Ultimate branding for restaurants: more than just a logo

by Manav Mathur | Mar 29, 2024

If you're in the business of restaurant marketing read on! Nick Fountain, Head of Marketing and Communications at Fat Hippo Group, and John Jones, Commercial Director of Favouritetable, join Mark Ferguson to unravel the intricacies of restaurant branding. 

Q: Branding – it's really just a logo isn't it? 

Nick: Mark – a brand is so much more than a logo! The common misconception is that branding is just a piece of artwork and a colour palette, but it’s so much more. It’s the persona of your business.  

You have to be a brand that people feel a human connection with and understand what they're purchasing. Your brand should resonate with clients, not just through your logo, but also how you deal with customers, what your social media says and so on. 

I think a lot of people instantly say ‘I want a new brand’ and go down the fresh logo route. This  

almost needs to be parted completely to understand what your brand is; who you’re selling to; what type of ‘person’ the brand is, and then you can start to build from there. 

Q. It sounds like branding is more about defining an organisation’s personality? 

Nick: Yes, 100% - because that resonates with people. So if you're talking to someone who’s got similar interests to you then that makes the ‘sell’ so much easier, because it’s like you're talking to a friend. 

Q: What does marketing mean for a business software supplier helping restaurants with booking and management systems? 

John: We work really hard to ensure the Favouritetable product is more than just another two-dimensional, boring piece of software.  

We've designed something that for many of our customers has become a mission-critical technology, with functionality in the product that allows restaurants to connect with their customers in a number of ways. It's really important that restaurants are able to facilitate a constant dialogue with their diners.  

As with any business marketing programme it should never just be a ‘fire and forget’ process. Brand building to communicate your values across the organisation is crucial and so we include a bespoke landing page to use as a booking portal, and act as a key part of your customer journey. 

Nick: This is particularly true is there's a restaurant that’s starting out – they really need to practice this idea that the customer's experience begins during their very first interaction, not on the night or day of the booking.  

The process begins from the moment the customer is first browsing the Internet or calling the restaurant. From this point you’re aiming for a sense of anticipation and excitement.  

Q: How does the customer journey concept relate to Fat Hippo Group? 

I refer to it as a ‘rule of seven.’ We’re now in a world where people's lives are all about scrolling. You know they haven't got much time, so a minute is the perfect sweet-spot for an essential video communication, and then you’ve got about seven seconds to get someone to understand your brand. 

If they're interested, they might watch up to 30 seconds more before moving on. We use the rule of seven as part of our acquisition model – meaning someone needs to see a piece of content from us somewhere on the Internet, or day-to-day on a billboard or poster and so on.  

From here it becomes a point of conversion. If they've seen seven pieces that resonate with them they're more likely to purchase from us or place of booking. 

We want to keep the customer happy and returning because it's always cheaper from an acquisition perspective to keep diners visiting again, so they’ve got to want to come back. This means communicating more information about your business without it becoming a hard-sell. 

Q: What’s the role and importance of data gathering and management in marketing?  

John: Data is absolutely critical these days and the value reaches from the biggest restaurants to the smallest cafes and bars.  

There's always data out there to captured and used and a hospitality business can stand head and shoulders above its competition by cleverly employing the information it has on file.  

Favouritetable is a hospitality original on the tech front and we make data central to everything we do for our customers. This includes providing fast and easy access to the detail restaurants need to know about their customers so they can create the kind of activities and dialogues Nick mentions. 

There’s a virtuous circle where customers are loyal to a brand and can also become advocates for it. This involves mining, managing and using data properly to achieve a real competitive advantage.   

Examples of this in action can include creating ‘persona maps’ of what a customer looks like, while building a profile of who your ideal customer is. This leads to you designing the ideal product to sell, followed by this becomes an integral part of your brand.  

You then start to recognise what your look and feel is, what your tone of voice is and how you’ll communicate with the guests you know are right for your business. 

Nick: It’s really important to have a clear understanding of what these brand values are and how they’ll sit within the organisation. This also needs to filter down so you’re long and short-term staff understand the brand really well and can see what makes you different from the rest. 

Ideally all of this should be communicated is an easily understandable manner so, if you jump on your social media channels and can see what it is we’re presenting, talking about and selling, you’re likely to understand the brand far more quickly than if you have to read a 50-page marketing manual. 

Your brand has got to be lived by example, and that example comes from the general and assistant managers in our stores, as well as the area managers when they are visiting. Never forget, good communication matters.