I recently gave an interview for Foodable TV about how to build a brand. You can create a brand that competes or one that dominates the market. The choice is yours. Follow this formula if you want to make your brand stand out in the market!
Here are the questions and my answers from that interview:
Q: Can you explain the difference between competing and dominating the market?
A: In the restaurant market today, you probably see that the waters have changed. Easy pickings of yesterday have been replaced with a steady stream of more restaurants and bars opening in your market and taking your staff and your guest. In business strategy, there is a common theory referred to as Red Ocean and Blue Ocean strategy. In the Red Ocean, the water is saturated with intense competition in the market cannibalizes itself. You’re in a category called average. And that’s the same as being referred to as a commodity. Now, out on the horizon, water is calm, clear, and blue. There is very...
Culture. You've heard that word before. Contrary to what some believe it's not an urban myth. Culture is the lifeblood of your restaurant and bar. It's a beacon that sends a vibe to those that like the message your culture sends out. It's like your own personal bat signal for your brand. So yes, it's a big deal.
Describe Your Culture
Here's where we run into the problem. Culture is hard to describe because it's more of a feeling. Even now as you think about how to describe your culture, you probably struggled or searched for the right words. The part of your brain (the limbic system) that handles those messy emotions has a hard time expressing them. That part is taken over by the Neocortex, which has an easier time rationalizing what you are feeling into language.
So don't feel bad if you have a hard time describing your culture. It's common. Look at those feelings and tap into those emotions. The key to culture can be summed up in two words: core values (are you having...
Is the sea of restaurant options out there does your brand stand out? So many fail to capture the attention of their guests and just blend in with the many. The main reason is that they send mixed messages about who they are. Listen, when you are confused about who you are and what you stand for, how do you think your market will react to you? Lukewarm at best. Sure, new guests might stop in out of curiosity. If you don't deliver a solid message, they won't be back.
Let's explore some common mixed message mistakes and a 3 step plan to correct course:
Your sign out front, your website, and Yelp all say you're an Italian restaurant. Yet when guests come in and see your menu you can tell by the look on their face that they are confused. Asian Chicken Wings? Baja Fish Tacos? Bacon Wrapped Filet with French Demi Glacé? Oh, and in the corner 4 pasta dishes. Hmmm. What is going on here? You say Italian in all your marketing and when they get there, very little Italian...
You know the name. The Austrian born chef came to the United States in 1973 where he worked at La Tour Restaurant in Indianapolis. He moved to LA in 1975 and quickly became the chef to the Hollywood elite. From his renown restaurant Spago, he has built an empire. Was it luck or well executed branding?
To work inside the organization is demanding. Wolf and his team expect the best from everyone and all times. There is no measure for error and nothing is left to chance. Recipes are developed, tested, and retested until they meet the expectations of Wolfgang and Lee Hefter his executive corporate chef for over 25 years.
If you can take in the message behind the obsession for perfection, you’ll see a brand that at its core has some key elements to its success. If you work in an organization like that you can walk away with a PhD in branding. You just need to open your eyes to the lessons found in everyday activities.
Always Protect the Brand
This should be the mantra of every...
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