Posts in category Marketing plans


BrandingMarketing plansPR and promotionSocial mediaTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

Need a shot of spotlight on your brand? Earn publicity.

Publicity can be a low-cost, high-exposure home run for any brand.

Here are three simple ideas that scored a lot of ink and broadcast eyes. Remember staying top of mind is important for your brand and often can be the deciding element that gets a consumer to select your place for their next meal out.

Check out these examples, and then ask yourself and your team, how you can take advantage of this brand-building tactic with your restaurant in the very near future.

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BrandingCustomer experienceEmployee engagementMarketing plansTrends

Building your brand from the inside out

While the value of a restaurant brand may be measured in terms of what the public, your customers and the local community thinks, feels and expects from your place, there’s another group with whom your brand value must rate high. Successful operators invest more (and often even before they spend on any external branding) on the inside brand with employees.

Starbucks®, Zappos® and Whole Foods® are all examples of major brands that started small, today are international power brands that built their brands from the inside out. The leadership behind these companies believed that when your internal culture rocks, the rest things like attracting customers and delivering on brand promises comes easier and more efficiently.

So as a restaurant operator how does this thinking translate to your business, especially if you are small and have limited resources that need to go a long way?

Like we preach in almost every blog post on Restaurant branding, great branding starts and grows when operating from a clear brand essence (purpose, values, points of distinction, personality, positioning and promise). This is critical to start any type of internal branding initiative.

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BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plansPR and promotionTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

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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BrandingCustomer experienceExpert interviewsMarketing plansPR and promotionSocial mediaTrends

Cheesy yellow pants + red hot news = formula for brand lift

Just after McDonald’s reported a 5% drop in first-quarter net income, they announced an image update of their iconic brand mascot, Ronald McDonald.
I’m guessing this means the clothes are no longer Dry Clean Only.

Ronny’s been around since the early 1960’s when Willard Scott first sported the clown get up. Since then, his image has transformed throughout the years, along with his responsibilities that have expanded to include Chief Happiness Officer of the all-American restaurant.

The update took two years to complete and was the fine fashion work of famed costume designer Ann Hould-Ward, who won a Tony award for her costume design of the Disney play Beauty and the Beast.

I’m not knocking McDonald’s work. Keeping a brand relevant is critical. Although I might have suggested pushing the yellow and red envelope a bit more by having him sport a small burger tattoo and maybe wearing Spanx® instead of cargo pants.

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BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plansPR and promotionSocial mediaTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

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 experienceMarketing plansPR and promotionSocial mediaTrends

A local good deed evolves national food brand

This year I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to 5 regions of the Florida Chapter Club Managers Association of America (FLCMAA). The FLCMAA is a trade group made up of private clubs, most of which have food and beverage and hospitality programs. Last week, I addressed the Northern chapter in Jacksonville, FL where Sysco Foods was the host.

We all know Sysco, the big box restaurant food and supply distributor. After my presentation on branding, we went on a tour of the facility, which was very impressive.

What really struck me was how the company focuses on the internal culture that emphasizes the team and recognizes everyone’s contributions. Everywhere I looked there were signs highlighting employees and their important roles in delivering on Sysco’s brand promise.

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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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BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plansPR and promotionRestaurant brand reviewsTrends

What happens in Vegas does not need to stay in Vegas.

I just got back from Sin City. I addressed the International Pizza Expo, an annual event dedicated to the passion and profits around pizza. The 4-day event was produced by Pizza Today the leading pizza industry magazine.

I always have a great time in Las Vegas, as it is a playground for marketers. In the picture below you will see some of my new friends from Mask US a brand costume mascot company. There’s so much to experience here and to stimulate every sense from entertainment, to dining on amazing food, to drinking great wine and vegging out at the spa. I worked hard. I spoke to hundreds of pizzapreneurs on the power of branding and I played hard, too.

The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority launched that infamous tagline in 2003, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” with great success, but this week to help you grow your brand and business I’ll share what I saw in Vegas.

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