Starting up your own restaurant will consume time and money, especially if you don’t know where to begin. So what are some of the elements you need to establish in order to stand out from the crowd?
Establish A Consistent Brand Identity
Part of a winning formula for a successful restaurant is a marketing strategy that establishes brand clarity. Unique selling propositions, menu items and décor choices need to come together seamlessly so that each visitor feels the restaurant understands them. Knowing who your target customer is plays a vital role on deciding these elements.
Who Is Your Target Customer?
You need to know who you want to fill your restaurant, how to get them there and how to keep them coming back. Providing a dining experience that addresses these factors is the key to running a business filled with loyal customers day after day. The better you understand the customers you hope to attract, the better you will be able to the position your business as the restaurant they think of.
For example, if you want to open a family style restaurant then we will consult with you to find the answers to questions like:
- What will your kid’s menu look like?
- How will your servers dazzle even the youngest (and sometimes the hardest to please!) customers?
- How will you design your dining room layout to ensure strollers and high-chairs fit in easily?
- Will you have step stools in the bathroom to help little ones reach the sink?
- What can you do to ensure parents enjoy their time too?
- Will kids eat free on certain days/times?
- Will you give the kids something to do while waiting for their food (and if so, what will it be?)?
- How will your decor appeal to parents and make them feel comfortable without worrying that their kids will break something or mess something up?
The answers to these questions will provide you with the understanding of who your target customer is. Our design team at Jean’s Restaurant Supply will consult with you to make sure you are asking the right questions and getting the most efficient solution in response. We can help you provide detailed sample customer profiles and open up the conversations about how to best reach those people, and how to impress them!
UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
The unique selling proposition, or USP, refers to the factors that make a restaurant stand out from its competitors. It is the answer to the question “what makes your restaurant special?”.
When you know what your niche will be, and how it will set you apart from your competition, think about why those things matter to your customers. Once you’ve figured that out, you can create your value proposition, and infuse that into every single aspect of your business.
Not only does what’s on your menu matter, but how it’s described, the material it is made out of, where you position items to best take advantage of a customer’s reading patterns, and how well your employees can explain the items on the menu all play into how cohesive your brand identity feels.
In addition to the menu being consistent with your brand’s identity, a big struggle restaurant owners face is ensuring their menu is profitable. Restaurants often are operating with extremely slim margins (sometimes as low as .05 on the $1!) so creating a menu that is positioned for profit is imperative.
Ensure every single staff member is properly trained when it comes to your menu. Encourage them to try every single dish, talk with them about how to best explain dishes to diners, and make sure everyone involved in creating and serving the dish understands how it should be plated and presented.
Success doesn’t come from your target customers
Understanding your brand.
It comes from your target customers felling understood because of your branding.
What is your brand and how does it make you stand out from your competition?
What about your restaurant will entice your customers to want to spend money at your establishment and not the place next door? Remember, every restaurant claims to be the best at something, and you are probably no exception. You need to figure out what makes you better than or different than others. Are your burgers the most juicy and flavorful around? Do your fruits and veggies come from gardens or do you grow your own? Do you use ramen noodles instead of buns for your sandwiches?
In order to do this correctly, you need to know who your target is. Ramen noddle burger buns will not appeal to wealthy business owners but they will be loved by young hipsters. This rule is also important for the interior décor. Are you going to hang up classical paintings or edgy, experimental art created by locals? Are your tables a simple shade of black with an elegant tablecloth lain on top or is it bright and vibrant in color? All of these questions can be answered once you’ve figured out your brand and your target.
It is important for you think about what makes you different than everyone else. If you can’t stand out, your customers will overlook you.
What first impression are you trying to make?
You can’t just worry about the physical interior of your restaurant; you also need to take the time to think about the people who are going to help you run the place. Your staff. The employees that work the floor will be what your customers come in contact with the most. That means they are going to have to dress in a way that not only coincides with your brand but also allows them to stand out so they can easily be spotted by your customers. If you’re looking to run a high-end restaurant your wait staff would probably need to dress more formally – and act it as well. However, if you’re running a restaurant with a more relaxed design, then maybe just a black shirt and black pants will work.
Now you’ll have to think about your menu, which is more than just a simple sheet of paper that lists what foods you have to offer. There are actually many things you have to consider, such as: weight, size, texture, font, graphics, and even your lexical choices.
Many restaurants often pass out their silverware before giving their customers their food, so this is one of the first things that will leave an impression. Although nicer silverware is more expensive, it will last you longer and you will spend less from constantly needing to buy replacements.
How are you going to keep your customer engaged?
Taste is not the only sense you should have your customers engage in. You’ll need to consider; the scent of the dinning area, the music playing, and the lighting. The scent of smell is one of the most important you need to consider, because a bad smell will drive your customers away. However, you want to make sure that you don’t over do it, you don’t want your restaurant smell like a perfume shop.
What about the sound? Music and sound play a dramatic role in the impression your establishment gives to your clientele. High end restaurants typically focus on softer classical style music for a formal and more intimate feel. Vegan-only restaurant might play the sounds of the rain and thunder lightly to give an organic vibe to the space. In Austin Texas, a famous pizza restaurant catered to metal music lovers and blasted “death metal” style music to immerse its customers in a highly thematic eating experience.
Lighting is also an important thing to think about. The soft light of a candle is perfect for a romantic dinner while neon signs will work perfect in the dim lighting of a sports bar. Lighting can also directly relate to plate prices. Intimate lighting set ups and romantic candles give the impression that the experience and momement is worth any price being charges. Neon glows with flashing light move the mood into drink specials and happy hour. These concepts are all correct and can be lucrative as long as they are a part of your DESIGN.