Rebranding your restaurant is sometimes necessary to reflect changes, keep your restaurant relevant and competitive, or to reposition it for a bigger share of the market.
Whatever the reason, there are ways to go about it to lessen the risk of turning off loyal customers.
Here are some tips on rebranding to hit the mark and retain customer trust.
Do Your Research
Gather information from as many sources as you can to help you maximize your rebranding efforts and reduce your risk of losing customers.
Ask Customers. Grubhub suggests surveying your customers for feedback. Use comment cards, or a simple online poll to pinpoint customers’ needs, while giving them a heads up.
Analyze Competition. Check out your competition for inspiration. How are they positioning themselves in the market? Are they aligning their brand properly with their customers? How can you differentiate?
Identify Your Vision
Along with the research you’ve gleaned from customers and competitors, start to hash out what your vision for your restaurant is.
Do some soul searching. Consider the following questions (and more) to help you bring your vision into focus:
What is the restaurant’s personality?
Who are our customers and what matters most to them?
How do we fit their lifestyle?
How is your existing brand identity aligning with these values (or not)?
Write it down. Based on the discoveries you’ve made so far, write down your vision and how you intend to represent that through your brand. Grubhub calls it a “summary document,” in which you specify what the rebranding project’s specific objectives are. Keep in mind, this is a work in progress.
Bring Staff into the Fold
With your summary document in hand, bring in your staff to get their feedback and any suggestions they may have to perfect it.
Fact-check. Your staff is uniquely qualified to help you shape your rebranding strategy. They’ll also be able to help you tweak anything that doesn’t ring true to the customers they interact with every day.
Encourage Buy-in. Grubhub suggests gathering everyone for a company-wide meeting to make the announcement and get the dialogue and excitement going. If you involved them in the initial stages they will be much more engaged in helping make the rebrand a success.
Plan It Out
On a whiteboard or spreadsheet, create a project plan with actionable steps based on your overall vision and the research you’ve done.
Tasks. These might include: making your website mobile-friendly, integrating an online food-delivery platform like Grubhub, updating your logo and tagline, creating printed announcements and posts, and more.
Responsibility. Assign a responsible party or point person for each task.
Deadlines. Start with a projected launch day and establish status checkpoints and task deadlines based on that.
Create an image that your restaurant can follow through on.
Keep it Real. Your branding needs to reflect what is inherently true about your restaurant.
Showcase Your Strengths. Bring awesome and unique aspects of your restaurant to the forefront.
Begin a New Conversation. Tell the story of how your brand fits into your customers’ lifestyle.
A good communication strategy prepares customers for your rebranding launch, while building excitement.
Be transparent. Explain what you are doing and why. Post behind-the-scenes social media updates, have a dedicated page on your website, drop printed cards into delivery and take-out bags, and more.
Promote repeatedly. People are busy and may not catch an announcement if you send it out only once. Schedule multiple communication blasts (without being obnoxious) throughout the process to inform and build anticipation.
Celebrate. Create a party around you rebrand launch. Offer specials, run contests and more to encourage people to get engaged, boost business, and share their own posts and pictures.
By following these tips, you’ll strengthen the bond you have with loyal customers while attracting new ones!