Brand experiences. The concept can be so vague that trying to deliver a quality one can be as simple as just saying it’s whatever happens when people sit down at your tables, to as complex as the feeling they have when you place the finest cuisine in front of a guest.
So trying to unpack what a great brand experience for your restaurant looks like becomes a challenge.
In the hospitality industry, creating a memorable guest experience is key to building a successful brand.
Let’s agree that ‘brand experience’ is what happens to a guest from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they check out. How they feel about every interaction is an opportunity to create a lasting, emotional connection. How long that impression lasts, tells you how strong your brand is.
To get to the essential ingredients of your brand, and in the process start thinking about your brand experience strategy, let’s strip it right back to the early days of your business.
You can build up from there to see how closely the current brand experience matches what you started out with. And along the way we’ll suggest some opportunities for tracking and improving that experience, to create lasting impressions with customers who are going to want to return again and again to your restaurant.
Define your brand
Think about those early days when you grabbed a napkin and started sketching out your brand idea for the perfect guest experience. What makes your business unique? What values do you want to convey to your guests? This could be anything from luxury and exclusivity to affordability and accessibility.
The great thing about revisiting those first brand building exercises is that you’ve now had time to see the reality of them. With guest sentiment data and good old people watching, you can see how people are interacting with your brand. Maybe even identify the regular loyal customer?
Once you have defined your brand, everything from your decor to your staff training should reflect your brand values.
Create a consistent experience
Consistency is key when it comes to creating a memorable guest experience. How consistent is your brand experience? While everyone who works for you brings their own unique personality to their role, reinforcing customer loyalty, there should be enough consistency from chef to server that people recognise the brand promise.
Every interaction with your business should be consistent with your brand values. This includes everything from your website and social media presence to your staff interactions and physical environment. A consistent experience builds trust and reliability, which can lead to long-term loyalty.
Is everyone still delivering the consistent behaviors that you imagined when you first started out?
Think about experience strategies
In hospitality, the little things can make a big difference. Pay attention to the details that can make a guest’s experience special. This could be anything from a personalized reservation note on their table to complimentary amenities that cater to their interests (you can build these up through feedback on previous visits).
Make sure you’re thinking of the whole customer experience though, not just what’s happening in real time in front of you. Their past and present brand experience is important to the success of the future brand experience, obviously.
By going the extra mile with your experience strategy, you’ll create a memorable experience that guests will remember long after they’ve left.
Empower your teams
Your team is the face of your brand and can make or break a guest’s experience. Empower your staff with the training and resources they need to deliver exceptional service.
Encourage them to be personable, attentive, and responsive to guest needs. By creating a culture of hospitality and service, you can ensure that every guest feels valued and appreciated.
Use technology to enhance the experience
Technology can be a powerful tool for enhancing the guest experience. By using technology to streamline the guest experience, you can create a memorable experience that sets your brand apart.
Get the marketing team involved at every step of the process. Experiential marketing campaigns may mean getting the marketing team down to the shopfloor more often to start devising creative real time marketing campaigns. Trust us, your marketing team will relish the challenge of delivering a marketing strategy that engages existing customers. To find out more, read our blog post on How to increase guest advocacy by +10%.
Review and revise
Having worked through your current brand experience and thinking about how it stacks against your original brand promise, are there any areas that you’d consider for improvement?
While you’ll probably have some ongoing annoying things that you’ve been putting off and have now decided to get sorted, what about all the other poor brand experiences that get past you? Or that your team isn’t getting time to address? Or that guests aren’t even telling you about.
The power of brand experience cannot be overstated. By defining your brand, creating a consistent experience, paying attention to detail, empowering your staff, and using technology to enhance the experience, you can create a memorable guest experience that builds brand loyalty and drives revenue.
Remember, in the hospitality industry, the guest experience is everything. By creating a memorable experience, you can build a brand that guests will return to time and time again.
To find out more about how Yumpingo can help you improve customer retention and guest experience – get in touch with us today!