The smartest restaurateurs know that they are not in the restaurant business—they are in the branding business.
According to the Forbes 2018 World’s Most Valuable Brands list, the top five brands are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
However, these brands all experience a red-faced love/hate relationship with the general public.
The same people swing wildly between sharp criticism of tech companies and giddiness and bliss about the cool things they do.
Restaurateurs can learn from that.
The Restaurant That People Tolerate Just Closed
A restaurant brand perishes as a love/hate brand.
Imagine a restaurant that people tolerate—the restaurant equivalent to the meal eaten at your desk so quickly you can’t remember how it tasted.
Who would want to own that?
Your brand must be a love/love brand that connects to the soul of your guests and employees.
As a successful owner of a multi-unit independent restaurant group, your secret sauce is spending most of your time making your brand stronger.
Keep all other activities (hint/yawn: administration) to a minimum, or delegate them.
Give your brand – your greatest and most valuable asset – the attention it deserves.
Matthew’s Brand Nurturing Checklist
These are the top 10 activities that build your brand:
- New and better food and beverage offerings
- Updating and reinvesting in your oldest locations
- Communicating with appreciated guests
- Visiting with appreciated employees
- Systemizing your culture so you measure it every day
- Ensuring that culture makes employees and guests happy to be part of your company
- Refining your marketing and social media messages to remind guests why they love your restaurants
- Learning about trade areas slated for expansion
- Re-considering any processes or systems in your organization that could be more friendly to guests or employees
- Staying on top of the competition and how they are doing everything on this list
This public service excites, motivates, and helps guests and employees—connecting people to your brand.
What’s not on this list? A “me-me-me” attitude on ownership’s part.
Instead, focus on both the people you serve and the ones you choose to work with.
Also not on the list: making things smaller, cutting corners, and offering discounts or BOGOs.
Nobody ever passed a Chili’s Too and experienced chest-thumping excitement about lunch.
Top restaurateurs spend their time focused on strengthening their brand, which leads to more revenue, more restaurants, a maximized net worth, and the most personal freedom.
Over to you. Which of the items on the checklist scream for more attention in your organization?