An important brand asset for any restaurant is the chef. Whether your food master is trained at a top culinary school like The Cordon Bleu in Paris, in his mother’s kitchen or in a Chemistry and biology lab like famed Houston Chef and Ph.D carrying Robert Del Grande, branding a food professional can add instant credibility and interest to your business and restaurant brand.

Why invest in branding your chef?

  • Customers are attracted to the star power and human persona of a chef.
  • A well-branded chef becomes a worthy reason the media will talk about you and give you publicity.
  • Beyond your restaurant’s online footprint, you now have a new social media channel to touch customers and prospects.
  • Your chef is another point of distinction for your restaurant that you can build from and own.

5 ways to cook up buzz and customers by branding your chef.
1) Protect the brand.
If you are going to invest heavily in branding your chef and he or she is not a shareholder, I recommend you address public communications policies just in case they decide to leave before you start spending and building their brand. Also, make sure your chef has the communications skills to be a public figure. If you doubt this, get professional training on media training and speaking before you start showcasing them.

2) Define the Chef’s brand essence.
This is similar to a business brand’s essence or DNA, but with a chef ask yourself:

  • How is the chef unique? His or her name, look, background, style, food expertise, other expertise etc.
  • What is the chef’s personality? Select 3-4 strong personality traits like: stylish, proper, fun, sexy, creative.
  • What’s the chef’s story? Passions beyond food, their professional timeline, milestones they’ve achieved?

If you need more help with this planning check out my Brain Tattoo You ebook. It provides a simple path for all professionals who want to create a stronger personal brand.

3) Identify strongest channels to reach the most in your target audience and create a working plan.

  • Is this public appearances at high-profile charity or culinary events, media interviews or through social media platforms?
  • Can you partner or co-brand with vendors or a supplier in some fashion?
  • Is writing a book or creating an online collection of recipes part of your strategy?

For more ideas on personal branding, check out Brain Tattoos, my first book. I dedicate an entire chapter to personal branding.

4) Assemble and use “on brand” tools.

  • A professional photo.
  • A short bio.
  • A longer bio.
  • Social media accounts with branded visuals and content.
  • Content that can be re purposed (recipes, food prep tips, etc.).
  • A consistent and unique uniform or dress look that the public remembers.
  • A business card for the chef.

5) Leverage the chef’s success and status.

  • Feature their activities, milestones and PR on the restaurant’s web site.
  • Seed these same links and copy points on social media outlets.
  • Incorporate your chef into the storytelling via your menu copy.
  • Make the chef visible during the restaurant dining experience, whether they walk through the dining room and say hello or you create a video showcase with the chef in the restrooms.

Till next time, Brand on!

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