Brand extends far beyond a logo. The best companies have a strong experiential component that relates to the way they use their space to make you feel specific emotions as part of their brand experience. Think about the best-in-class restaurant brands and how they set an exact tone and feel the minute you enter the door. The way a restaurant looks and the way guests feel during their dining experience affects brand arguably more than a catchy jingle or a funny commercial.
As a strong restaurant brand scales up, maintaining and enhancing a consistent brand experience across all locations becomes an essential element for a successful business, as it is inextricably tied to a willingness to buy.
Brand experience is all about the small details. From driving into a freshly-paved parking lot, walking into a well-lit, open lobby with an indoor garden, to sitting at a table by the window with a view of the flowering landscape, there are subtle influences all around that encourage guests to stay longer, purchase more, and most importantly, return again. These aesthetics create an experience for restaurant guests that relies on expert facilities maintenance capabilities.
Here are three ways to maintain (or improve) a restaurant’s brand experience with quality facilities maintenance:
1. Impress with the Exterior
Before a patron even steps foot inside, a restaurant’s exterior maintenance is already making a first impression. Is the parking lot maintained and well-lit? Is the landscaping inviting and representative of the ambiance inside? These factors all contribute to a customer's dining experience.
Maintaining the right brand experience starts on the outside. Consider using a proactive approach to exterior maintenance. How is this done well? One example is SMS Assist uses weather alerts to notify snow removal contractors about approaching storms ahead of time, so that client lots are prepped before the first flake falls.
2. Create An Inviting Interior
According to a Westfield report on shoppers in the US and the UK, all of the senses were found to influence the customer experience. The appearance, cleanliness, and repair of the building, as well as the sounds and the smells that fill the air work in concert as vital brand ambassadors.
If a guest walks into their favorite restaurant and finds that it is too chilly for their comfort, they probably won’t stay very long. If it happens more than once, their opinion about going back would probably change. Something as straightforward as climate control can affect brand image in a positive or negative way. An easy way to make sure a restaurant is always comfortable for guests is to implement a preventative maintenance plan for HVAC assets.
Don’t wait until the hottest day of the summer or the coldest day of the winter for an asset to malfunction. Scheduled maintenance checks throughout the spring and fall can take care of smaller issues before they become bigger problems. For more information about preventative maintenance, check out our blog: 4 Proven Ways Preventative Maintenance Pays Off.
3. Analyze Assets
The performance of a restaurant’s operations establishes value to the customer, and facilities maintenance is at the core of performance. It is imperative for restaurants to have the right equipment for proper food storage. There is a great risk for customers if a refrigeration system is not functioning properly, as temperature control is one of the main contributors to foodborne illnesses. According to the CDC, in the US, there were over 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths due to foodborne illness in one year.
When a critical asset is down, business is lost and brand experience is potentially tarnished. One way to limit downtime and establish a reliable, consistent brand experience is to track all of your assets and their parts. Knowledge of warranties, repair history and part replacements is essential to preventing a larger issue with your most important assets. It also can help predict the appropriate time to replace your assets to incur the least amount of distraction or inconvenience for your guests (and budget).
Maintaining Your Brand
Maintaining facilities is maintaining a brand. From keeping your parking lots safe, to maintaining a comfortable temperature inside, there are many factors that contribute to brand experience that are directly affected by facilities maintenance. Promoting a consistent, positive brand experience should be a primary goal for your facilities maintenance program.
If you’re interested in learning about tracking the efficiency of your facilities maintenance program, check out our blog: How to Track the Efficiency of Your Facilities Maintenance Program.