Building a winning restaurant brand

10 practical tips for building a winning restaurant brand

Published in partnership with Jenny Handley Performance

29 March 2023

With the closure of iconic restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen, and closer to home, the pivoting of restaurants like The Test Kitchen Carbon in Johannesburg and The Pot Luck Club in Cape Town, restaurateurs are reminded that the fine-dining landscape has changed. Change is the one constant in this industry, and they need to make significant changes too.

Change is the one constant in the restaurant industry. – Jenny Handley

There is no doubt that diners want a more relaxed environment without compromising on the cuisine. The best way of pleasing patrons is to keep the food enticing, innovative and downright delicious! Coupled with that – elevated, engaging service by informed, motivated waitrons, ensuring that diners leave and do your marketing for you.

It’s a win-win. Winning awards also attracts diners, as the elevated attention and perceived quality and credibility imply a guarantee of a good experience. So how do you get your restaurant to win awards?

10 tips to assist you in building a winning restaurant brand:

  1. Attract the right staff – hire for a good attitude, and then teach the aptitude.
  2. Be consistent in your offering – you are as good as your last service.
  3. Believe in yourself, if you do not believe in yourself do not expect anyone else to.
  4. Rather than chasing awards aim for excellence, and awards will follow.
  5. When you receive an award or accolade, do not shy away from announcing it, instead proudly communicate it at every opportunity. Put your plate on a wall, use the logo of the award on all marketing material – website, email signatures, social media.
  6. Exhibit professionalism at all levels, when dealing with diners, competitors, staff, suppliers and everyone in-between.
  7. Don’t criticise others or try to make yourself look good by “throwing shade”!
  8. Work out what the world wants – originality and an emphasis on origin – which translates to integrity of ingredient.
  9. Talk about your restaurant in winning words, and ask your patrons what they think about the experience in your restaurant. Act on this information.
  10. Train, train and retrain. Identify your gaps and shortcomings and enlist support to improve your overall offering, from menu presentation to the last moment when your guests leave, ready to tell the world about your award-winning establishment.

Ensure too that your chef has developed a winning profile and brand, as the public want to know the personality behind the restaurant, and top staff want to work with the best in the game.

Jenny Handley Performance

Jenny Handley Performance

Jenny Handley is a brand specialist, speaker and writer. She empowers companies and individuals to build their brands, offering brand strategies, high-performance training and sustainable leadership development in hospitality and other industries. Founder and curator of JHP Gourmet Guide™, SA’s original, respected restaurant rating, it’s the brand that she is the proudest of.

All views and opinions expressed in this article represent that of the author, Jenny Handley, and do not represent that of Dineplan or the companies we work with. While we make every effort to ensure that the information we share is accurate, we welcome any comments, suggestions, or correction of errors.

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