Designing for Food: Covering all the (buttery biscuit) bases
In the last article on Designing for Food, we covered the importance of a well-designed menu. However, with the advent of technology and the rising use of mobile phones, customers are interacting with food establishments in different and more ways than they were in the past. As such, having a well-designed menu is a good start but there are now many more brand touch-points that also need considering.
Variety is the spice of life
Being able to Google where you want to go and eat can be a blessing and a curse – you are inundated with an endless stream of data and sifting through it all can be exhausting!
I recently had the burden of organising our office Christmas party. Being based in Shoreditch, we are far from short of potential establishments where we can fulfil our annual need of turkey. However, as someone who struggles to pick a chocolate bar due to abundance of choice, this presented a number of issues.
To narrow down my choice I consulted Google and promptly spent far longer than I intended reading reviews, analysing menus and stalking interiors on social media; all of this to determine the best venue for the occasion.
Having all this information at your finger-tips means that customers will form an opinion of your establishment in a matter of minutes (maybe hours for the more thorough food inspectors like myself) and they can do this without ever setting foot inside the door.
There were a couple of potentials, but they didn’t have a website and were immediately struck off the list. For some establishments, this omission is deliberate. For example, many speakeasy bars make themselves purposefully hard to find, for that authentic touch. However, this approach is not appropriate for many and, for most, a website is a necessity that they can’t afford to do without.
The toast of the town
Optimising your website is also worth bearing in mind. How do you display your menu? Is it a pdf of your printed menu? Or a specially built page? Whatever it is, having your menu or sample menu readily available to customers is certainly better than not having one. Here are a few examples we found in our search that we thought were translating their in-restaurant experience well into their digital experiences:
Pachamama – a small restaurant chain serving Peruvian dishes made with British ingredients – has a user-friendly website, that acts as a good extension of their brand. The menu is easy to navigate, and reservations are made easy through a simple form.
Social media is another biggie but brands don’t necessarily have to do all of them. If it is your first foray into the land of social media, why not pick one platform that you are most comfortable with and focus all your efforts into that one. It’s always better to do one well than to do them all half-heartedly. Customers will very easily pick up if you yourself are not engaged; and if you’re not bothered then why should they be?
Meat Liquor’s Instagram account has the perfect balance of delicious food shots and customer-generated content, giving it an unpretentious feel that sits well with their overall brand.
It is important that all aspects of the business are considered, in terms of visual language. And with the advent of technology there are lots of different options and things to consider. It is therefore important to have a strong link that groups them all together, so they feel part of a set.
Designing a consistent message
We ensure that any campaign that we propose to our client, Greene King, has legs; that it can easily be translated into social media posts, blackboard messaging etc. This ensures a constant visual language and tone for online and offline customer interactions.
It’s important that there is coherency; in a saturated market you need to stand out and be memorable, and that is hard to do when you have inconsistencies across printed and digital collateral. The work we did for Greene King’s BBQ festival, back in 2017, was particularly effective at spanning across different media.
As we have outlined above there are many pros to having an online presence and once it’s all set up it’s fairly easy to manage. You’ll be benefiting from increased exposure and attracting more customers.
Having an online presence is important when you are trying to develop a connection with younger generations, who use social media to interact and build a bond with their favourite brand of restaurants.
It’s these new interactions that we will be exploring in the next article and what effect this has had on the hospitality industry.