Food is a primary commodity essential for humans. But restaurants make humans crave for variety and change. Just like mom-cooked food, a restaurant’s USP is in creating repeat customers, who come back to relive the experience time and again. Astro strategist Hirav Shah has a well-planned and well-charted 7 step plan of action for branding and rebranding your restaurant or chain of restaurants

Restaurants are big, medium and small. However, all restaurants require proper branding to attract customers and for cultivating patrons who would return to them time and again. Ever since formal restaurant business first picked up in the early 1900s, restaurants have developed USPs to sustain and stand out in the market.
Restaurant business is one sector where the competition is high and the customer footfall is highly unpredictable. A well-managed restaurant brand is one that continues to be in business for a long period of time and at the end of the day has happy customers. A variety of factors lead to customer satisfaction.
Having the right ambience, focusing on the type of cuisine or cuisines the restaurant caters to, clean and hygienic environs, being in the right neighbourhood, tasty food and consistency in food preparation, lead to a restaurant’s success. All these factors put together create a brand identity and this is the ‘secret recipe’ that helps a restaurant thrive.
Restaurants face extremely high competition as humans crave a variety of foods and want to try and experiment from time to time. While they might remain loyal to one odd restaurant, they love to try new cuisines and new places, simply for the sake of variety and change.
Given such a situation, it is very important for a restaurant brand to retain its identity by relying on its core values and not compromising on quality. Any change in quality means a death-spell on years of hard work and brand identity.
Like all businesses, restaurants too need to rely on branding and rebranding from time to time. In fact, in today’s time, no restaurant can survive without constant interaction with its customers and potential customers. In the world of social media, restaurants have various channels to reach out to customers and spread their reach. Of course, there are the traditional media that can also help in the branding process.

Here are some tips to build your restaurant’s brand identity

1. Understand your core values as a business.
2. Know your audience.
3. Position yourself well in the market in alignment with your core mission and vision.
4. Choose the right name. An interesting or innovative name instantly strikes a chord with the customers.
5. Be consistent in your design. More so if you are a multi-city chain.
6. Invest in customer service strategy and training.
7. Take time to analyse data and do what is required.

How branding for restaurants helps

Make yourself obvious or put yourself out there: Today’s consumers are bombarded with a whole lot of messages. Given such information overload, customers often struggle to see the difference in the choices on offer, unless the branding and marketing messages are obvious and compelling. Not only does the restaurant have the onus of telling customers why they need to come to them, they have to do it in a way that grabs attention. The messages should also appeal to customers’ emotions and intellect and put the message across in the most punchy way possible.
The whole drill is to make the customer say ‘yes’ to your brand and decide to spend money at your place.

What decides business for the restaurant: There are a variety of reasons why one would go for a particular restaurant and not to the other in the same bracket. The idea is use all of your charm and charisma to entice your customers. At the bottom of all campaigns is the major question – Why give business to us vis-a-vis others?
Well, this ability to project your unique selling proposition to potential customers and existing customers forms the core foundation upon which a successful business is built. People tend to buy or spend money on certain businesses if they see a real and compelling advantage over all other available choices.

Understand where you are tripping over: One of the most important problems while branding is not being able to really understand what a restaurant’s real competitive advantage or advantages are.
At times, what they perceive as an advantage is totally irrelevant from customers’ point of view. While some restaurant businesses do have an idea of their plus points, they seldom manage to articulate the same to customers and spread the message across all their sales and marketing strategies. This leads to sales opportunities failing to convert into business.
In short, this also means a waste of money on advertising and marketing.
Another major issue is sales inertia. Some restaurant businesses try practices that have been tried and tested in the past thinking it worked in the past. But that is a major faux pas. So, to truly hone your marketing strategy and to execute your branding strategy successfully, it is important to keep the customers at the heart of the process. This can also throw up some surprises, which can help in nurturing your business, be it a nascent one or a well-established brand.

