Setting the Table for Success: Restaurant Branding

Server wearing a custom funky graphic t-shirt by Stock

Restaurant branding sets exceptional establishments apart from the rest. It creates memorable experiences, fosters customer loyalty, and drives repeat visits. It goes beyond recipes and service, permeating every aspect of the dining experience.

Stock collaborates with popular restaurants in Chicago's vibrant food scene, using uniforms to express their brand identity. Our designs, such as The Hu's modern workwear-inspired outfits and Parachute's relaxed linen aprons, capture each restaurant's distinct personality and story.

Let's look closer into how branding can impact a restaurant's success and long-term viability.

What Is Restaurant Branding?

Restaurant branding is all about establishing a distinct image and personality in a crowded marketplace. It involves identifying the unique elements of your restaurant — the story, ethos, the type of food you serve, the ambiance you create, and the experience you provide — and crafting a restaurant brand identity around those elements.

At its core, restaurant branding is about crafting a compelling narrative — one that resonates deeply with your customers, and, importantly, your employees. It isn't just the name or logo of the restaurant — it's an embodiment of your restaurant's mission, values, and the promise you make to your patrons.

One often overlooked but essential aspect of restaurant branding is the attire of the restaurant's staff. Uniforms can contribute significantly to a restaurant's brand image, communicating not only the establishment's identity but also its values and standards.

Consider this: Your staff members are the face of your restaurant brand — the individuals that your customers interact with most directly. They are the living embodiment of your brand. As such, the uniforms they wear should be more than just a practical work outfit. It should be a canvas that paints a vivid picture of your restaurant's story and style.

Defining Your Restaurant Branding

Indoor modern, elegant restaurant bar

Defining your restaurant's brand involves a good understanding of its mission, unique selling points, and the audience it serves. 

Not sure where to start? 

Here are some critical questions you should consider:

  • What kind of atmosphere do you want to create?
  • Is your restaurant fast-casual or fine dining?
  • What kind of food do you serve, and how is it different from other restaurants?
  • Who are your target customers, and what are their expectations?
  • What values does your restaurant stand for, and how can you express them?

Once you've identified these aspects, it's time to develop a brand persona. This is essentially the character of your brand — it should reflect your values, style, and promise to your customers. A well-defined brand persona enables your restaurant to communicate consistently and effectively with its audience.

Lastly, you need to consider your competition. 

What brands are you up against, and what sets your restaurant apart? This competitive differentiation is key to your brand definition and can help guide your branding efforts moving forward.

Practical Tip: Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to identify your restaurant's unique strengths and opportunities. 

By understanding your competitors' weaknesses and threats, you can further carve out your niche and position your restaurant in a way that highlights its unique attributes. This will help you stand out and attract the right audience that appreciates your restaurant's offerings.

Develop Restaurant Brand Identity

Server in a charcoal long sleeve top and black canvas apron made by Stock

Developing your brand involves creating a visual and verbal representation of your brand. This includes the name of your restaurant, logo, color palette, typography, and overall aesthetic that you present to your customers.

Your brand identity should mirror the experiences and emotions that you want your customers to associate with your restaurant.

In addition, your brand should be cohesive across all customer touchpoints. Your in-house aesthetics, menu design, social media presence, and staff uniforms should echo the same brand elements.

Below we take a look at the aspects of this visual representation and share some restaurant branding ideas that may inspire you:

Brand Voice

Your brand voice is how your restaurant communicates verbally and in writing with its customers. It reflects your restaurant’s personality and should be consistent across all platforms — from your website and social media to your in-house signage and customer interactions.

Consider Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. As a two-Michelin-star restaurant and four-time recipient of "Best Restaurant in the World," Noma is renowned for its groundbreaking approach to Nordic cuisine. Its brand voice is pioneering, deeply respectful of nature, and story-driven. This is evident in all their communications, from the vivid narratives in their social media posts that take you behind the scenes to the menu descriptions that honor their local ingredients.


Typography is a crucial element in setting the visual tone of your brand. It should reflect your restaurant's character and align with the other visual elements of your identity. Remember, typography isn't just about choosing a font — it also involves selecting appropriate font sizes, line spacing, and colors.

Parachute, a renowned Chicago restaurant, exemplifies the powerful impact of thoughtful typography. Its confidently cool branding shines through its stylized sans serif font, ensuring readability while reflecting modern sophistication.

Color Pallet

A well-chosen color palette can significantly enhance your restaurant brand. Colors evoke emotions, so choosing colors that align with your brand's character is essential. For example, warm tones can create a cozy and inviting ambiance, while cool tones might suggest a more sophisticated and modern vibe.

Consider the Clayton Members Club & Hotel in Denver. This venue exudes sophistication through a monochrome palette of grays and blacks. The pop of river blue from the aprons in the all-day café, OaK Market, subtly incorporates brand colors, adding vibrancy. The uniforms throughout the hotel are intentionally muted, allowing the stunning design to take center stage, thus illustrating the strategic use of color in enhancing a brand.

