The Recipe for Rebranding Success: Transforming Your Restaurant’s Image

Rebranding is the process of creating a new identity both visually and strategically through a new logo, website, and marketing strategy. Everyone from Burger King, to Chipotle, has rebranded at some point, and it often occurs in reaction to a change within the restaurant, the local area, or the customers. It’s important to start with understanding why you want to rebrand in order to drive the right kind of change. 

Define Your Reasoning

A rebrand allows a company to start fresh with a new logo, website, or marketing strategy that better matches its business plan. Why that happens is up to you and often helps drive your rebranding decisions. Some common examples of why a restaurant might rebrand are:

  • The locals that held your restaurant afloat aren’t coming in as much

  • Your food used to cater to a lower price point, but you are trying to increase your quality

  • You’ve acquired a business that needs to improve business materials for menus, signage, merchandise, etc.

  • Marketing materials no longer reach the ideal audience

Example: Jay’s BBQ is moving from their food truck downtown to a new local strip mall outside town.

Who do you want to attract with your new brand? Do you want to attract a higher paying customer, or simply embrace a new look to appear more modern? Your ideal audience is the people you want to order your food. It can be helpful to imagine what their background is, where they work, how much money they make, what kind of hobbies they enjoy, and what they do with their free time. These are all important aspects of what draws them to your restaurant.

Example: Jay’s BBQ wants to attract more tourists who are visiting their town. They imagine their ideal customer is someone with family and friends, who enjoy spending time eating together. They also probably like going outside together, and spending their time exploring the local area and beyond. They probably have some disposable income that allows them to travel and eat out. They chose this strip mall specifically to make it easy for people to stop by off the highway, and come from inside town.

Sometimes it's obvious why you aren’t hitting your target audience: your logo doesn’t look professional, or you don’t have an easy-to-read website, but other times it can be difficult to pinpoint. In these situations, It can be useful to use the information they have at hand or survey their audience. There is usually information that is already being kept track of digitally, or through the people working at your restaurant. This can look like asking servers to estimate the ages of customers to get a sense of your current customers, or evaluating what the average cost of an order comes out to on your ordering system. These can all be insights into who your current customer is. Then, come up with how you’d like to change that information in a measurable way: increase the average order to x amount, or decrease the average age of a customer to 18-35 years old. This sets the stage for accountability for your rebranding, and determining what styles and strategies will be effective.

Example: Jay’s BBQ knows they want to attract tourists and make their restaurant feel more high-end and reputable for them, instead of feeling like a small-town restaurant. They know that their average order value is around $13 so they want to increase it to about $20.

Using the information about your current audience, develop a plan of what changes you will implement to change your target audience. Most often restaurants change their marketing strategy to reach their target audience better, develop a new logo that appeals to their new target, or work on the usability of their branding and marketing materials to make sure they cater to their new audience’s needs.

Example: The previously mentioned BBQ joint, wants to emphasize appealing to individuals who will bring families, refer friends, and post about it online, so they want to have a visually appealing logo that customers remember on their marketing materials and makes them look higher-end. Additionally, they want to use this logo on an updated website with online ordering, social media posts, and email campaigns.

In summary, rebranding your restaurant involves understanding your motives, defining your target audience, and executing a strategy. Whether you collaborate with professionals or use user-friendly tools, the aim is to create a brand that resonates. With dedication, you can attract new customers and delight loyal patrons through a successful rebranding effort.