What Branding Means in Food Service?
Your 'Brand' communicates your value and appeal to a potential guest. Let them know what makes your business unique. If you're known for comfort food, the best Mac & Cheese, or healthy portions tell it through a consistent story. Do you exceed normal expectations? If your hotel serves a Continental Breakfast is there a signature item? I know of a Sierra Foothills restaurant which serves a variety of the best Eggs Benedict in the County. However, the Classic with Canadian Bacon is purposefully missing. There Branding is 'be adventurous' in that you are directed to try a Crab Bennie, a Southwestern, or Florentine. It works just because it makes you want to try them all. How you convey this in your advertising and social marketing is mostly based on visual communications.
Retail in this age of online shopping is often thought of as 'entertainment.' Restaurants, in particular, need to create the experience which both satisfies a basic need, but also does it with elements of entertainment. Staging, or servicing that end is the visual appeal in everything you present. From the décor, uniforms, table settings, meal presentations, use of color, photographs, graphics, signage, and standards of service you define your 'brand' in your marketing. It is essential to develop a message that reflects your business as distinctly different from your competitors.
Packaging is an integral part of Branding- your logo on a bag is naturally good but requires expensive printing of hundreds or thousands of bags. Branding can also be about a simple label on the cover of a heavy foil heating container to re-heat your 'to-go' lasagna. It can be the folding container you supply with a cake order if you provide a wedding cake. Branding is about distinguishing yourself from the others.
A deli can utilize a microwavable container to the guest, so there is no need for transferring your meal to another container. Bags, foil containers, logos on everything that walks out of your storefront will continually emphasis and show your Brand.
Graphic: OBH, designed by Charles Carter, Pacific Grove, CA 1977