Restaurant Interiors and Branding

At Nice Branding Agency, we know from experience that you can’t build a restaurant brand without attention to detail. As a restaurant branding agency, we’re here to tell you that this also includes the interior and exterior space of your business. 

A brand isn’t something you create through logo design, it’s the perception people form about your restaurant based on all they encounter related to your business.

A restaurant brand has to be cultivated by authenticity that’s woven through every touchpoint. We would say “customer touchpoint,” but the brand isn’t being contrived by customers alone. It’s being created under the perception of your employees, your vendors, and the public.

Making the right impression on each of these targets is not up for debate. And we know that part of that impression is the feeling people get when they enter your restaurant.

It’s not just about making a ‘good’ impression. It’s about influencing people to see your restaurant in a certain light. It’s one thing to have nice decor. But what does your interior say about your restaurant, and how does it relate to your brand as a whole?

Restaurant Interior Design vs Environmental Branding

When it comes to designing the physical space, restaurant owners are often torn between working with an interior designer or a branding agency. So, let’s define the two.

The Dictionary states that “interior design is the art or practice of planning and supervising the design and execution of architectural interiors and their furnishings.”

So then, how does environmental branding compare?

Here’s our take:

“Environmental branding communicates a brand’s position and value through the three-dimensional platform provided by your physical space.

At Nice Branding Agency, our interior branding experts harness the brand narrative and visuals and weave them through each and every touchpoint, connecting with customers on a deeper level and conveying key messaging along the way. Our process creates a customer journey that is undeniably compelling and completely aligned with all other elements of brand support.”

We do this by employing interior design techniques, but within a branding perspective. Call it environmental branding or interior branding. 

Environmental branding is not interior design. It’s more strategic than that, but it includes that. It’s the practice of bringing your restaurant brand to life within your physical space.

How We Brand Restaurant Interiors

We usually start with Foundational Branding before we transition to Environmental Branding.

At the start of the Environmental Branding process for restaurants, our interior design team identifies opportunities within the customer journey that have the power to impact the customer. Then we creatively and strategically weave the restaurant brand through each touchpoint using graphic and interior design techniques.

Side note: We understand the investment involved in implementing an environmental design. So, every recommendation has a reason behind it. When Foundational Branding comes first, we can align the restaurant environment with your positioning, brand attributes, and visual direction.

Then, we create a map using your floor plan with seating layout, provided by your architect or general contractor. We start by pinpointing customer touchpoints and then strategize ways to make a greater impact. We map out locations for wall graphics, lighting, furniture, floor transitions, and more. Unlike an interior designer, an interior branding professional, will be able to capture the essence of your brand in every selection.

restaurant interior branding agency process

After the branded interior design plan is mapped out, we present our plan for wall color and treatment, flooring, fixtures, lighting, countertops and risers, tables, chairs, point of sales, bathrooms, doors, graphics, and more. The items selected will be specific to your restaurant and the brand.

When the restaurant interior selections are approved by our client, we walk through them with the client’s architect. The architect may or may not do 3D renderings; however, if a client is anticipating rolling out a replicable concept, the renderings are advised.

top interior branding agency
top interior branding agency

Our team can also create perspective drawings to provide a more direct vision of the space in 3D form.

We take a consulting role through the build, as the architect moves forward planning, sourcing, and purchasing all elements. That way, when materials are unavailable or not ideal due to budget or application, we are available to weigh in on alternatives.

The result? Award-winning, branded restaurant interiors that resonate with customers and tell the brand’s story through the physical space.

What About Restaurant Signage?

Signage is a big part of restaurant environmental branding. Various types of signage, including wayfinding, exterior, and point-of-purchase, help customers get around the restaurant easily.

Sign companies usually fabricate and install signage inside and outside your restaurant. But, a branding professional should be responsible for selecting the application, medium, and design for each sign.

Sometimes legal or contract requirements leave few options for exterior signage. These restrictions should be reviewed, assessed, and oftentimes challenged.

An experienced interior branding agency can advise you here. Then, once the boundaries are in place, your branding team will advise the sign company to ensure that all exterior and interior signs align with the brand.

The sign company may be pushing you toward a channel list sign when what your restaurant brand really needs is a die-cut metal sign with gooseneck lighting. Something to consider.

Or, you might be envisioning a digital menu board, when a letterboard with interchangeable letters might be more in line with the visual direction.

Strict adherence to the brand direction can take a little grit to implement. And at Nice Branding Agency, we don’t back down easily — especially when we’re advocating for your restaurant brand.

Is Restaurant Interior Branding Worth the Investment?

It’s important to remember: If you build it, they might not come.

This is no field of dreams. In a time when social media reigns king, appearance is everything. Your restaurant brand has to be on-point in order to have any chance of succeeding, and your physical space plays a big role.

Consider this basic burger joint. One has branding and one doesn’t. Which looks more appealing? Which is attracting more people? We rest our case.

nice vs not nice exterior

Ready to carry your restaurant brand throughout your physical space? Let’s chat.

ready to brand your restaurant?