Quick Guide: How do I Brand a Cafe?

cafe interior

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Branding is important for cafes and restaurants. Creating an irresistible brand is as important as creating an irresistible coffee for your patrons. Branding helps you stand out and outdo your competition.

We know it can be a daunting task to brand your new café or restaurant and work through the process of figuring out the best way to reach your target audience in a way that reflects and unites your values with your practices. We've put together a quick guide to help you get started and continue your branding exercise.

As a global provider of hospitality shade, we have worked with plenty of start-up cafes, restaurants and resorts to improve their shade offering and branding. We've put together a collection of learnings that you can take forward on your journey.

1. The Basics

A strong foundation in branding is important to growing any business and hospitality is no different. It's one of the most important aspects of your entire business.

Branding isn't a logo, or a website or some t-shirts.

Branding is a projected feeling, look and image that reflects your values.

Target Audience

cafe interior

Photo by Igor Starkov from Pexels

You'll hear "target audience" or "target market" far too much from experts and it can become overwhelming but it is the most important part of branding.

In order to develop branding that appeals to your target market, you need to dive deep into your core values and understand what story you want to tell them. People are predisposed to stories and designing your space with a message, or a feeling, in mind will get you to where you need to be.

Tell your brand story through:

- Lighting - Coffee styles
- Menu design - Colour schemes
- Menu content - Audiological experience

From there you can build out your logo, name, website and t-shirts.

2. Differentiate

Your café or restaurant needs to be different. This should be an obvious statement of fact, setting up a "unique selling proposition" is one of the first tasks in your business plan and it's not just for filling in a box, it's a great grounding for the future.

What makes your café different and how is that designed to make people feel when they visit your establishment?  Understanding your target audience will get you a leg up in this process so ensure as part of your branding exercise you do customer research and understand how those whom you want to dine in; dine in.

3. What is the role of café branding?

custom branded example

When done the right way,  café branding will appeal to your target audience on a mental and emotional level. Your establishment will be memorable with your patrons.

This way, when people think about coffee and culture - they'll think of you.

Be consistent in your marketing and branding. If you're chopping and changing throughout the lifetime of your café you run the risk of confusing your potential customers. This will affect the subconscious feelings of your customers leading to them choosing to dine elsewhere. If you're not sure of who you are, then how can your customers be sure of what they're buying?

Creating an outdoor space at your café is an important aspect of any new café plan. It is an integral part of creating a welcoming space. Think about the first area that fills up on a warm day at any café - it's the outdoor area. Your patrons will be reluctant to fill the interior when there's space on the exterior. This outdoor space whether it's a backyard beer garden or front-facing laneway or alfresco dining space will be essential and iconic to your café.

Branded umbrellas will create an outstanding space. Branding doesn't have to be logos printed on umbrellas, you can also choose a selection of colours that match your style and the feeling you want to portray.

4. Where to use your branding?

cafe interiorSo you've designed and developed a great brand. The next question you've got to answer is...What is the best way to use this brand to bring in the customers and turnover I need?

Here's a checklist:

- Menus - Shopfront
- Napkins / Mugs - Wall Art
- Umbrellas - Lighting

5. The Guest Experience

What it all comes down to is a great guest experience. This is how you generate word of mouth and viral marketing returns - create a space, brand and feel that you would want to be associated with and be a customer of. A place that you would want to invite your friends too.  Keep this at the front of your mind when you're branding and building your cafe.

We've created a great resource to help you design and develop your outdoor space at your new cafe so why don't you check it out?

You can download an exclusive ebook with plenty of great information about cafe and restaurant design.

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