The restaurant industry as a whole is a very mature industry—that is the industry has been around for a long time. There are more foodservice establishments per capita then ever before. In fact the industry in so large that it has become the largest employer in the country second only to the federal government. The gross revenues for the foodservice/restaurant industry exceed $500 billion. That said, it is often joked within the industry, that there are no new ideas, only those we stole from a competitor yesterday.
Having said that, as consumers we look at restaurants whether they are a national chain, emerging brand or a one of, and based on what we see (and what we experience) we draw conclusions. The initial drive that gets us in the door for the very first time to try a new foodservice establishment has everything to do with the visuals of the logo, web site, collateral material i.e. Togo menus, signage, look and feel of the building and awnings, etc. In other words, the brand identity and how that is perceived by the public is everything. The crafting of that brand identity through the development of these materials in the process of brand development. Remember, that when it is all said and done a brand is nothing more then a promise. In our case a promise of what the food and service will be like, what the restaurant image will be like and so on. It is that very image, that very identity, which creates the promise of what your restaurant will deliver. This includes food quality, service, atmosphere, and pricing, among many other factors.
At Heilpern Group we take this process very seriously. The dirty little secret that nobody wants to talk about is that once a concept is decided upon then everything from the menu development, the decisions regarding flatware, glassware, etc. to what goes on the walls and tables as well as signage (including how that sign was built and displayed) and even employee uniforms are all brand development decisions and therefore will effect the marketing and advertising efforts of the future. We take great pride and spend meticulous time in understanding the very essence of your restaurant establishment and then develop a way of communicating all of this to the public.
Make no mistake about it, this is not just something to be haphazardly thrown together. It is where science and art converge in the ongoing efforts to reach out and influence the eating habits and buying decisions of your current and future customers. It is this very branding that decides who simply eats at your restaurant, and who becomes a loyal, enthusiastic, advocate of your restaurant.