Design is a crucial part of any growing restaurant. Depending on the goals you have for building a customer base, design can drastically improve the number of customers coming through your doors. Of course you need to have delicious food and stellar customer service first to keep them coming back.
What will you need to help your restaurant’s designs succeed?
Here are a few items to get your restaurant’s design headed in the right direction.
1| Effective Logo
Having a poorly designed identity can hinder your business’ growth. Restaurants are heavily focused on presentation right? So you want your restaurant to look it’s best, especially when you are not there to vouch for it. Think of a logo as if it were you. Let’s say you were to go out and meet a potential business partner or client. You wouldn’t wear a dirty shirt, torn pants and clown shoes would you? Your business shouldn’t look ridiculous either. A successful logo represents the type, style, class and personality of your restaurant; accurately. You don’t want to look like a rodeo clown and turn away customers before they have a chance to try your food. But why would they want to do that if they were already turned off? You’re probably thinking, “Many customers come in by word-of-mouth in the restaurant business.” And yes, this is true. But, for instance, let’s say you’re planning a trip somewhere and would like to see what restaurants are available in the area. Design is there to say what you need to say about your restaurant, without words. You want to make sure it is saying what you want it to say. The logo should also be unique to you and what you have to offer. Simply to have a nice looking logo isn’t enough to make it successful. You want the mark to scream you and nobody else! It shouldn’t remind you of another company or restaurant. The only place your viewers should think about is your restaurant when seeing your logo around town.
With more and more focus on the web these days, it is important to at least have a simple website setup to represent your business on the web. New technologies such as the iPhone, allow us to find places to eat on the go. One of the popular apps for the iPhone called UrbanSpoon, allows it’s users to simply shake their phone (after choosing the type of food, price and location they desire) and it recommends a restaurant with reviews and a link to their website. Then all the user needs to do is hit call and make a reservation. Simple. Easy. Effective. But, many of the great features to this app aren’t available if you don’t have a website. These technologies aren’t disappearing anytime soon! It’s better to embrace them then to assume word-of-mouth is enough for your business. The easier you make if for your customers to find you online and contact you to make a reservation, the more likely they are going to recommend you to someone else. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to find more specialty types of restaurants online to find out what types of dishes they serve and found nothing but an address and phone number. The reason I like to go to websites when checking out a new restaurant is for photos of the food and a menu (with pricing!) Who wants to try something new without having a clue what the prices are and what the food looks like. The more information the better!
Even if your restaurant isn’t located in an urban area, you’ll want your customers to be able to find out more about you. The truth is, there is a large amount of people who don’t use the yellow pages anymore.
Another great item to have on hand for your customers. Try placing a business card holder on your counter so customers can grab one on their way out. This is also a great reason to have a website. Make sure and include your url on the card and hand it out when you can!
3| Menu Design
How can a successful menu design be beneficial to your restaurant?
When you pick-up a menu, what is the first thing you look for? First, the waitress/waiter is going to ask you what you’d like to drink. So, you’re going to scramble to find the beverages. So, on your menu you don’t want the beverages buried in the middle or in an inconvenient spot. Placement is a key component when it comes to menu design. Are their particular plates you’d like to sell more of? This could be for a few reasons: price, ease of preparation, signature dishes, etc. You want these items to stand out front and foremost! This is another reason having a menu designed professionally can help improve your business. Folks love photos! It often will entice them to buy a particular meal because it looks delicious. But be careful, make sure your food looks as close to the photo as it will be when served. Often more elite restaurants will choose to leave visuals of the dishes out completely. This is because the presentation of their cuisine is part of the experience and they wouldn’t want to spoil it ahead of time. Take all of these items into consideration when planning out a menu design with your designer. Pricing within the menu can be done in a variety of ways. Depending on the type of restaurant and your target market, make sure you have a goal in mind when starting!
Another interesting way to get your restaurant seen into the homes of your customers is by having take home kids menus. Many restaurants utilize this by offering crayons and a coloring page as a menu for children. This is a great way to get your name, number and maybe a coupon on your customer’s fridge.
Take Home Menu/Brochure
Depending again, on the type of restaurant you have, a take-home menu is a great asset to leverage. When you’re sitting at home deciding what to order for dinner or where to make a reservation at, having a menu staring you in the face on the fridge can be a big deciding factor. It is also a great way to tell your story to tourists in a larger city. Many times cities have tourist information buildings or booths offering a place for brochures. Consider looking into these options if you’re smack-dab in the middle of a tourist town.