In the world of foodservice, brand is a word we hear and use everyday. Restaurants have to build their brand, protect their brand and strengthen their brand. But do you always know what you are focusing on when you talk about your brand?

By using the word brand, do you mean the image, as in the colors, design or logo that represents your restaurant? Are referring to brand as the atmosphere and experience provided — young and hip or family style — or your concept — fresh salads, sports bar, pizza joint?

Most restaurateurs would accurately say it’s all of this. Your “brand” is everything that distinguishes your establishment from every other dining option. It is the multi-dimensional ‘personality’ of your business. However, many restaurants forget the part of branding that is focused internally.

To attract top talent, restaurants also need to brand their culture. Having a strong brand that represents your company's mission and values, encourages your staff to act on those values. If employees see your company as being representative of a service-oriented brand, they perform at a higher level. Your “culture brand” makes a difference, not only to your staff but also to your diners.

Scott Bedbury, the man behind Nike’s “Just Do It” and the rebranding of Starbucks, and author of A Brand New World: Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the Twenty-First Century, was quoted saying, "A great brand raises the bar — it adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience, whether it's the challenge to do your best in sports and fitness, or the affirmation that the cup of coffee you're drinking really matters."

The value placed on your “culture brand” sets an expectation and directly affects the way your team performs. Let’s say your new hire, McKenzie, arrives the first day and the manager gives her a pile of paperwork to complete. She is then handed off to a training buddy who seems hassled by the inexperienced new kid. If work continues on this path, it is unlikely McKenzie will feel connected to the restaurant or invested in the service she is providing.

Now, let’s look at the opposite scenario. Imagine McKenzie being greeted by a smiling manager who tells her about the kind of dining experience your restaurant strives to provide to each customer. Hopefully McKenzie has heard how great the service is and read the online reviews. Then her training buddy tells her how supportive the rest of the staff is and walks her through the basics. In this scenario, McKenzie smiles a little more brightly when she puts on her 'black polo with the embroidered logo.’ Why? Because she knows the brand she represents and feels part of team.

To reach that type of brand empowerment, you need to take a look at your culture and reputation. Decide how you want your restaurant to be perceived and make sure your team knows. If you’re Dick’s Last Resort, then your team is allowed to mock customers, cut up and push some limits. If you’re Moe’s Southwest Grill, you greet every customer and smile as you quickly get people through the assembly line.

Making brand ambassadors out of your staff should be an important part of your culture. If your employees aren't “sold” on the restaurant, why should customers be? The more you can engage employees, the more improvement you see in retention, training ROI and most importantly the increased likelihood your diners have an exceptional experience.

From tagline to taste … defining culture around your brand empowers your team, and when it comes down to it, your people really do matter. 

Views: 144


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service