These 6 things are hurting your restaurant’s brand image

Running a restaurant is no mean feat. In fact, it is considered to be one of the toughest businesses out there. As an owner, there are several aspects that need close considerations on a day-to-day basis. Besides, the industry is not only evolving, it’s doing so at an accelerated pace. As a restaurant manager, this can be overwhelming and that means you are bound to make mistakes.

To keep you in check, here are some common errors and oversights that restaurants need to be aware of in order to not jeopardize their brand.

You disregard customer complaints on social media

You got not one, but several complaints on social media, and you paid heed to none! Such ignorance can be lethal to your restaurant's brand image.. Remember that 50% of consumers give a brand only one week to respond to a question and 89% of them will move their business to a competitor following a poor customer experience. So even if you are visiting some isolated corner of Timbuktu, make sure that you respond to all reviews and ratings by customers, especially when there is a negative review.

Not only should you be quick to acknowledge a complaint, but how you respond to it is also crucial. Be a good listener and respond with patience and empathy. Research shows that after having a good customer experience, many people either delete their negative review or post about their positive experience.

You dismiss technology

In just the past few years, several technological solutions have brought unprecedented transformations in the way established restaurants function. There are new technologies for every facet of a restaurant’s daily operations, whether it’s ordering, payment, delivery or loyalty programs.

According to a KPMG report, the future will see the introduction of hi-tech advancements like Google Glass, whereby glass-wearing servers using face recognition technology will quickly locate patrons in crowded bars.

Technology-enabled experiences are the future of the restaurant and any business owner who does not adapt will be left far behind its competitors, only if it does not cease to exist completely. It’s always a big challenge to adapt to such rapid and radical changes, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to lose an opportunity to evolve.

You blindly follow trends

As a restaurant, you must have a well-defined concept right from the beginning and stick to it. A business that is unsure of its core will never be successful because such restaurants will always try to adopt any new trend that comes along in a bid to grab the ‘cool’ tag. Such inconsistencies will leave the customers confused and apathetic towards the brand.

Not every new trend is bound to suit your restaurant brand and you simply cannot be everything to everyone. To understand what trends to adopt and how to adopt them, you should have a clarity of concept, which means, first and foremost, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of who your target audience is.

You aren’t transparent

Transparency has become one of the most important factors in helping customers decide on a brand. For a restaurant, being transparent requires them to be open and honest about things like the ingredient list, supply chain, pricing, corporate culture, sustainability practices, etc.

Apart from this, having transparent pricing is essential for customers to trust your business. Have the same pricing for both offline menu and online menu and make sure it remains the same even at the time of checkout. This will encourage your customers to select your business to place future orders. Providing exciting deals, discounts and offers are other few tricks to boost sales as well.

You don’t have a solid marketing plan

Do you think those Facebook and Instagram posts you’ve been putting thrice a week showcasing your Poke Bowls will get you the attention? Think again! The truth is you are just making a noise and not impact! Millions of other restaurants are also doing the same. But the ones that stand out are the ones that have effective marketing strategies in place. Those are the businesses that are driving millions of visitors on their website every day with an 80% conversion rate.

However, creating a well-thought-out marketing plan requires long hours of researching, developing and executing ideas - something that a restaurant owner may not be well equipped with. This can often lead to carrying out arbitrary marketing campaigns, which are mostly afterthoughts.

However, owners need to realize that the success of a restaurant is defined by more than just palatable dishes. An effective marketing strategy plays a huge role in ensuring profitability and popularity. If you don’t have the time, hire an agency or a consultant to work for you.

Your branding is inconsistent

Imagine when customers interact with you, they form a certain idea about your brand. They return to do business with you a second time but find a completely different experience than the first leading them to be unsure of what values you represent. Therefore consistency is key in keeping up your brand and business.

Being inconsistent with your branding will send out a mixed message to your customers. This will further lead them to distrust your brand. Your communication should be clear and cohesive across all channels—social media, print advertisements, websites, mobile apps, etc.

Furthermore, your branding must be communicated in the food you serve and the services you provide. This will reinforce brand recognition and further bolster your reputation.

Apart from these few mistakes, there are many other that a restaurant owner is ought to make on a regular basis that almost become a habit for the business. Your brand tells what your business is all about. With simple and actionable strategies, you can create a powerful brand recall value.