The Difference Between a Restaurant Brand and a Restaurant Concept

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Both of the terms “brand” and “concept” are thrown around loosely, but what do they really mean? Knowing the difference can help you clearly define your business, its goals, its marketing and help make decisions down the road.

“Concept” by definition is a general notion or idea. If that seems pretty loose, it’s because it is. Your restaurant’s concept is a general idea of what you offer. EG: A quick serve breakfast cafe, a full service American buffet, etc. The concept is pure utilitarian description and lacks any positioning, advanced differentiation, or brand promises. Basically, it is what it is. Here’s a list of some restaurant concept options out there.

A restaurant’s “brand” is a bigger beast and harder to define. It’s not your logo. It’s not the interior design. What’s more is, the restaurant’s concept is a part of the restaurants brand; the utilitarian, descriptive part. Your restaurant’s brand is the feeling and thought a person gets when they encounter one of your restaurant’s touch points. That, in turn, means that every touch point matters. If one touch point fails, it’ll detract from your brand. You have less-than-desirable service, your brand will suffer. You have mediocre food at a fine dining restaurant, your brand will suffer. You offer discounts and coupons at an upscale steakhouse, your brand’s clout will lessen. So, slapping a logo on a shirt will get the job done, but every one of your competitors is “getting the job done.”

Your restaurant has a brand whether you choose to acknowledge and foster its growth and awareness or not. Your restaurant’s concept is simply a quick description that serves as a basis for positioning, differentiating and communicating your reasons for people to come to your American BBQ Restaurant, or French Bistro, or Mexican Cantina, or…. you get the picture. Acknowledge you have a brand. Define it, foster it, grow it. If you design it well and visually communicate it properly, you’ll take over the competition.

Learn more about restaurant branding by buying FIRE IT UP: Building Restaurant Brands that Blaze.

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