Another essential practice when it comes to this particular trend is to make the business a mover and shaker for the values it upholds.
For instance, if the restaurant only uses organic and locally grown ingredients, it will work to its benefit to openly demonstrate support for local farmers.
It will also serve its brand to support certain agricultural and health initiatives by providing even just basic information about them to customers.
2. Value-Driven Logos
Logos are branding components that cultivate familiarity. But the trend with logos these days is for them to represent what the business does, and more.
It’s crucial for the logo to reflect the values of the restaurant as well.
Gone are the days when most customers would just have a straightforward perception of a logo; they now want a meaningful backstory.
Therefore, much thought should go into logo design because it will help with image and reputation development, which will then improve the brand’s competitive edge.
It’s important to mention as well that a value-inspired or driven logo ensures the “stickiness” of the brand.
This means that both the image and essence of the business last longer in people’s memories, reducing the likelihood of confusion with other brands.
And lastly, highly valuable logos work as status symbols. This can reap great rewards for restaurants because, with such a logo, they do not have to be limited to their menu offerings.
They can create new income-generating merchandise such as T-shirts, cups, plates, caps, and many others.
3. Engaging Content
One of the most reliable variables behind a strong brand is engaging content. And the trend these days for using content is to make it an extension of the brand’s unique personality and as useful as possible to business end-users.
Articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, and images — all of these can cater effectively to the needs of target audiences. At the same time, these manifest the restaurant brand’s commitment to service.
According to Country Business Magazine, this commitment is not just a smart branding tactic, but it’s a fruitful marketing strategy as well.
After all, research reveals that the most resilient brands are often those that revert to the fundamental essence of a business.
That is to be as useful as possible to the world by bringing value to everyone.
4. More Interactive Experiences
Restaurant services are inherently interactive, but they can become even more so by involving customers in a few important decisions, such as bringing back limited offerings.
This has worked so far for McDonald’s.
After conducting surveys, the top fast-food chain learned that bringing back Twister Fries in some Asian countries during select times of the year is the way to go.
This served as proof of the strong connection the brand has with its customers and also its responsiveness in yielding to requests.
5. VIP Rewards
Rewards are strong restaurant brand reinforcers as well. They secure customer loyalty and cultivate patrons. But, along with that, giving rewards is another demonstration of how it’s the brand’s priority to gratify customers in creative ways.
Starbucks is a fantastic example of this. In countries like Singapore and the Philippines, which offer rewards cards, and around the holidays, it rolls out an interactive campaign that boosts sales and delivers valuable gifts to frequent customers.
What happens is that the cafe introduces holiday concoctions, which when purchased, earn customers a stub.
And for a specific total of stubs collected, customers are rewarded with a rare edition planner, which comes with several coupons for free beverages and other gifts.
In all aspects of this activity, the brand raises its value and achieves other business performance goals.
6. Relevant Catchphrases
Slogans or catchphrases will always be on-trend, but what’s popular these days are puns and rhymes that make a lot of sense.
Again, it’s a must to work with branding experts to develop a compelling and relevant catchphrase or slogan.
In a fiercely competitive food service scene, you need something as clever and memorable as KFC’s “Finger-lickin’ Good” or Olive Garden’s “When you’re here, you’re family.”
Pulling Off Branding Trends Successfully
Successfully achieving differentiation, longevity, and stickiness is a goal that can be quite challenging to clinch for restaurant branding.
Fortunately, the top branding trends today, such as the six discussed above, have been proven to work. Still, implementation is critical — it’s what will make the difference.
Restaurants can only reap the benefits of those branding trends if they are carried out correctly.
For this, it’s best to work with the professionals. Not only can they ensure proper implementation, but you can also trust that they will be utterly strategic about it as well.
With this partnership with the experts, your brand can maximize its value, be as profitable as it can be, and uncover new potential.
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Hasan Fadlallah is a Serial Entrepreneur – Founder & CEO of Brand Lounge, the region’s leading and award-winning branding consultancy, whose role is to help organizations align their business behind an idea that will deliver success. Equipped with over 20 years of professional consulting experience, today he advises businesses throughout the Gulf and Africa on brand development and in 2014 was recognized by the World Brand Congress who awarded him the prestigious Brand Leadership award in Brand Excellence.