Early 2018, and we are in the midst of introducing a set of new restaurant experiences to the Nordic markets. To help our guests getting more creative and productive days. To tune in the requirements of our modern life. But creating a long-time consistent (brand) experience is not an easy task. Susanne Moland, Fazer Food services Head of commercial development shares her thoughts and hopes from one of the premiere openings of Fazer Food & Co.

Creating that layer of emotional value

What is a brand, really?

Is it a sense of recognition, something familiar and safe? Or just a name and a logo? Maybe stronger then that – a symbol for memories, experiences and feelings. Someone once claimed that a brand is “a promise that has to be kept”, and as such involving all interactions with its followers- and when it really gets off the ground: It’s fans.

No matter what definition you chose, a brand is there to create emotions. An intangible “layer” of value to a product or service that could otherwise easily be replaced by something cheaper.

So, how do one create a brand? Well, you might be starting with the name and the logo, but the real magic starts to happen when the more emotional features are added. That special sound from a Harley Davidson motorcycle, or the perfectly designed white packaging holding Apple’s products, or the unmistakable perfume from the Hollister fashion store. And then when, finally, the product bought, and the service acquired repeatedly correspond to the expectations evoked by those emotional features, the wizards job will be completed.

Building a brand takes time, money and patience - and many times it fails. So, you can understand we were nervous later this fall when launching a new brand for our restaurants. Have we thought about all the dimensions? Will people understand? Does the message, and the story we are so passionate about, come across? But most of all – will they love our food and come back day after day, after day …

The secret ingredient: Our people

Creating a brand in the restaurant business is a complex thing. It holds so many elements – the service, the food, the ambiance, the interior – but most of all, the PEOPLE. That’s the thing, you see, in our world it is really the people that are the brand. The way they interact with our guests, see them, talk to them, serve them, remember their names and favourite dishes. Sometimes even remember their birthdays and make them a surprise-cake!

The stories about how our people walk that extra mile to serve, surprise and care for guests are endless. And that is the magic of our brand! Of course, the new interior is nice, the pink colour on the wall adds a sense of warmth, the photo and graphics brings modernity and freshness and the menu is packed with mouth-watering experiences. (Many of them green to please the growing number of flexitarians!)

A successful opening – only the beginning of the beginning

The opening of the first Fazer Food & Co restaurant in Nordstan in Gothenburg was a success in many ways. It looks beautiful, the food tastes awesome and our staff has never been more welcoming and service-minded. Our guests noticed and expressed their appreciation; “this is such an improvement from before”, “suddenly it feels like a real restaurant” and “I just love all the green alternatives on the menu”.

But opening something new is easy – keeping the excitement is harder. Now, the real work starts in building a brand. Everyday must be better than the day before to make sure our guests come back. It’s like everyday is a new launch. Every little detail must be perfect – the ambiance, the food and the service. Everything that creates a brand.

Susanne Moland, Head of Commercial Development, Fazer Food Services