In today’s competitive food-away-from-home environment, building brand loyalty is key. To increase repeat visits, operators have to provide the perfect combination of great food, great value and great service. Beyond that, they have to find a way to truly resonate with their patrons. They can do this by sharing their stories, moving past sales-focused communication and creating a deeper connection that keeps customers coming back again and again.
There are many areas where brand storytelling can come to life. An operation’s menu, website and social media channels are all great places to add personality with parts of your background. Use these tips as you give insights into what goes on behind the scenes of your business:
- It’s important to think about diners’ perceptions of your brand—not just your own. Make sure the story you’re telling will mean something to them. Be receptive to their feedback, and make adjustments as needed.
- Not sure where to start? Explain why you became part of the foodservice industry, how your chef came up with the recipe for a signature menu item and what type of people you want on your staff. Revealing the reasons behind your work makes it more personal and makes you and your employees seem more relatable.
- When you describe your brand as a whole, focus on a few key elements that sum up its essence and set you apart from competitors. These should state the purpose your company serves and be the basis for the decisions you make.
- With that identity as a foundation, you can reinforce it in endless ways. There are opportunities to remind others what you stand for through descriptions of the dishes you serve, employee uniforms and serveware with your logo and motto, and the ways you interact with patrons in person and online.
- Highlight your ties to charitable organizations, partnerships with local companies or anything else you do to support causes that matter to you. This can be an effective way to establish common ground and develop trust.
Wirth, Sara Rush. 7 Tips to Tell Your Brand Story the Chipotle Way, Restaurant Business, October 2015.
3 reasons to add storytelling to your marketing mix, National Restaurant Association, April 2016.
Yohn, Denise Lee. The Art of Social Storytelling, QSR, June 2015.