5 Ways Restaurants Can Leverage Brand-Name Power on Menus

Adding trusted brand names to menus and other marketing materials can bring positive results for restaurant operators. But operators need to be smart about it. Well-known brand names on menus can drive visits, build consumer trust and loyalty, generate perceptions of quality and, in some cases, garner higher prices.

Savvy operators can make those partnerships count by following a few best practices, menu engineers say. “I have found that adding the brand name into the descriptions helps a restaurant show it’s buying ‘the good stuff’ instead of buying generics,” says menu engineer Gregg Rapp of Palm Springs, Calif. “Just by sprinkling some brand names into the menu description, it adds a quality to all the food.”

Menu engineer Aaron Allen of Aaron Allen & Associates Global Restaurant Consulting also offered some brand power tips for operators:

1. Less is more.

Once you’ve made the decision to pepper your menu with brand names, don’t go overboard. “There’s a limit to how much distraction you can put on a menu,” Allen says. “The consumer is inundated with choices so much so that choice is making them unhappy.” Think of each menu panel like its own billboard, helping guide diners in decision-making.

2. Choose brand partners wisely.

Seek out trusted brands whose positive attributes will transfer to your brand, he says. “It’s a very brand-specific decision,” he says. “Birds of a feather flock together.”

3. Again: Choose brand partners wisely.

This point cannot be overstated. Bad press for your chosen brand partner can reflect negatively on you. If you’ve got a brand logo on your menu and that brand faces food recalls or other scandals, it can project onto your chain as well.

4. Seek out value adds.

What else can your business gain from partnering with a brand? If you’re a small chain entering into a relationship with a large brand, the answer is potentially quite a bit. Maybe the brand can provide you with higher-quality marketing materials and other collateral. Maybe the brand will invite your business to supplier-sponsored conferences or workshops. Maybe you can take advantage of some of the brand’s marketing muscle for help on a mobile app.

Consider an LTO trial.

Menuing a limited-time offer can be a good way to introduce a brand name on your menu. “There’s a shared goal of selling more of a particular product,” Allen says. “They can use each other’s resources. It can be a win-win. Limited time offers are an effective way of drawing attention to a new item, a nice little shot of adrenaline.”

Follow these best practices to fully leverage the power of calling out trusted brand names on your operation’s menu.

(Source: RestaurantBusiness; sponsored by Butterball)

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