ITS-Food: Food Photographer discusses RESTAURANT specific branding and its importance

NANAIMO – Your brand differentiates you from your competitors. Your brand is created from who you are, who you want to be and how customers perceive you to be. Branding is your communication of the restaurant’s ‘personality’. It is portrayed through logo, menu’s, staff uniforms, website and social media. Branding includes the people and the atmosphere that is created. The restaurant that thrives makes a commitment to controlling, fostering and promoting their ‘brand’.

there is a difference between marketing and branding

A brand will help encourage someone to buy a product, and it directly supports whatever sales or marketing activities, but the brand does not just say “buy me.” Instead, it says “This is what I am. This is why I exist. This is my personality, if you like me, buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.”

Marketing is actively promoting a product or service. It’s a push tactic. It’s pushing out a message to get sales results: buy this product because of these features, or the cost.

Marketing may convince you to buy a particular Jeep, but it is the brand that will determine if you will only buy “jeeps” for the rest of your life.

strategies for creating, developing and execution of a brand

If you are having difficulty articulating what your brand is, or the words and phrases used to describe your brand, start with ten words or phrases that defines the restaurant. These words will be the groundwork to build the framework. Do this early in the planning, it helps with focus and clarity and reduces doing things that will have to be changed later.

Inspiration is Everywhere

The process is not about duplicating other restaurants, it is about developing the thousand details that make up the brand that will eventually be unique to your restaurant. The inspiration and ideas come from other businesses, not just other restaurants. It comes from family, personal experience, suppliers and customers, just about anywhere. It may come from other people’s restaurants, being part of another brand and deciding what you liked and did not like.

It is Visual

Invest time early on, into defining how you want your brand to look and feel. It will save you money and frustration later on. Owners, investors and Management will have to agree on the brand, they will have to agree on exactly what it is and what it is not. Chalkboards help create and formulate almost every component of the brand – food, uniforms, interior design, colours, table settings, dishes etc. When done at the planning stage it makes it clear on how the restaurant is to look and feel.

Invest in key points

Experience has taught us that logo, Website, photography, menu design, and social media are items worth investing in. High quality, on-brand photography will be critical for your website, your social media and your advertising. It is a resource you can go back to time and time again leading up to opening and many years after. An image can capture emotion and personality that words cannot and branding is much more than just words. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’.

Hire the help

Depending on the size and experience of your team, you may have a lot of talent internally. Your team may be able to do some of the branding work. It will help the team buy in if they are involved and saves you cash flow. There are items you should get help with, and it is important that you acknowledge that. Companies that are dedicated to branding development and will walk you through the process. They will design elements like logo, menu’s, website, and social media styling. Your brand has to feel clear, consistent, homogenous, communicable and well constructed to portray the personality of the restaurant.

brand is everything

When it comes to your brand, everything is incorporated into it. We have all heard of the customer experience, everything the customer hears, sees, tastes and smells builds that customer experience and their perception of your business, your “brand”.

Interior design

Everything your client sees is part of your brand. Most people know that flatware, linens, glassware, and plates, as well as fixtures and furniture all have to balance with the type of food being served. Customers need to enjoy the ‘experience’, not just the food and drink. The experience and ambiance is derived from the execution of the branding.


People who believe in your brand will be more genuine, will interact with customers better and will help carry your branding to the table. Find the right people to create the right environment. If your branding focuses on sustainable farming and local sourcing, hire people who share that belief.


Look around and you will see how your staff dresses can make a huge impact on how customers see your business. Fine dining requires properly tailored uniforms that must be kept clean. If uniforms are sloppy and not clean, that says a lot about your restaurant and product.


Staff members don’t play their favourite music! Branding cultivates an environment that makes guests feel part of the experience and that extends to the music. For fast moving hipster style, the music is usually nontraditional and turns up the volume. It is important to set the volume to the atmosphere. The same applies to staff, no yelling and make sure your staff understands that ‘someone’ is always listening.

Social Media

Social media is a tremendous vehicle for your branding. It can be one of your greatest assets for reaching out, so it is VERY important it is managed correctly. When it comes to your clientele, not everyone uses the same social media so it is important you use all of the tools available. Social media should be in unison with your website, your design and messaging. Your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are great vehicles to drive your branding, it is imperative they are all taking you to the same destination. One key way is frequent placement of your logo, highlights of the menu and liberal use of top quality images. Make sure there is a clear connection between photos and that all your social media relates to your branding. Whoever manages your social media should have an intimate understanding of your branding and it must be visually stimulating.


Remember these three key points:

Be consistent

This is the priority tip. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail. Every interaction with staff and clientele will be impacted by your brand.

Prioritize your Social Media

This is the most powerful marketing tools around. Implement a strategy that compliments your brand. Use it to reach out to your clientele, use it to develop new customers.

Invest in brand touchpoints

Your website, menu design, logo, photography and social media are powerful items. Your guests will only have one first impression, make sure you get it right! Your customers have formulated that first impression before they even arrive at your door. Now it is time to deliver!

To learn more visit the company’s website at:

Written by David Holmes 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s