How to Brand Your Restaurant, According to This Southern Staple

When it comes to building your brand, customer service and a strong understanding of what your restaurant is all about matters most. Robynne Connell, Director of Marketing for Applewood Farmhouse and Grill, shares how she has been able to build a strong restaurant brand with help from Tripadvisor.

Welcome to Applewood Farmhouse and Grill, Tennessee

Over the river and through the woods, grandmother’s southern kitchen never smelled so good. From fabulous apple fritters to mouth-watering fried chicken, Applewood Farmhouse and Grill takes great pride in serving up absolutely delicious home-cooked food. But for Connell, serving up a stellar brand that embodies Applewood Farmhouse is what it’s all about.

Says Connell, “Our food is literally the heart of our brand, meaning that everything we do and everything that I put out there revolves around food and how we can make it delicious.” For Connell, that means giving guests the flavors of the southern comfort that the brand cherishes before they even step into the building.

The Challenge: Nailing Their Brand Voice

Getting the perfect brand voice has been crucial for Applewood Farmhouse. A brand voice embodies the feeling that your brand stands for; it is what it would sound like if it were a person actually speaking to you. The best brand voices provoke a consistent target feeling. “[Our brand] voice comes from a grandma feel, so almost speaking as if we were your grandma preparing you a classic homestyle meal. That’s what we strive for with our brand,” says Connell.

What they have found is that consistently using words that evoke feelings associated with their food has served them best. “When you are on our website or looking at Tripadvisor, we always try and use specific words that relate to our brand, so we use ‘crispy’ a lot, we use ‘crunch’ a lot. It’s really about recreating that experience for our customer at home or on their cell phone of feeling like they are in the restaurant with us and that they are actually tasting the flavors — even if they’re a few states away,” says Connell.

How They Use Tripadvisor

How They Use Tripadvisor Ads

One great way that Connell drives traffic is with Ads. “We use Tripadvisor Ads all the time. They’ve [definitely] helped our business.” Using Tripadvisor Ads, Connell can help Applewood Farmhouse and Grill better stand out from the crowd and steer potential guests to their listing.

How They Use Tripadvisor Premium

Paired with Tripadvisor Ads, Tripadvisor Premium’s Storyboard feature really helps their brand shine. Afterall, what better way to give potential guests a taste of the brand than through a feature picture? “[With Storyboard], we have been able to showcase our food in the way in a way that we feel is best for our customers and have picked certain pictures that we think people want to see when they first come to our restaurant.”

We use Tripadvisor Ads all the time. They’ve [definitely] helped our business. Robynne Connell

Director of Marketing, Applewood Farmhouse and Grill

But not all of Connell’s favorites have been professional photography. Many of them are taken and posted by guests showcasing what they love best about Applewood Farmhouse. “What I like about customers posting their own pictures is that they can actually see that you do get a lot of food, and it [looks] delicious,” says Connell. “In our professional photography, we will not put a photograph out there that does not look like how it would be served on an actual plate.We don’t make it look fancy, we don’t put extra garnishing on it, we literally do it as if somebody was going to eat it at the table.” Being authentically themselves, regardless of platform, is what makes their brand strong.

That really shows in the quality of their reviews. “Tripadvisor, for us, has probably been one of the best ways of maintaining our brand and actually bringing people to our restaurant,” says Connell. “We are actually tucked away a little bit up the road so we heavily rely on reputation, word-of-mouth, and our Tripadvisor reviews.” Connell uses the restaurant’s reviews to pinpoint where improvements can be made and as motivation to keep her staff performing in tip-top shape.

As for any advice about restaurant branding that Connell has to share: “[Let your] customers do the work for you; it’s just such an easy way to market yourself — letting other people having the influence and maintaining [your] brand.”

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Bailey Ottley

Bailey Ottley

Restaurant Marketing Enthusiast

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Last Updated: 20 August 2019
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