Practical Tip: When choosing your restaurant's color palette, think about the psychological impact of colors. Different colors can stimulate different emotions and reactions. For instance, red often stimulates appetite and conveys a sense of urgency, while blue is considered calming and trustworthy. Additionally, consider the cultural context of your target market, as color meanings can vary between cultures.


Imagery, including photos and graphics, is essential to your brand personality or identity. Images used in your branding should accurately represent your restaurant's offerings and atmosphere. They can tell a story, evoke emotions, and help your restaurant connect with its audience more deeply.

Let's look at how we integrated the story of fabric into the brand for a project with Kiriko Made

We used kasuri, a Japanese fabric known for its unique patterns and images, woven by a family-owned factory in Kurube City, Japan. After exploring numerous fabrics, we selected indigo Sashi-ori, a sturdy fabric traditionally used in Kendo-gi jackets, combined with raw indigo denim. 

The resulting unique work shirt symbolized the fusion of tradition and innovation and evolved, symbolizing the evolving dining experience.The chosen imagery underscored our brand story, enhancing our brand identity.

Restaurant Brand Design

Custom print t-shirt of a cat in a martini glass made by Stock

Now that you have defined your brand, the next step is to translate it into tangible design elements. 

Restaurant brand design is a complex process that requires careful planning and creativity. The logo, website, menu, table settings, and staff uniforms are all part of your brand design. Each element should be carefully designed to complement each other and reinforce who you are.


Your restaurant's logo is the most visible symbol of your brand. It should be unique, memorable, and reflective of your restaurant's personality. An effective logo can build recognition and create a strong brand association among your customers.

Parachute's playful logo, with its unique blend of straight, dotted, and curvy lines, further underscores its innovative and relaxed branding. The logo showcases how creative typography can solidify and enhance a restaurant's identity.

Practical Tip: When designing your logo, remember that it will be used in various sizes and formats — from large outdoor signage to small icons on social media. Therefore, it should be simple enough to be recognizable even at small sizes and versatile to work well in different formats, such as monochrome or color, print or digital. Also, consider how it will look in your restaurant's interior, on staff uniforms, menus, and takeaway packaging to ensure a cohesive brand image.


In the digital age, your restaurant's website is crucial to brand design. It's the online representation of your restaurant and often the first point of contact for potential customers. Your website should reflect your restaurant's brand identity, provide essential information, and offer an intuitive user experience.

Here's a classic example: The renowned fast-food chain McDonald's, showcases how effectively a restaurant website can reflect brand identity. Their site is bright and colorful, mirroring the brand's energetic, family-friendly ethos. Its layout is straightforward, offering easy navigation for exploring menus, locating stores, and keeping up with the latest promotions. The uniformity in its design elements across different regions reinforces McDonald's global brand identity.

Social Media

Social media platforms are an excellent way to connect with your customers and reinforce your brand identity. Your social media profiles should be consistent with your brand design and voice. Use these platforms to share high-quality images and updates and engage your audience.

For example, Lure Fishbar has a fantastic Instagram presence. Through captivating visuals and engaging content, they showcase their fresh seafood offerings, share photos of satisfied customers, and highlight their inviting ambiance. These reinforce their brand image as a must-visit dining destination.

Where To Use Restaurant Branding

Miller High Life beer bottle and custom Miller High Life baseball hat made by Stock

Restaurant branding should permeate every aspect of your restaurant, from the dining experience to your online presence. However, some specific areas require careful attention to ensure your brand is communicated effectively.


Your menu is more than just a list of dishes; it reflects your restaurant's brand. The design, descriptions, and even the order of dishes can convey your brand's personality and influence customer choices. For example, Sketch London presents varied menus with hand-drawn illustrations and humorous anecdotes. It's not just a list of dishes but an entire experience that sets the whimsical tone for your meal.

Practical Tip: Highlight signature or high-profit items on your menu using borders or images. Use descriptive language for a more sensory experience and to reflect your brand's personality. Lastly, consider the menu layout; people often look first at the top-right corner.


Signage inside and outside your restaurant should align with your identity. Effective signage directs and informs customers, sets the mood, and reinforces your brand. 

Have you been to Katz's Delicatessen

Katz's iconic neon sign is recognized worldwide, partly due to its appearances in many films and TV shows. 

The sign's vintage look perfectly encapsulates the old-world charm of this legendary deli, which has been serving up pastrami sandwiches since 1888. The inside signage, notably the "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army" sign, adds a layer of nostalgia and historical context to the brand.

Interior Design

The interior design of a restaurant plays a significant role in shaping the overall dining experience, and as such, it deeply influences the design of the restaurant's uniforms. Both elements coalesce to create a holistic and consistent brand image, mirroring the restaurant’s core identity, ethos, and style.

