Jocelyn Ring

About the Author Jocelyn Ring

Jocelyn is a business strategist, entrepreneur, visual facilitator at The Ring Effect and partner and partner of Brain Tattoo Publishing. She brings both left- and right-brain to the equation of business strategy and branding. She is passionate about not only the emotional purpose of the brand, but also the strategic business alignment as a valuable organizational asset. She enjoys finding answers to complex problems, understanding “how things work” and translating research data into fresh, new brands and business strategies.

BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plansPR and promotionReader questionsSocial media

How to attract more restaurant customers using social media

We’ve received a few questions lately about restaurant social media. The common themes are: “How can I get better at social media?” “Should I do it myself or hire someone?” “How can I get more …

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BrandingMarketing plansPR and promotionReader questionsSocial mediaTools, Apps, Technology

How mapping your network can help you succeed

I recently caught up with a friend of mine who’s built a string of successful restaurants. He and his partner really understand how to create a solid concept, experience and brand and it shows in their track record.

Last year, they decided to try a new market to open a restaurant. This location was attractive because it has a lively restaurant scene, a strong tourist contingent and a large local population of foodies. It was also 700 miles from home.

He scouted some locations and found a lovely, historic building that would fit into his gastropub concept and spent time and money creating a beautiful interior. He found the best sources for food and hired an experienced and friendly staff.

The restaurant opened and received rave reviews from local food critics and got pages of 5 star reviews on Yelp.

I was shocked when he told me that he decided to close this location. This was a first for him.

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4 important lessons from CNBC’s “Restaurant Startup”

  I caught up on some of the shows on my DVR one rainy weekend and binge-watched episodes of Restaurant Startup on CNBC. The best way to describe it is a combination of Shark Tank …

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BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plansTools, Apps, Technology

Restaurant business planning – Part 2 of 2

In the previous post, I wrote about how to do start your business planning process with some big picture visioning. In case you missed it, you can read part 1 here.

In this post, you’ll learn what you need to include in your business plan and you’ll get some helpful resources, too.

First, let’s start with why you need a business plan. Your business plan is the roadmap for your restaurant. During the process of writing your business plan, you’ll develop your restaurant concept, how you’ll run your restaurant, who your customers will be, how much money you will need to get started and to stay in business and what the competitive landscape looks like and how you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Writing a business plan for your restaurant will also help you anticipate any roadblocks and have a way to deal with obstacles before you reach them. Being prepared before you open the doors of your restaurant will help position you for success.

Business plans can range from a simple outline to a 50-page document. Consider who will be reading your business plan and for what purpose to determine how much detail you should include. If it is for you and a partner who will be self-funding, a shorter plan may do. If you will be looking for capital, you should plan to include more detail so that investors can see that you have a solid understanding of what you need to achieve your restaurant’s financial goals and to provide them with a return.

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BrandingMarketing plansTools, Apps, Technology

Restaurant business planning – Part 1 of 2

You asked, we answered.

We received a question from a reader who asked:

I am in the beginning phases of starting a restaurant. I’ve got the concept and the food nailed down, but I am not sure about the business plan. I have looked at different business plan outlines, but I haven’t found one that’s easy to follow. Do you have any advice as to where I might start? –Tom B.

Great question, Tom. As regular readers of this blog know, we talk about how your brand is the sum of all that you do. Your brand is bigger than your logo, tagline or your marketing efforts. Having a strong restaurant brand means you’ve got a winning concept, you serve really good food and you deliver an awesome experience. On top of that, these things all need to be aligned with your business goals.

With your concept and the food part nailed down, you can focus on your business plan. Here’s a time efficient approach we recommend.

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How to use your receipts to build your brand

Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of a receipt, how much attention do you pay to it? If you’re printing it out and delivering it to a customer, it might take two …

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BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plans

How to make your restaurant thrive in a tough location

You asked, we answered.

We received a question from a reader who asked:

Our restaurant is located in a challenging area, there’s not much foot traffic and it’s a bit off the beaten path. Other restaurants have been in this building and haven’t succeeded, but we believe that we can make a go of it. We chose this location because is has a beautiful outdoor patio and we are able to use it for most months out of the year. Our food and service are really good, but we need some ideas to overcome the less than ideal location. Do you have any ideas for how to do this? Thanks. Sean

Great question, Sean.

Of course it is easier if you have the trifecta – great food, great service and great location, to put the odds of restaurant success in your favor, but there are things that you can do to help drive traffic and create loyal, repeat customers.

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3 ways to stand out in a crowded local market

You asked, we answered

We received a letter from a reader who asked

I run an Italian restaurant, and when we first opened we were one of three in the area with a fourth restaurant a few towns over. Today there are two more in town and another restaurant that’s opening that’s copying our format. We serve northern Italian food based on family recipes and that’s what they’re doing.

I know that our food is really good because I source the ingredients myself, I’m always in the kitchen and our reviews tell us so. I don’t have a problem with competition. However, I don’t want to get lumped in with these other Italian restaurants. We’re also facing competition from the chains who spend lots of money on marketing and branding. How do I stand out from the crowd? Thanks, Rob

Great question, Rob. When one concept works in a market, it seems that lots of people will go down that path then there are too many of the same options.

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BrandingCustomer experienceEmployee engagementMarketing plansTrends

7 tips for designing a logo for your restaurant

You asked, we answered

We received a letter from a reader who asked

“I don’t have a logo for my restaurant and I need one. I don’t know where to start. Do you have any tips or steps to take? Thanks, Mitch”

Great question, Mitch. We sure do have some tips and steps for you to follow. You’ve heard us say time and again that your brand is not just your logo or tagline. That’s true, your brand is an overarching strategy and like the DNA of your business. The logo is one element that will support your brand, also known as a touch point.

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