Consistency in Marketing
As a restaurant with a growing customer base, it’s absolutely crucial to streamline your online & offline presence. Although very common with large chains and restaurants with mega marketing departments, this simple practice is one that seems to get lost in many small to medium-sized businesses. It may not appear to be a huge deal, but consistency is a key psychological component to your brand’s recognition potential.
The following elements should always be represented identically in every instance. This applies to outdoor signage, table signage, print advertising, online advertising, graphics, merchandise, menus, posters, flyers, specials cards, websites, etc.
There are more ways than you think to display hours of operation. Let’s look at a few examples:
M-F: 2-9pm. Weekends: 11am-10pm.
Monday thru Friday, 2PM – 9PM. Saturday & Sunday, 11AM – 10PM.
Two to nine, Mon thru Fri and eleven to ten, Sat thru Sun
These are just a few examples, of course. The combinations and layouts are virtually endless. Will your am/pm touch the time or will there be a space between? Is the am/pm capitalized or lowercase? Do you list each day or present the hours in a sentence? One might argue as long as the information is delivered to the patron, who really cares? The customer cares. Consistency matters.
This is an important one. Whether browsing online of thumbing through the local newspaper ads, a significant number of potential customers are looking for those seven magic numbers. Luckily, there aren’t as many options for displaying this vital piece of information:
Whether you are a parenthesis person or a dash dude, the phone number styling you select must remain consistent throughout all of your marketing efforts including website, business cards, e-mail signature, menu, phone book, online directories, to-go menus, signs, etc. Don’t pick dot separators one day and then start using dashes the next. Heck, we don’t care if you separate your numbers with shamrocks as long as it’s consistent everywhere!
Since we’re on the subject, if your restaurant tends to use a general phrase or call to action next to your phone number, it’s imperative that you set that in stone as well. For instance, perhaps whenever applicable you place something cute like “Call Today and We’ll See You Tonight!” or “Call Now!” Just be mindful to always keep the spelling, wording, punctuation and capitalization of that phrase the same.
There are quite a few variables in the formatting of your business address. Keeping them streamlined and consistent (have we stressed consistency enough yet?) will be enormously helpful to your current and future customers.
123 Candycane Lane
Millford, PA 14053
123 Candycane Lane
(Between 5th / 6th Avenues)
Milford, PA 14053
123 Candycane Lane
Between 5th / 6th Ave
Milford, Pennsylvania 14053
123 Candycane Ln (Btwn 5/6 Ave)
Milford, PA 14053
No matter which physical address format you employ, we always recommend a corner or cross street specification thrown in there somewhere.
Here’s a simple one and keep in mind there will be scenarios, especially on third-party websites, where you may not have control over the display of your website URL. Pretty much the only options are:
A good rule of thumb when it comes to displaying your web address is, shorter is better. If that means removing the “http” and/or the “www” to make your domain name shorter and more memorable, then go for it! Also, capitalizing the first letter of each word can help with readability as well. When doing this, you’ll want to avoid two capital letters next to each other—it just doesn’t hit the eye in a flattering way.
In our line of business, we sometimes see a restaurant that has a different logo on his entrance awning than he does on his menus and napkins and websites. If your business is currently displaying a variety of logo variations from decades of redesigns and clip art printing, this could be an expensive problem to fix. Well worth it, though. When it comes to branding consistency, it’s all about the logo. It’s the single most visual representation of your brand. You want your customers to remember that single logo and recognize it next time they cross its sightlines.
To accomplish this, we recommend splurging on a professional logo designer or web marketing firm. It’s an up-front expense with endless benefit throughout the lifetime of your restaurant. They can offer you file formats that your nephew cannot deliver, which will make future printing on any medium fast & simple for the vendor. The font should never change. Learn what font is used by the designer, obtain that font file and make sure similar fonts aren’t substituted for the sake of convenience in other applications down the road. This is your restaurant. It is a unique destination and deserves a proper, singular logo.
Getting your logo trademarked is a welcome effort. It will prevent others from using the artwork and the “TM” annotation is a professional touch as well.
It’s difficult to get old-fashioned restaurant owners to see the necessity of color commitment. We recommend making every effort to pick 2 or 3 complimentary colors to use throughout the décor, signage and marketing of your establishment. Each color has thousands of shades, opacities, tones and variations. You should learn the exact Pantone number of your selected colors to ensure that particular iteration is used in all printed and display design work.
This section most-likely won’t apply to many readers. However, if your business name has any room for variation, whatsoever, it’s important to keep your preferred standards consistent. And for the rest of you, we don’t need to remind you to ensure your restaurant title is spelled correctly in each and every place it’s listed, do we? Don’t let us find typos!
Pricing & Menus
It’s becoming more and more difficult to ensure your menus are up-to-date across all the various websites, services, apps and aggregators out there, in addition to your own in-house printed version. Obviously, keeping this consistent is a full-time job and we encourage you to just do your best. If someone visits your restaurant hoping to sample a meal you haven’t served in five years, you’ll immediately see the importance of this step. On top of specific menu items being correct & available, it’s also a nice touch if your pricing format is the same across the board. Some use a period or no dollar sign in contrast to the traditional monetary presentation. Whatever you choose, keep it going on your website and on all in-store printed materials.
Our advice here is really just a taste of what should be a dedicated blog post. Your “Corporate Voice” is essentially the personality of your restaurant. Primarily in regards to written content, social media and advertising speak. Is your voice funny or serious? Is your language straightforward or whimsical? Do you refer to yourself as “we” or “I” or “us”? Again, this is a bit of an artform in itself but certainly deserves some consideration when blogging, tweeting, posting or writing of any kind on behalf of your company.
This is silly, right? It can’t possibly matter that much. Well, It does. Fact is, it takes little to no extra time to establish and adhere to simple formatting guidelines for your restaurant. Get your staff together, develop your rules, write them down and stick to it at every opportunity henceforth.
Additionally, there are countless search engine, local map and organic benefits to streamlining your business information. If sites like Google and Bing can be even more certain of who you are and where you’re located, they can better serve your link to those who are looking.