Marketing Series (Part 1)

Who Are You and How to Show Your Customers


You dream of opening a restaurant, a community hub where people can come together over delicious food and drinks. People show love through food, share their history through recipes and tasty takeout can provide a sense of comfort. But now, with an increase in dining options and the rise of digital channels keeping people glued to their phones, the restaurant landscape has changed. With change can come opportunity and restaurant owners have more ways to reach their customers than ever before. So, where to start? Start at the beginning by defining who you are.

Defining your brand identity will allow for a cohesive consumer experience and will establish consistency across all marketing strategies. A great first step in brand development is creating a restaurant mission statement. This will outline why you exist, your goals and your primary services to your customers which will help inform your operations.

Next, develop your brand voice. Essentially, this is the type of language and tone you will use when communicating with your patrons. Are you laid back or slightly more formal when speaking to guests? From here, you can determine your look and feel. This includes everything from your logo to your brand colours and fonts which should complement the overall décor. Once you have solidified your brand identity, all of your marketing collateral will have a unified aesthetic and you can further align any slogans, promotions or taglines with your brand voice.

Diners also search restaurants online and review menus before deciding where or what to eat. It seems obvious, but many eateries do not have a website or are missing key consumer information on their existing sites. Restaurateurs can outsource the task of creating a website to a web developer, but for a more cost-effective route, engage a user-friendly website building and hosting company like Squarespace, WordPress or Wix. These platforms offer tutorials and have templates that you can update with your own layouts, colours and images. A website is an important way to increase visibility and awareness for a restaurant so make sure it looks good, represents your offerings and has all details your customers need.

Your clients need crucial business information such as an address, hours and how to contact – phone number, email or any contact method your business wishes to utilize. Publishing a menu or a sample menu is essential. If your menu changes seasonally, be sure to update online as well. Include good quality images of the dishes, beverages, interiors or chefs to assist clients in visualizing the experience and to help sell the fare since customers eat with their eyes.

Websites should also include an online reservation widget or link to how to order takeout, if through a third party, to increase sales and bookings. Social media icons, an about page, events page or chef bios can also be added to grow social followings and to better share your brand’s story with people to create authentic connections.

Many restaurant owners inherently understand the core of their brand, however, creating a checklist and mapping out a brand development plan simplifies the process. Showing your brand to the world has also become easier through straightforward website-building platforms. Customers can truly get to know you, one step at a time.