Putting across competitive advantage: Once you have figured out what your brand’s USP or competitive advantages are, it is time to craft new marketing and sales messages, also referred to as ‘brand positioning statements’. However, one has to remember that they have to be concise, memorable, measurable and highly relevant to customers. To create an emotional connect and a sense of warmth, which is necessary in the restaurant business, every word needs to resonate and remind customers why they need to patronize you as against other restaurants.
Often, we find restaurants harping on quality, service and value for money. But these are words that have been used innumerable number of times and have almost become redundant. To use a better word, they are stale and outright meaningless to the customers.
The first step is to get out of your comfort zone and get specific. The thrill is in finding a way to explain to the customers in real, exciting and human terms how your restaurant means quality, service and value for money.
n Be different, tell you are different: Today, the world is full of people who have varied tastes, diverse reasons to opt for certain restaurants. There are meat lovers, there are vegetarians, there are vegans, there are those on specific diets, there are those who are allergic to certain foods. It puts a huge onus on restaurant owners to meet all these requirements and still keep their customers happy and content.
So, it is critical for restaurant owners to set aside time, money and effort and work with a branding strategy company if possible to identify their true competitive advantages. Figure out what your restaurant does best, find out why your customers truly choose to dine at your restaurant and then trumpet your message to the world.

Your restaurant brand could be local or a global brand. Or you could be a brand looking to reinvest itself, a couple of years after the launch. Astro strategist Hirav Shah has a well-thought out plan of action for your branding and rebranding:

For good business growth and future prospects, astro strategist Hirav Shah says it is important to have the necessary ‘luck’ in the personal chart of an individual. However, apart from that, there are a variety of factors that push forth ‘luck’ in business. The name of the business, its logo, the partner’s luck, etc, all determine the success of a business, he shares.

Hirav Shah insists that whatever hard work one puts in or whatever talents one uses to put in smart work by strategizing and implementing those strategies in terms of advertising, marketing, sales, HR, production or service… things have to move smoothly and seamlessly.

According to astro strategist Hirav Shah, that is called the ‘luck’ of the company. So, if the structure of the company or organisation is proper, it helps in utilizing your potential and growth in a productive and positive manner.

Consider these

How does food taste without proper spicing?
How does one feel wearing ill-fitted accessories?
How can a cricketer make runs if the pitch is bad?

Similarly, in business, if the structure of the organization is great (ie, business name, great partners, correct registered and administrative address, logo, web-print-digital presence, brand name, etc), by seeking the help of an astro strategist, a business can make and execute decisions within a perfectly timed framework to maximise success.

Here are the 7 factors that astro strategist Hirav Shah considers before giving a road map for branding and rebranding

1. Name of the organisation

Never go by Shakespeare’s famous line — What’s in a name? However, when it comes to branding, it’s all in the name. Astro strategist Hirav Shah will help you name your organisation or brand or product in sync with numerological and astrological calculations. Look at brands like Bukhara, Mainland China, etc – they bring out ads or social media inputs that directly target customers almost on a regular basis. They reach out to customers through various platforms, but the message is unique and consistent.

2. Correct partners

Checking the compatibility, strengths and weaknesses of all partners and administrators is crucial as one weak campaign can mean loss of valuable customers for travel sites, which operate amidst high competition and highly segmented markets.
3. Percentage of shares of all partners: Hirav Shah ensures that each partner share is correctly balanced, so there are no disputes or disagreements in the long run.

4. Registered address and administrative address

They should be astrologically compatible with the name of the organization and key people in the company.

5. Logo of the organisation

We have already seen how important the logo of any business is and so is the case of various brands like Kangan and Prego in Westin, The Mughal Room in Oberoi, Bukhara in ITC, etc. Yes, these are hotels, but they have chain of restaurants that are popular with their clientele. Hirav Shah helps you create and finalize the right logo that reflects your values and attracts the right kind of energy.

6. Web, print and digital presence

In today’s world, where one needs to be seen and heard on various media platforms, Hirav Shah ensures that your digital, print and marketing collaterals are aligned and in harmony with your brand’s purpose and vision.

7. Brand

Last, but surely not the least, astro strategist Hirav Shah makes sure that your brand assets are auspicious for the company and have a positive impact on team morale.