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Restaurant Branding and Design

Great Divide Brewing Co. signBranding is a marketing technique that uses messages and designs, such as logos and symbols, to promote awareness of and loyalty to your restaurant’s brand. The key to effective branding is to implement a consistent creative marketing concept. A good restaurant marketing campaign will feature consistent messages and visual designs in all of its marketing materials as well as the interior and exterior appearance of the restaurant. When developing your restaurant’s branding techniques, consider the following:

Target market.

Your design concept should match your target market. For example, if your target market is children and families, you should choose a fun, playful design. If you cater to empty nesters, your designs should probably be more sophisticated.
» Learn more about target marketing for restaurants

Consistency of appearance.

The “look” of your marketing materials and the restaurant’s design should create a consistent image for your brand. Make sure your advertisements, signs, menu, and interior decorating all use a similar design. This will encourage customers to strongly associate your restaurant with certain symbols and colors. You should also incorporate consistent scents and sounds into your branding efforts. Once your restaurant has created an “image,” every time customers see your logo or design or smell your food, they will remember the entire brand and customer experience that goes with it.

Consistency of message.

Make sure the message that you send in your designs, slogans and advertising copy is consistent and matches the concept of your restaurant. Do not, for example, market yourself as a family restaurant in your advertisements and as an elegant fine-dining establishment in your menu copy and design. Branding requires that you repeatedly send your customers a message about what your restaurant can provide, and if that message is not consistent, your branding efforts will not have as great of an impact. 

Branding Through Creative Marketing

Choosing a Color Scheme

When choosing a color scheme for your restaurant’s creative platform, you should take into account the effect the color scheme will have on the mood and appetite of diners. Color theory suggests that colors can influence purchasing decisions. As you design your restaurant, you may want to avoid blues, purples and blacks, which are the least appetizing of colors. However, if these colors are a necessary aspect of your design concept, it is okay to use them in moderation, especially if you run a bar or a lounge. On the other hand, reds, oranges, greens and browns have been known to stimulate the appetite, perhaps because they are the naturally-occurring colors of food. Restaurants have found that red, in particular, piques the appetite. You may want to consider using these “appetizing” colors, but the most important thing is to be consistent. When designing your marketing materials, choose a color scheme and stick with it.

Restaurant Logos

Having a unique logo is an essential aspect of restaurant branding. Once your customers begin associating your logo with your brand, the emblem alone will be enough marketing material to create brand awareness. Follow these guidelines to create a logo:

Make it unique.

Make sure your logo cannot be mistaken for another restaurant. If your design is too similar to another business’s, it will be difficult to create a clear association between your symbol and your brand.

Match your logo to your concept.

In order to send a consistent message about what your restaurant has to offer, your logo should match the rest of your concept. For upscale full-service restaurants it can be as simple as your restaurant’s name in elegant writing. If your concept is more playful, your logo can include more graphics and colors.

Hire a professional.

A graphic designer will be able to create a unique and attractive logo. You can use a design provider like Logoworks to create a logo for a very economical price. If you do decide to create your own logo, make the design cohesive. Make sure the logo looks like a single graphic rather than several images stuck together. A scattered or confused logo has little impact and is difficult to remember.

Put your logo on all of your marketing materials, including advertisements, signs, takeout bags, merchandise and menus. The more customers that see your logo, the more memorable your marketing message will be.

Restaurant Slogans and Spokespeople

Slogans and spokesthings should be used with caution. A gimmicky slogan or spokeperson is too easily identifiable as a marketing ploy, and it could hurt your business more than it helps. However, sometimes a slogan or spokesperson can help create brand loyalty, especially for restaurants with multiple locations and a widespread advertising campaign. When necessary, use slogans and spokesthings to differentiate yourself from the competition. For example, Burger King found success with the slogan “Have it your way” because it differentiated Burger King, which makes its burgers to order, from other fast food chains that are less accommodating to customers’ special requests. Jack in the Box had success with its fictional CEO spokesman because the anti-establishment image he created was that of a non-typical fastfood chain.

Branding Through Restaurant Design

The interior and exterior design of your restaurant has a big impact on the customer experience. You can design your restaurant to encourage branding by reinforcing your brand’s message and appearance through repetition. Follow these tips to design a restaurant that will send a consistent marketing message and further brand awareness and loyalty to your restaurant:

Display your logo.

You can use your logo in your interior restaurant design to match your marketing materials. Consider placing your logo on your outdoor sign, outdoor and indoor menus, posters on the walls, above the bar and near the point of purchase (POP).

Use a consistent color scheme.

If you can get customers to associate your restaurant with a color, especially an appetizing one, you will create a consistent image for your brand and make it easier for customers to remember you. Match your restaurant design color scheme to your marketing materials. You can always use neutrals in your interior design, but white will feel stark and sterile. Design your interior with colors that match your concept. Walls with wood molding and a dark, rich paint color (like maroon, dark brown, or forest green) will create a relaxed, intimate feeling, while a bright color (like bright red) will create a fun, festive atmosphere. Your outdoor sign and menu should also make use of a common color scheme.

Match decorations to your concept.

In addition to colors, make sure that the lighting, tabletops, seating, wall hangings and plants reflect the overall message and appearance of your brand. For example, if you operate a tropical frozen yogurt establishment, use tropical fruits and plants, exotic décor and warm, sunny lighting in your interior design to create an image that matches your design concept.

Incorporate your design into your exterior.

Curb appeal will draw new customers and make an impact on existing ones. Your restaurant’s design concept should show on the outside, too. That way, customers and passersby are immediately exposed to your brand’s image.

A cohesive and unique design concept will make your restaurant stand out. By creating a consistent and cohesive design concept for your marketing materials an interior and exterior restaurant design, you can help customers remember your brand and the experience they had at your restaurant.