The UAE restaurant industry is not only fast-paced but also extremely competitive. The success of any F&B brand depends on many factors, one of the most critical, being the ability to adapt and evolve. Without introducing changes, growth for any brand will eventually diminish, as
existing clientele sales reduce and there is a lack of new interest. Rebranding a restaurant is one way to revive the business by bringing a fresh new concept and fresh ideas to the market. While one of the key targets of rebranding may be to boost sales, one also needs to think about the broader benefits of rebranding. By better understanding the market trends and consumer preferences, and aligning the concept towards that, the business will not only benefit from added loyalty of its existing consumer base, but will stand a better chance to outshine its competition and possibly convert some of their customers into its own. It will also allow the brand to attract better talent. In this article we highlight the top things to keep in mind to successfully complete the rebrand, which requires several factors to be considered from a conceptual as well as a financial point of view.
1. Know Your Restaurant: Understand the current state of your restaurant – you cannot find a solution if you don’t identify the problem. Review your sales trends, monthly budgets, customer feedback, staff experiences, and competitor perception. Use this knowledge to set specific goals for the rebrand and what changes need to be implemented. Enhance what’s working and improve what’s not.
2. Be Aware of Your Audience: Along with understanding the dynamics of your restaurant, it is imperative to study your audience. Keep in mind, your audience is not limited to your existing customer base, but other potential individuals within your area of operation as well. When setting your new goals ensure you are clear about the key attributes of your largest prospective customer base including age, income, gender and nationality. Your audience also includes other F&B operators in the segment or vicinity i.e. direct or indirect competitors, who will always keep a close eye on the success of your business in an effort to regain any of their lost customers.
3. Differentiate: Examine the competitive landscape and know how you are positioned within your segment. Your goal should be to identify elements that need to change to help make you surpass your competitors. This not only includes recognizing your strengths and finding ways to highlight those, but also listing your weaknesses so as to implement measures that enable you to make improvements for the health of the business. Explore new opportunities such as diversifying your revenue stream or investing in an aggressive marketing campaign. Keep an eye on the latest trends and incorporate what fits in within your new set of goals.
4. Utilize Feedback Effectively: One of the most common mistakes made by restauranteurs is creating a concept and offering products that appeal to them, instead of thinking about what appeals to the broader target audience. Before diving deep in the rebrand, gather as much feedback from both consumers and staff. Assess the existing perception your customers have of the brand to know what needs to change. Get feedback about the concept, the interiors, the menu, the service, the pricing and any other information about the overall customer experience.
5. Listen To Your Staff: Get feedback and suggestions from the staff – they are on the ground, in direct contact with the customer and know the pulse of business first hand. Involving them in the rebranding exercise will guide you in the right direction as to what customers expect. More importantly, it will help boost staff morale knowing that their opinions matter and are being incorporated, resulting in a more positive and self- motivating work environment.
6. Revisit the Menu: Any restaurant rebrand would be incomplete without making changes to the menu. When a customer sees an upgrade to the brand and concept along with the interiors, they expect to have an improved dining experience as well with new menu items. You might or might not need to completely redo your menu. Conduct a menu engineering exercise to decide which products to retain and which to let go and to streamline the menu from a profitability, as well as a supply chain perspective. Keep in mind the new vision and concept, but also study local and international food trends, and introduce menu items accordingly.
7. Engage in Aggressive Marketing: With all the effort being put into bringing a new concept to the market, it goes without saying that a notable investment must be made towards marketing. This is critical to ensure the audience is aware of the new experience they can expect both in terms of dining and ambience. Explore multiple channels and platforms to ensure a large target audience is reached for the campaigns to be effective and provide a good return on investment. At the same time, stay active on the social media platforms that your customers use most frequently. Consider hosting a launch event and inviting local celebrities and / or media personnel to get maximum coverage and attract new consumers. Rebranding a restaurant requires careful planning and budgeting, but, if done correctly, can help stimulate business growth. Keeping a restaurant relevant has become key for survival in today’s F&B culture. Ribbon Consulting can devise a detailed strategy and provide a clear roadmap to complete a restaurant rebranding exercise including market research, competition analysis, branding, product development, interior upgrades and marketing support.