How to rebrand your business in the hospitality industry

Is it time for a complete overhaul of your café, restaurant or bar? Renae Smith discusses how to rebrand your business safely and strategically.

There’s no denying it: the times they are a-changin’.

The hospitality industry has evolved significantly in the past few years thanks to the changes in technology, both in terms of the shift in mindset when it comes to dining out and the general changes to the industry overall.

While creating your restaurant and growing it into a recognisable brand was probably the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done, at a certain stage you might look around and decide you’re in need to a rebrand.

READ: 4 steps to develop a beautiful brand identity for your hospitality business

In this article, we discuss the top reasons to consider rebranding, and then the best ways to approach each part of a rebrand to make sure you set yourself up for success.


Is it time to rebrand?


Monitoring your financials regularly is vital for understanding your business growth. If you’ve been comparing your financials each year and are noticing that you’re in a bit of a ‘growth rut’, it could be time for a rebrand.

When issues arise with stagnant financials, it’s important to consider things like your current pricing and the ways your brand might be hindering any increases, the quality of staff you’re attracting, the result of any bad PR you’ve had, or working out falling sales figures during certain service times or on certain products.

On the flip side, your financials could also show that you’re experiencing growth, but that you feel like this growth has caused you to outgrow your current brand, or that your new customer base requires you update your overall ‘look’.

Whatever the reason, if you’re feeling stuck, it could be time to consider changing things up.


Commit to a total change


A common phrase used among marketers is ‘brand boredom.’ When we look at our own brands day after day, we can often get bored with them and wrongly assume they need to be changed or refreshed to keep them interesting.

We often get these ideas after we see larger brands undergoing a change and then decide that we should follow suit. It’s important to remember that a simple logo change or ‘brand facelift’ is not the definition of a successful company rebrand. In fact, when larger companies update their logo, it’s often a reflection of a broader, renewed stance or company concept.

Logos are a very small part of your overall brand identity and unless you address your entire identity, this exercise could actually cause more problems than it solves.


Identify your identity


Sometimes, it’s best to call in the experts. Consulting with a brand identity or business development specialist in your specific industry will ensure you get the most from your money.

An expert will help you take a holistic approach and discuss the brand direction, the core themes of the business, the projections for the business over the next five years and the desired customer base. Using all these elements, it’s then possible to identify where the current brand doesn’t meet the requirements and a solution for a new brand can be worked on.

READ: Using brand collaborations to give your hospitality business a boost

This will include everything from the company statement and mission statement to the logo, website and even the type of staff you hire and the way they interact with the customer.

When undergoing a brand refresh, Lotus Dining Group in Sydney hired my company, The Atticism, to help. We worked with Lotus to define each area of the brand and created a cohesive profile for each venue. This included everything from the history of the brand, the brand’s personality, the customer profile, the dining experience and even the type of staff that best reflected the company.

Armed with this information, Lotus were able to bring their existing venues further in line with the group’s overall vision and address certain venues that were identified as being out-of-sync with the way they wanted to move forward as a company.

Once your brand identity is defined and laid out in a cohesive document, it’s very easy to roll out changes across all other items such as websites, logos, menus and in-venue materials.


Monitor the situation


With any change in business, it’s essential to monitor how the changes have affected your growth potential. After giving your company some time for the new brand to settle in and to be amplified with media and consumer activity, check in with your financials.

Are the issues you previously identified being rectified? Are you seeing growth in key areas financially? Is the feedback from the customers positive?

READ: Celebrity chef Diana Chan’s recipe for success in hospitality

Keeping a close eye on your financials is paramount to understanding the health of your business overall and working what works, and what doesn’t. With a solid plan, a rebrand can be the answer to getting your business out of a rut and onto a solid rise.

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