Posts in category Social media


BrandingCustomer experienceEmployee engagementMarketing plansSocial mediaTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

An awesome avenue for flying solo – Crowdsourcing

OOOPS for some reason you may have gotten this blog twice. Technology has its ways of mysteriously making us wonder, “What just happened?”. Sorry! If you didn’t get this blog post last week, it’s a good one on ways to leverage small budgets and get big ideas. Read on.

CrowdsourcingOperating a start up or even small restaurant can be lonely. There’s so much to do. Identify the right location, find funding, decide on a concept, create a menu, hire the best people and design and plan for your brand.

And then you need to accomplish a lot of this, fast on one half of a shoestring. YIKES!

Not too worry. There are millions of talented people who are drinking coffee while wearing flurry slippers and PJs that are willing, ready and able to help you get your branding going. And the cool news, they are just a click away.

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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 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 engagementExpert interviewsMarketing plansPR and promotionReader questionsRestaurant brand reviewsSocial mediaTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

3 tips for handling a bad online restaurant review

You asked, we answered. This week’s blog post is an answer to a question submitted by one of our Restaurant Branding Roadmap readers.

“I know it is important to be on social media, but I am afraid to put ourselves out there. We had a bad experience with a nasty reviewer online and we didn’t know how to respond. I know that bad reviews and disgruntled customers can hurt a brand. How do you suggest dealing with bad reviews on a Facebook page or on a Twitter feed or on a site like Yelp? Also, how do you decide where to be on social media. There are so many options and we only have so much time? – Denise”

Great question, Denise. You are right, just like your restaurant might see an uptick in business from a consistent stream of great reviews, bad online reviews can hurt your brand and your business. In today’s marketplace, an online reputation is something that every business must monitor.

First, we’ll address your question about how to deal with bad restaurant reviews. If you’re monitoring your restaurant’s online reputation, or you have an alert system set up and you come across a bad review, here are some steps you can take.

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BrandingCustomer experienceMarketing plansPR and promotionRestaurant brand reviewsSocial mediaTrends

Trees, trends and textures – Birchwood is a natural

Last week we shared how a restaurant in Costa Rica tapped into history as a platform for their brand.

This past weekend we journeyed to another historic gem in St. Petersburg, Florida, The Birchwood Inn (a boutique hotel). The Birch and Vine (an adjoining restaurant) and The Canopy (a rooftop lounge) all a part of a beautifully branded downtown destination.

It was well worth the visit and they delivered a wonderful dining and hospitality experience and kudos for a thoughtful brand that reflects the tradition and charm of the property, a contemporary hipness and a family–honored and inspired name.

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BrandingCustomer experienceEmployee engagementMarketing plansPR and promotionReader questionsRestaurant brand reviewsSocial mediaTools, Apps, TechnologyTrends

Pizza, pickles and a plan.

Interested in the latest trends, concepts and consumer insight around America’s favorite food, Pizza? I’ll be part of the expert team presenting at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas on March 24-27th.  For more …

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BrandingMarketing plansPR and promotionSocial mediaTrends

3 branding lessons from the Super Bowl Commercials

Wait, the Super Bowl has not even happened yet! You are right. Super Bowl XLVIII takes place February 3rd in East Rutherford, New Jersey. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the deep-pocketed, …

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