Is your restaurant ready for a rebrand?
If your answer to that question is anything other than a firm "no", chances are a much needed rebrand is right around the corner.
The restaurant industry is constantly changing, and what is in one day, may not be the next. Which is why it's so important for restaurant operators to stay ahead of the game, and be informed enough to know when it's time to change things up.
This week Matt Utber from The Plant, a hospitality branding agency based in London, shares his insights on 9 of the most common problems that clients come to him for help.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, your business could be in need of a rebrand.
Initial interest has petered out
You launched your restaurant business with a food concept that no one else was delivering at the time so you thought you were on to a winner. However after the initial hype when people were keen to try you out, you haven’t been able to maintain the diner’s interest beyond that first inquisitive visit.
Your core audience has changed
You did your research and thought the best audience for your food would be ladies that lunch or mum’s meeting over coffee. However, over time your great WiFi has unexpectedly attracted the local co-working community as well. You don’t want to isolate either audience group but your current brand is now looking too feminine.
You have an important new message to broadcast
After a difficult period you’ve decided to change your food offering and you’ve hired some amazing new people - it’s a fresh start. You feel you are back on track but you’re finding it hard to signal to your customers that you’ve made some significant changes and they should give you another try.
You’re initial branding was an afterthought
When you created your restaurant business you were solely focused on the food and interior design, and slowly but surely, the budget was eaten away by the time you came round to considering the branding.
With no money left in the budget you asked a friend (good at graphics but with no experience in hospitality) to whip something up. What they created for the launch was fine, (better something than nothing, right?) but it hasn’t quite stood the test of time.
You need a fresh pair of eyes on your business
Sometimes when you are working ‘in’ the business it’s hard to work ‘on’ the business. As the saying goes, it’s difficult to see the forest through the trees and pinpoint what is working and what isn’t.
Your visual brand is disjointed
The brand has grown organically over the years.
The bar manager designed the drinks menu, another person created the website, a signage company designed the awnings and each person has given you their take on your brand. Over time it’s started to look a little inconsistent - a mishmash of different people’s tastes, colours, fonts and this is making the restaurant look unprofessional.
Your brand has been imitated
When you started your restaurant you were at the cutting edge, and this made you a real trailblazer, but over time the world has caught up with you and you’ve now been copied by others in the market.
The colours that once felt fresh and exciting now look and feel mainstream but you don’t want make a radical change because it’s taken years to build your reputation.
Your brand doesn’t match your offering
Your food is casual and eclectic but your branding is high end and uber sophisticated. As a result, you're giving the wrong impression that the food is expensive and the service stuffy when actually you’re a casual dining restaurant offering great value. This inconsistency is confusing new customers and stopping them from venturing inside.
Your brand doesn’t match your neighbourhood
Your area is changing and a new breed of customer has moved into the neighbourhood. What worked well for the audience years ago, is no longer relevant and no matter what you change on the menu, you can’t get back to where you were years ago.
Matt Utber is the Creative Director and restaurant advisor at The Plant, a London-based hospitality branding agency. For the past 12 years Matt has been creating brands for companies all around the world, large and small, from Jamie Oliver and Four Seasons through to start ups and food halls.