Branding is essential for all businesses. It’s how you interact with the world and the way customers remember you. But branding is especially important for a ghost kitchen.
Because ghost kitchens don’t have a storefront, convincing your customers you are trustworthy is even more difficult than promoting a brick-and-mortar restaurant. You need to convince customers you are trustworthy through branding. Here’s how to do it:
Decide on a Suitable Business Name and Logo
Having a memorable business name and logo is vital for any business, but it’s even more important for a ghost kitchen. Your business does not have a storefront. Your branding will impact what people think of your business.
The key objective is to show you can be trusted and explain what kind of food you serve.
Your business name should make it immediately apparent what kind of cuisine you specialize in. You don’t need to be literal; you want a business name that is memorable and unique.
Once you’ve selected a suitable name, you will need to design your logo. Your logo needs to attract your ideal customer. When designing your logo, consider your target market. You will also need to do a bit of market research to see how your competition positions itself.
Next, consider the type of logo you want to create. There are seven different types of logos. You’ll need to pick the style that you think will work best for your restaurant.
An example of a good business name and logo for a ghost kitchen is Bubu’s Finest Birds & Burgers.
The name makes it clear what kind of food they serve: fried chicken and burgers. But the name is still unique and memorable. The logo is well-designed and in the style of a conventional restaurant as well.
Don't Forget About Your Company’s Brand
Without a well-thought-out brand, your business name and logo have no value at all. You have to decide what your brand represents—and how you want to package it for public consumption. What are the values of your brand? Why do you make your chosen cuisine? What makes you stand out from the competition?
The answers to these questions will inform your company's brand, and your brand informs all your branding decisions. You can’t communicate your brand to your customers if you don’t know what your brand represents.
Create a Company Website
Your ghost kitchen’s website is one of the few ways customers interact without your business, so it must be high-quality.
Websites are also a great way to sell your business to the customer. You can display images and descriptions of your food and advertise special offers. But make you spell and grammar check all text on your website; even small mistakes can make your website seem unreputable.
Your website should also display your logo and include a full menu. Let your customers know what’s unique about your food. Your logo should align with the color scheme and fonts you use on the site.
But where should you begin? A good place to begin is by picking three highly successful restaurants in your niche. What are their websites like? How are they promoting their food? You need to understand why their website is working.
Once you have a good idea of what a successful website looks like, you can create your own by imitating the best bits. The result will be a great-looking website that fits the style of your niche.
But if you want your company website to stand out even more, there are other options. You can search for a successful, trendy restaurant in a different niche and use their website design as your inspiration. Using this method means your website won’t follow the same trends as your competition, making for a potentially unique and bold result.
Invest in Food Photography
Customers are visual creatures. If they see delectable photographs of your food, they’re more likely to order. Your images have to be high-quality if you want people to order your food. It’s best to hire a professional photographer for this.
You can also use your mouth-watering images for advertising your food on your website. Don’t leave your customer expectations to chance. Having high-quality images also makes your business seem more reputable, which is especially important for ghost kitchens.
Here are a few photography tips to help you along:
1. Choosing the Best Angle
Certain angles are very overused in the food industry; the result: even technically perfect photographs can look tired and forgettable. So emulating what's out there won't always cut it. You need to consider which angle makes your food look the best.
For example, if your burger has a unique topping, make sure the angle shows it off. You can display a burger with steak strips doused liberally with barbecue sauce. The angle should give you a cross-section of the burger that makes you want to bite right through it.
Your photos should use the dish’s surroundings to add to the story you're telling the customer. You can add props like cooking utensils and sauces or add a table cloth of the nation of origin, just let your imagination run wild!
For example, show a food spread served on banana leaves. This is particularly common in Southeast Asian cultures such as the Philippines. Many Filipino-themed ghost kitchens use similar props or backgrounds to appear more authentic.
Light plays a huge role in photography, and natural light often works well with food. So use a diffuser to soften dark shadows and brighten highlights when shooting in direct sunlight.
Another great tip is using black cards to make shadows stronger and a white card to bounce light into shadowy areas. You can also use a black card to block light that's hitting your subject in the wrong place.
Skillfully use light and shadows to highlight the food. The main dish lies on a light-colored surface, which allows it to stand out against the rest of the darkly-lit background. There is also a bit of light from above that produces interesting shadows and light reflections.
4. Layers and Lines
The way a photograph is composed is very important, too. You can create layers and invisible lines using props to improve your photographs. If done correctly, the 'lines' and 'layers' will directly lead the viewer's eye to the subject.
Let’s say you want to feature energy balls. Arrange them in a diagonal line and focus on the middle ball. This will produce an intriguing effect that makes the viewer want to zoom in and take a closer look.
It can be tempting to shoot against a bright background or use fun, colorful props, but using too much color can take attention away from the dish. So it's best to use neutral tones and small, supplementary splashes of color to make the main event shine. But as with all these tips, you need to use your judgment based on what you're shooting.
If you want to showcase candy corn-flavored cupcakes, for instance, you can place them against a plain white background to let the cupcakes’ colors pop out. If you use another color for the background, such as another shade of yellow or red, the cupcakes will just blend into the background. Using a contrasting color, on the other hand, might yield less-than-appetizing results.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Business
Ghost kitchens are a modern concept, so using modern promotional techniques like social media makes sense. Ideally, you want to create a cult following around your brand.
You should use social media to highlight your brand values and your menu and products; the personality of your restaurant concept should shine through.
Using social media to engage with your customers is also crucial to your brand’s success. You want to establish a community for your customers. It’s a good idea to follow and engage with food bloggers and critics as well. If they feature your content, it will be a huge boost for your restaurant. You can also use geotagging to increase the local social media reach of your business.
MrBeast Burger solely uses ghost kitchens and is an excellent example of the correct use of social media for promotion. The brand gets lots of social interaction for a burger joint. The Twitter account also has over 110,000 followrs, showing that social media can be a very effective way to promote a ghost kitchen.
Having a robust and consistent brand is how you build trust for your ghost kitchen. Start by creating your business name and logo. Your business name should convey the cuisine you serve while still being memorable and unique. Your logo should look professional and convey your brand values.
Next is your company website. The website should promote your food and menu, display your logo, and advertise your promotions. The layout should be influenced by your logo, too. You also need to use delectable photography on your website, social media, and delivery apps.
Your ghost kitchen should also utilize social media correctly to promote your ghost kitchen. Use social media to highlight your brand values, products, and menu and engage with your customers and influencers.
But don’t forget to establish your brand. Your brand informs all your branding decisions, after all. To establish your brand, you need to decide what your brand represents. Why do you cook the cuisine you do? What are your brand’s values? What makes you unique?