Multi-concept restaurant groups have a distinct advantage in the market. They can cater to a broader audience by providing a variety of culinary experiences, from casual dining to fine dining, fusion cuisine to traditional fare. This diversity enables them to capture a larger share of the dining market and appeal to different customer preferences.
Operationally, this diverse structure allows for sharing of processes across concepts to more efficiently test changes and implement new procedures in the service and menus.
Marketing multi-concept restaurant groups is a dynamic endeavor that demands creativity, strategy, and a deep understanding of customer preferences. By crafting a strong brand identity under each concept, implementing targeted marketing strategies, and staying attuned to industry trends, each location can thrive publicly with individuality while capitalizing on the resources a network provides internally.
Let’s explore three fundamental brand practices that can be followed across concepts or locations.
ONE: BECOME BRAND COHESIVE
MAKE IT KNOWN YOU ARE A PORTFOLIO OF PEOPLE AND EXPERIENCES. THIS IS HUGE. We are often delighted to discover that some of our favorite dining experiences are tied together. The kicker, though, this discovery is typically a surprise provided by word of mouth or stumbling upon a website’s footer to see multiple logos.
While each restaurant within the group may have a unique concept, it’s essential to maintain brand cohesion. Create a robust and overarching brand position that connects all the restaurants. This can be achieved through consistently practical branding elements that reflect the group’s values and vision, such as logos, decor, menus, marketing frequencies, and mission statements. These items do not need to match literally; however, they should convey the same quality, functionality, and attention to detail while maintaining individual personalities.
On average, it takes seven impressions of a visual brand for viewers to retain it, let alone take action. Consider all the mediums and platforms potential patrons have to research and follow your concepts. Suppose each does not have connective tissue in their visual quality and consistency. In that case, it is much harder for viewers to remember one cohesive message from one or multiple restaurant concepts.
TWO: DON’T IGNORE YOUR WEBSITE
There can be a significant disconnect for online viewers when individual concepts within the same portfolio have varying quality scales and experiences on the respective websites. This can be remedied by building one robust site as a theme or template that can be customized with each concept’s imagery, menus, and content. The structure, functionality, and user experience remain the same across each concept; this aids viewers greatly in associating the group as being in the same family and builds trust through ease of use.
As diners and designers, we feel that features like menus are a woefully ignored aspect of a restaurant website. They are often added as image attachments or downloads, causing issues with readability and accessibility. While this may seem trivial, a menu is the top item a viewer comes to a restaurant site to see, so make sure they can find it and absorb it across all concept sites consistently.
Build a consistent and ever-evolving photography catalog across concepts. Again, this is another advantage to the multi-concept platform; you can pool resources and talent from photographers and designers to build a replicable brand style. Viewers seeing similarly styles and quality in photography and design helps them visually associate that style with a specific concept and, ultimately, a portfolio.
THREE: USE ANALYTICS
IT IS OK TO REVEAL YOUR BLIND SPOTS. Restaurant analytics can place every bit of data available into a single, coherent storyline, which can be shared across concepts. Aspects like food waste, preferred payment methods, menu trends, waiting times, reservations, customer reviews, and countless other statistics can be combined and translated into actionable insights. This information can be generated using tools like your P.O.S., employee surveys, Google Analytics, heat mapping, social media analytics and engagement, and various review platforms like Yelp.
“I turned down a restaurant rebrand project because the reasoning behind it was high staff turnover, poor reviews, and an out-dated menu. Knowing the role your branding plays in the overall picture is key. It can bring much clarity, however can not mask operational problems.”
– Paul Mitchell, Founder Saint Emblem
Bring it together.
Success lies in the ability to offer diverse culinary experiences while maintaining a unified brand image that resonates with diners. The mission, values, and commitment to service are the brand and having a cohesive marketing and brand platform established across concepts pools knowledge, resources, and ultimately can save time and money.