Your establishment could have everything going for it — attentive, genuine staff; delicious, consistent food — but maybe there's been a lull in the influx of new customers, or maybe you're contemplating opening up another location. Refreshing your brand identity is just the ticket to get business booming again.

After all, branding is your first impression — how you present yourself to potential customers you want to win over. Everything from your logo, to takeout packaging, to social media presence can make a powerful impact, so it's important to consider all parts of the whole.

There’s no need to go changing who you are completely — in fact, it’s important to do the opposite. The key to successful branding is to focus on what makes you uniquely YOU, then build around that. With help from steps like these, you can give your brand a makeover that will keep your loyal regulars happy, while enticing a whole slew of new guests.

Define Your Identity

You can't promote what you don't define. To establish a solid foundation for your brand, think about why you started the business in the first place. If there's a story to tell, tell it. People tend to buy stories, not just products.

Maybe it all started with your great-grandmother's scone recipe that was passed down through generations. Frame pictures of her to place on your walls. Hunt for vintage cutlery and vintage linens to use instead of the same shiny sheets they're using down the street. Serve coffee in delicate teacups your great-grandmother would have used. Start with "why," and you'll find your identity — and ways to incorporate it — quickly.

Mind the Mission

What are your values as a business owner? Listing the core values that encompass your brand will help you craft a solid, defined mission statement. If you've never had a clear statement of who you are as a business, your brand might be all over the place, even lacking cohesiveness and focus.

Maybe you feel strongly about protecting the environment and lessening your establishment's impact. Consider incorporating a more earthy color palette for your logo and integrate the exact same scheme into your website and printed items. Order sustainably sourced fish and seafood and make sure to highlight this on your menus and online promotions. Replace foam to-go containers with completely compostable packaging. By choosing just ONE thing you value, you can make changes that align toward a more focused brand.

Be Social Savvy

For a vast majority, going out now means going to their phones first. If you're not super savvy with social media, that's okay! It's an ever-evolving algorithm that is so essential to success — yet so time-consuming — managing social media is indeed now a common full-time job.

Therein lies the secret: You don't have the necessary time it takes to dedicate to posting, replying to comments, creating engaging reels, and sharing stories throughout the day, but you know who might? Your Gen Z staff who is spending time on TikTok anyway. Engage your younger staff by paying them extra to create content while at work. They'll have fun piecing together clips of cocktails being poured, behind-the-scenes kitchen footage, and happy folks living it up during Happy Hour. They are well-versed enough in the platforms to know which trending audio will get you more views and which layout techniques are so last month.

Consider the Competition

If you want your brand to stand apart from the competition, you need to know what the competition is up to. It sounds straightforward, but the first step is identifying your competitors. If you run a bakery, you don't necessarily need to be concerned with the burger joint across the street, but that coffee shop two blocks away that just opened? Add them to your list.

Next, analyze them in terms of the "four Ps" — product, price, place, and promotion. Compare their products and price to your own. For instance, how is their quality? What discounts do they offer? Next, look at place — What is their geographic reach? Are they branching out to online sales and reaching more? Could you do the same? Lastly, promotion — what marketing tactics are they employing? How does their social media grid look? Which of their reels has the most views?

By looking at your competition, you can see where you may need to improve and where you already have the advantage. Remember, the most important aspect of your brand is that you remain credible and — most of all — authentic. Keep your finger on who you truly are, and your brand refresh will succeed.

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