How to rebrand your pizzeria: Making Dough with Diane
By Diane Chiasson
There are many new restaurant concepts emerging everywhere and every week, and you may find that your pizzeria is struggling in the midst of this evolving market. Your business may be declining as competition increases or you may find that your customers’ needs have changed.
It may be time to consider rebranding your pizzeria.
Just remember that rebranding is not just a fresh coat of paint: it’s embracing a new way of doing business. Before you make any drastic changes, you need to determine how your pizzeria is currently performing. Ask your friends, family members, past and current employees, and your customers for their honest opinion on what they think about your pizzeria and what they like about other restaurants they have visited in your neighbourhood. This will give you some ideas on what you should focus on during your rebrand. It takes courage for a pizzeria owner to admit their restaurant isn’t working. In this, part 1, here are three main tips to successfully start rebranding your pizzeria.
1. KNOW WHAT YOUR PIZZERIA STANDS FOR IN THE MARKETPLACE
You really have to think long and hard as well as understand and identify how your pizzeria is currently performing, what your brand currently stands for, and what the rebrand would really mean for your business. You need to understand everything, from what you are doing well to what you could improve upon immediately.
Do you have the same steady stream of loyal repeat customers? Are your regular customers not coming to your restaurant anymore? Do you know why your customers still come? Is your concept still relevant to current restaurant market trends? Is your pizzeria giving customers a unique experience compared to other restaurants in your neighbourhood? Is your menu too large or simply boring . . . the same old? Is your décor drab and stuck in the ’80s, with checkered tablecloths and Chianti-bottled candles, or did you keep up with the times? Are you plagued by bad PR? Go back to the roots of your original business and redefine your vision and your identity, and understand what made you so special in the past. You must find out what’s important for your customers.
2. MAKE A PLAN TO CLARIFY YOUR VISION
You may remember when you started your pizzeria 30-plus years ago, and you may wish to continue running your operation the same way. If you decide to go ahead with rebranding your restaurant, however, write a list of what you envision your pizzeria to be in the future. This includes the type of food, service, customers, concept, design and décor, ambiance, employees, customer service, training programs, rebranding and design budget, future growth and financial objectives, inside and out signs, print marketing material, business cards and letterhead, voicemail, marketing and advertising campaigns, website, social media, and special unveiling brand event.
3. START BY DESIGNING THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE
Understand that branding is more than a name or a logo: Your brand isn’t about your pizzeria: it’s about your customers. If you and your employees love your new name or your new logo, but it’s not appealing to your customer base, it’s not going to work. If your customers don’t understand your message, it’s not serving a purpose.
Remember what made you special: Do you remember what made you successful a few years back? Did your customers love the ambiance, the Tuesday specials or the great customer service? Were you offering 2-for-1 or All-You-Can-Eat on Mondays? Are there any favourites that you took out of your menu? When was the last time you revamped your menu? Did you host some special events and offer catering options? If you want to rebrand your pizzeria properly, you will need to understand how your product and service fit into the life of your consumers.
Take a good look at the physical space and visit other places: If you do a complete rebranding, you will need to consider redesigning your interior space. Nobody likes to eat in a tired-looking restaurant. You should spend some time visiting and paying attention to what your competitors may be doing better than you. Go and visit their pizzerias, restaurants or bars. Interact with their employees and witness customer reactions. Have a look beyond their physical restaurant, reviewing their website and seeing what kind of presence they have on social media channels, in magazines and in other places. •
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping food service, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com