Can You Hear Me Now?


Ensuring Your Brand Message Is Heard

Often when we review a new client’s existing marketing and branding, we find an unclear and confused message. In order for any marketing to be successful, it must find continuity and fluidity across all platforms; the message must be Clear, Concise, Consistent and Communicable. If customers can easily understand who you are, it clears one obstacle in improving your top line sales. Remember, a customer’s experience with your restaurant starts long before they walk in the door. Here are four basics to consider in ensuring customers hear your brand message:

Know who you are. The reality of your restaurant has to meet the expectations you are putting out in your marketing. As we discussed in Restaurants Know Thyself, you can’t be all things to all people. Know who you are, embrace it, and include it in all of your marketing. If you run a Mediterranean restaurant in name, design and décor, you should not have an Irish Pub menu. Remember, marketing your brand is not just about paid advertising, it also includes items such as menus, signage, uniforms, and scripted server approaches at the table.

Be consistent. 4Q preaches consistency a lot, in all aspects of restaurant operations. You’d be surprised how many times we see inconsistencies in basic information – such as hours of operation and menus – in different places where a restaurant promotes itself. Are the hours of operation on your door the same as on the printed take out menu? Are they the same on your website, Facebook Page, Google listing, online ordering portals, etc.? Additionally, does all of your media reflect a consistent message and communicate who you are (see above)? If customers don’t get consistent information and messaging about your restaurant, they will become confused, get frustrated and turn elsewhere to restaurants that care to get it right.

Get your message online and keep it in line. Restaurants don’t always embrace their digital strategy in this day and age of 24/7 connectedness. Before the Internet, restaurant marketing was static: it consisted mainly of newspaper, magazine, radio, TV and the yellow pages ads. Today, marketing a brand message has become dynamic. There is so much noise out there in the digital/social media world with paid ads, social media pages, customer reviews, etc. that vie for customers’ attention. You have to actively manage your image with a consistent message by: producing and posting relevant content that draws new customers and keeps existing customers engaged; responding properly to complaints in a public setting; answering questions; and utilizing “Calls-to-Action”. Keeping a clear, focused message in all your online interactions, can help you stand out in all this digital noise.

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Teach the message. Employees are your walking, living, breathing billboards inside and outside of your restaurant; but are they putting out “The Message”? You must inject a clear, concise, and consistent message into your employees, and hold them accountable to communicating it. If your message is that you are a farm-to-table restaurant, your employees must be able to explain that to any and all customers and potential customers. Additionally, as we discussed in Employees are Your First Customers, “In social situations, often the first question asked is ‘What do you do?’ or ‘Where do you work?’” Each time your employee answers that question, is an opportunity to communicate your message.

Small or large, independent or chain, no restaurant can ignore how their marketing message is heard. Certain advertising campaigns still resonate in our culture, and are long remembered because they are clear, concise, consistent and communicable – you can still sing that 30 year old jingle. All of the pieces noted in this blog must work together in concert: like a choir everyone must be singing the same song, in the same key, or the audience will leave!

Don’t know where to begin on your brand message? Do you know how to put policies and procedures in place to be as successful as possible? can develop customized operational guidelines to meet your needs. Email Noelle at

Noelle Ifshin has over 20 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. She has been instrumental in growing several companies, utilizing many different concepts, and was a successful revenue management leader with a national harbor cruise company, which operates in several markets across the Eastern US. Prior to founding 4Q Consulting, LLC, Noelle has functioned in an array of roles for various organizations ranging from front and back of house, single unit management, and multi-unit director, as well as company-wide profit management duties. Her diverse experience includes Executive Chef Positions, Food and Beverage management, catering, large event management, renovations, and new build outs.