Dining & Designing II: Branding for Better

Restaurants and cafes are about the food and beverages, period.

You don’t really care about much else when the food at your chosen eatery is great, or so you think! Although there are few examples of brands that connect with their customers beyond their transactional nature of dining and here’s your bill, it would do some good to know that brand-building in the F&B industry entails so much more.

Just one thing. That’s all that counts.

To remain a viable business in the era of sky-high rentals and rapidly changing trends, we must connect with our users on a singular very important issue – one that allows them to evangelize our brand. We have to back up our brand’s spokespeople by constantly delivering and innovating on that one promise that we make.

Let’s take the example of Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters, who have persistently been unequivocal on their promise to offer Single Estate Arabica from Indian farms. They engage you while serving as well as teaching you how to brew these coffees. They send out regular emailers when they launch new blends or introduce new farms. Their social media, among other things, constantly creates a product aspiration and addresses various brewing methods – allowing those who care to form their base of loyal followers. These followers in turn become their purveyors of the one strong issue to connect on. Today, as they grow to multiple cities, they don’t waver when it comes to delivering on their one brand promise – freshly roasted single estate Arabica beans which make for excellent coffee.

When you know what you sell, customers also know what they buy.

We must develop a relationship with our audiences that could build truly valuable businesses, regardless of whether it’s a coffee shop, ramen bar or nightclub.

While maintaining a consistent offering we realize that our customers start noticing the smallest changes in our efforts – menu, ambiance, or service. This is a sign that you are recognized for what matters. They are connected with us, they care if we shut shop. Ask anybody who’s shut down their food business if they could pin-point why their customers cared for them or rather, even if they did at all – their answer will not surprise you.

We all have a few bucks to offer as guests at a restaurant or coffee shop but it’s our care that is the reward. If customers share their already fought for two-fucks, then they’d truly be disappointed if they’re unable to visit our loved places. We’d be amiss to not reiterate that no one would truly care if they could not develop a strong connection with your brand – and the only way to develop that is to have an offering that is deserving of care, an experience that allows your customers to feel grateful that you took the effort to open this much-needed space. If you’re not hearing that enough, then maybe you’re doing nothing worthy of their care or you’re unable to make it matter enough. 

Restaurants and cafes are about the food and beverages when you’ve subtly designed and deliberated every experience your guest may have, period.

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