Promote Brands Front of House to Build Your Own Brand

Promote Brands Front of House
You work hard to maintain the image of your establishment. You’re careful about how you’re perceived to your current customers and potential guests. It’s what you call your brand. It’s how you protect what you’ve worked hard to establish and grow. It’s the story you tell through your menu, the appearance of your dining areas, and the quality of your fare.

But what do the brands you use say about your brand itself? It’s becoming more and more prevalent for guests to be aware of or seek information about the ingredients in the food they’re consuming away from home. So in that context, what does it say about your choices as an established brand if the labels your guests are seeing front of house are generic at best or below par at worst? It’s easy to overlook, but when you’re looking for an edge in this highly competitive market, no detail can be left to chance. And if you’re not currently utilizing any merchandising front of house, you have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the power of established, quality brands. 

The Little Things Make a Big Difference
It goes without saying that you’re particular about your menu, your ingredients, and preparation, so why not call out the quality of your practices to your patrons as soon as possible? That is, if you’re using the highest quality ingredients, how do you better communicate that to your guests as soon as they enter your establishment? It’s a subtle practice, but there are prime opportunities to do just that. Your manufacturer partners likely have collateral they can provide you for free or at a reduced cost to help elevate their brand—along with your own. You can help tell your own brand story by utilizing the earned reputation of the products and brands you use to create your offerings. 

Calling out your preferred brands doesn’t have to mean anything flashy like neon signs or huge banners. Penn Station, a sub sandwich chain on the east coast, found using handheld cubes on the tables allowed for multiple branding and communication points. After promoting its use of Hellmann’s®, Penn Station attributed its increased sales to front-of-house merchandising.1

Brand As a Source of Information
When people choose to eat away from home, they’re expecting a quality and experience that’s worthy of their hard earned money. If you’re using brands that are not recognizable to a guest, you’re sending the message that the quality isn’t on the same level as what a consumer could create at home.  

Additionally, branding front of house helps your guests make more informed decisions. People relate to brands, and that helps them understand the value of what they’re going to order. We all have affinity towards certain brands that we perhaps can’t even explain, we just know when we see certain logos we feel we’re choosing quality.   

Anticipate & Mitigate Customer Complaints—Before They Occur
Take a look at some of your customer feedback and see what’s being said about your offerings. Nationally, many of the top reported complaints revolve around food quality and price.2 When you communicate that your staff is using quality ingredients from trusted brands, you plant the seed in guests’ minds that they’re going to be served an excellent meal. 

Premium Vs. Generic
You’d hate to read a review of your establishment and have someone describe the experience as generic, so it stands to reason you wouldn’t want to do anything that would lead someone to believe you don’t care enough about what you serve to use the brands that lead their categories. Your premium brand deserves to be supported with premium makings, and your guests will appreciate knowing they’re paying for the best ingredients. 

Optimize the Front-of-House Journey in Your Establishment
Think about the moments your guests experience when moving through the purchase process at your operation. Initially they enter an establishment and take in the environment. Is it clean? Is it clear where to go to purchase? The opportunity exists to use your partner brands to help communicate the level of quality the consumer can expect. Next they’ll move the ordering stage whether it’s at a counter or placing an order with a server. Clues and messages on menu materials can also work for you to tell your brand story. The last stage is the wait time for delivery and food presentation. What can you do to ensure you’re constantly aware of how your guests are perceiving and judging your establishment? Work with your manufacturers to develop tactics and strategies to always be communicating with your guest. Simple steps such as branded sandwich picks, table tents, stickers, etc. can have a big impact. 

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1Use Point-of-Sale Merchandise to Up-sell Your Menu, 
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