Aroma: Restaurant Consulting Series

Based on the fact that there are thousands of restaurants in the Greater Houston area, restaurant branding is important to the success of your business. Many businesses look for creative Vinyl Banners and business signs to make their business stand out, but since this has become so popular among the thousands of restaurants in the area, other methods of branding must be explored to make your business stand out. Even things like promotional umbrellas can play a role in helping increase exposure, especially in the area local to your establishment. So the question is…what can you do to make your restaurant stand out?

I’ll try to answer this question thru a series of articles entitled “Why Restaurant Branding is Important”.

Let’s begin with the obvious. Most successful restaurants and restaurant chains have a signature item. McDonalds has the Big Mac (for me it’s the McRib), Burger King has the Whopper, and Mikki’s Soulfood has Oxtails. These are items that you cannot get at other establishments. Well, you can get oxtails at other restaurants, but nobody in Houston does it better than Mikki’s. The restaurant has been successful for a long time. They have experienced success as a consequence of hard work and dedication to their craft. Taking things like getting the finest Commercial Kitchen Equipment seriously plays a role in getting to the top. They have menu items that have often been imitated whether at home or at a rival restaurant, but clearly never duplicated. These restaurants along with others not mentioned have mastered the art of branding using signature items as the ringmaster. In my opinion McDonalds does it better with the yearly re-introduction of the McRib. Whether you eat McDonalds or not you know the phrase “The McRib is Back!!!” This branding campaign is so strong that they have taken it a step further and launched a website entitled McRib Locator where people actually post McRib sightings (restaurants that are currently selling the Mcrib). Now if that doesn’t show the power of branding…what does!

So I ask you…what is your “signature item” and how do you make it stand out amongst the competition?

(NOTE: These are my personal views and not those of the Houston Black Restaurant Week committee)

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