Thursday, December 29, 2011

Funny Restaurant Names (Part 3)

Q: How do you make a Thai restaurant stand out?

A: Name it after a famous ship that sank.

Like this one.

Location: Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Funny Restaurant Names (Part 2)

Here's a coffee brand you'd love to have printed on a custom cup or on a custom beverage napkin.

Location: Lowell, MA

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Funny Restaurant Names (Part 1)

This wind down, Holiday week, let's look at some of these clever restaurant names.

Location: New York, New York

Friday, December 16, 2011

Restaurant Files: Branding Through Design (Part 2)

Last week, we talked about tips to brand your food business through design. This week, we are back with more ideas on how to establish or reinforce branding through design. Remember what we said about color? Choose wisely because colors can affect your diners’ moods. So you’ve got your design and color coordinated custom beverage napkins and your other custom restaurant supplies. Great. Don’t forget to incorporate your logo and your design scheme to your exteriors. For example, walls with wood molding and painted in dark, rich colors (maroon or dark brown) can help you create a relaxed and intimate ambiance. Meanwhile, bright colors will help you capture that fun and festive vibe. Your tabletops, your lighting fixtures, your outdoor sign and even your wall hangings should all reflect what your food business is all about. But all these are just the tip of the iceberg. What about your slogan and your front liners?

Let’s start with slogans. You definitely don’t want something that’s too “sell out.” A bad slogan may seem funny and may even help people remember you but it won’t make them diners. And it can hurt your reputation in the long run, which then defeats the purpose of branding your food business. Your slogan should say something about your USP, or your unique selling point. Take the case of Burger King. Their slogan, “Have it your way”, does not talk about how great their burgers are. It tells customers that at Burger King, unlike in any other fast food chains, you can have your burger the way you really want it. It’s also reflective of the kind of customer service you can expect from them.

Now on to your front liners. Odd as it may seem, the “face” of your business is part of your over-all design. It does not have to be a real person like a celebrity. It can be a mascot or a fictional character that personifies your restaurant’s image. If you do decide on having a “face” for your business, make sure that it is also incorporated in your custom beverage napkins, outdoor signs, as well as in all of your supplies and decors.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Restaurant Files: Branding Through Design

One of the most enduring ways to reinforce branding is to use visuals. Branding through design, however, is not just about aesthetic value; it is about subtle impact as well. Take the case of choosing a color scheme. Choosing a color scheme for your restaurant is not about picking your personal favorites. It’s about colors that can positively affect the mood and appetite of your diners. Avoid blue, purple and black as these are deemed unappetizing hues, unless it is a necessary aspect of your over-all design. In which case, use it in moderation. On the contrary, red, green, orange and brown are known to stimulate the appetite so you may want to incorporate these colors into your design aesthetic. When designing your restaurant materials including your custom beverage napkins, your custom cups and your customized utensils, choose a color scheme and keep it unified.

Another branding essential is your logo. A logo should be something your customers can easily associate your name to. An effective logo should be enough to create brand awareness. Again, a logo is not just about artistic value. First and foremost, it should be unique. It should not share any similarities with other businesses (especially food businesses) because it will confuse your customers. A logo should also match the over-all concept of your food establishment. The branding message should be consistent. For example, if your restaurant is more upscale, your logo should be more simple and elegant. If your business is more informal and playful, your logo should reflect that too, with more graphics and more vibrant colors. Make sure that your logo is also visible in your supplies, not just in your restaurant’s exterior. It should be on your custom beverage napkins as well as on your plates, cups and utensils. The more they see it, the more lasting your branding message will be.

Come back next week for the second part of this article.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Restaurant Files: Reassessing Your Branding And Marketing Strategies

Last week, we asked you a question. Are you marketing or are you branding your food establishment?

Today, we are giving you some helpful questions to ponder upon so you can reassess your marketing and branding strategies. If you have been in the restaurant business for quite some time now, you might think it unnecessary to reassess your branding strategies. Sure, you’ve got your custom cups, customized beverage napkins and other customized restaurant supplies. But what are you doing to make more lasting impact?

Here are 10 questions that should be on your restaurant branding and marketing checklist.

1. Who are your customers?
2. What are the things that they value?
3. Are they aware of your existence?
4. What is your unique selling point? What makes your brand compelling?
5. Are you visible? Are you located somewhere convenient for your target market?
6. Are your business hours convenient for your customers?
7. Do you have a concept?
8. Are you exceeding customer expectations?
9. Are you creating sensory experiences?
10. Are you focusing on your front liners?

After you have reflected upon these questions, you also have to look at the minor details your restaurant, all of which come together to create that unique identity for your business. If your restaurant is doing well right now (profitably speaking), then good for you. Don’t sit on your laurels and never, for one second, entertain the idea that your success is permanent. Even a great concept or good food can lose its novelty. Always reassess your restaurant’s attributes. Hold on to your key concept but don’t be afraid to introduce subtle changes or additions. Adapting to change is a key factor to branding success. Here are some attributes which you should always keep in check.

1. Menu
2. Food quantity and presentation (this includes flavors, textures and ingredients)
3. Ambience
4. Fixtures (“little things” like customized beverage napkins, customized plates, customized cups and other branded supplies help customers make that familiar association with your establishment)
5. Price
6. Customer service

Marketing and branding, in a way, are never-ending processes. No matter how successful you have become, you have to constantly reinforce the positive attributes that made you successful and adapt to the changing needs and wants of your diners.