When considering uniform design, it's essential to reflect upon the atmosphere created by the restaurant's interior design. For instance, a restaurant with a minimalist, modern decor might opt for sleek, monochromatic uniforms that echo its clean lines and simple elegance. Conversely, an establishment decorated with rustic charm, featuring warm wood tones and vintage accents, might choose aprons made of natural materials in earthy colors to evoke a sense of coziness and comfort.

Take, for instance, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse. It transports guests into a world of Jazz-age decadence with its Art Deco-influenced aesthetic. The tastefully opulent interior offers a real escape, immersing guests in an entirely novel experience, effectively enhancing the brand's identity through intelligent interior design.

Practical Tip: Your restaurant's exterior could also serve as a teaser of the experience inside. Use elements like peek-a-boo windows to showcase interior highlights, use sidewalk signs with catchy phrases from your brand voice, or use lighting fixtures that mimic the inside ambiance. This creates curiosity and draws customers in, giving them a taste of your brand before they step inside.


Uniforms are often overlooked but can play a significant role in reinforcing your identity. A well-designed uniform can create a professional image, enhance the dining experience, and boost employee morale. Below we take a look at some inspiring uniform programs:

Classic and upscale branding

Bartender in a black vest, white dress shirt, and black bow tie by Stock

Le Select, the newest gem from esteemed chef Daniel Rose and our long-term client BoKa, is a perfect example of thoughtful and intricate branding. The uniform program beautifully echoes its brand identity: a splendid fusion of traditional Parisian vibes and modern luxury:

  • Servers don cropped white tuxedo jackets over hidden placket tuxedo shirts accented with black silk bow ties and stretch trousers.
  • Server assistants sported single-breasted black vests over white shirts tied together with a classic white bistro apron.
  • Support staff wore heather gray bib aprons over matching white dress shirts and black trousers, the apron's black straps creating a cohesive look.
  • Finally, bartenders, maintaining the classic, clean theme, wore white dress shirts, black vests, black bow ties, and black trousers.

Minimalist branding with pops of creativity

Female cocktail server in a charcoal shirt and black canvas apron made by Stock

Showcasing a harmonious blend of Japanese and Western styles, the uniform of Momotaro was designed with beauty and utility in mind. Lightweight charcoal shirts, textured with a subtle cross-hatch print, hang silk-like, paired with sturdy, water-resistant black canvas aprons accented with natural braided cotton straps. These straps, a nod to the dining room's rope detail, cross at the back for comfort, held in place by custom leather stoppers etched with the restaurant's Japanese kana logo. A nod to minimalist Japanese design, the shirts feature a modern stand collar, fusing Eastern aesthetics with the practicality of Western garments.

Modern and fun branding

Three side by side photos of a graphic print t-shirt server uniform and a front desk clerk in a navy suit made by Stock

At the Hu. Hotel in Memphis, uniforms elegantly blend past and present. Staff are attired in white oxford banded collar shirts and Japanese workwear-inspired navy blazers, mirroring the city's eclectic spirit. The narrative continues on the rooftop, where staff don custom graphic tees with intriguing iconography. This fusion creates a unique brand identity that resonates with the hotel's modern-meets-historical ethos.

Curated Looks by Stock 

At Stock, we’ve curated unique looks to fit the style of all different types of restaurants and staff. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for then consider creating a custom uniform design with us.

Modern Bartender Uniform 

This bartender uniform is perfect for any modern restaurant, bar or lounge. We’ve paired our double-breasted charcoal tweed vest with our timeless white oxford shirt and black service chino for a simple, clean look. 

This look includes:

Hostess Uniform

Hostesses often make the first impression when guests enter your restaurant. Our wide-collar blouse is the perfect statement piece to set the tone for any contemporary-style restaurant. Paired with our comfortable black jeans, this look is versatile, on-trend, and sure to leave an impression. 

This look includes:

Banquet Server Uniform 

This look provides a timeless elegance making it perfect for any restaurant going for an upscale vibe. This kit includes our black twill bistro apron which has all the necessary utility pockets for your staff. Combined with our white service dress shirt and stretch trousers for an overall clean and professional look. 

Casual Server Uniform

Our casual waiter uniform will elevate the vibe of any restaurant. Our grey stretch service chambray and black stretch service chinos are comfortable and provide a clean look. We paired this with our grey waist apron for added utility for staff. 

This look includes:

View all of our curated uniforms to find something that suits the style of your restaurant.


In the restaurant business, branding isn't merely about having a catchy name and logo. It's about crafting a unique, coherent identity that resonates with your target audience and sets you apart in the market. Each detail, from color schemes and typography to your menu and staff uniforms, embodies your brand's distinct personality.

Stock specializes in providing custom, high-quality uniforms that communicate your brand's story. Let us help you transform your staff attire into a powerful branding tool. Reach out to us today, and let's elevate your restaurant's branding through exceptional uniforms.