If you’re in the restaurant business, then you probably know how cutthroat it can be. Even in difficult times like these, when so many small businesses are closing down, there is still plenty of competition. Perhaps it seems as though there is too much, in fact!


Are you struggling to find something to give you an edge?

The answer could be right in front of you. It may even have been there all along – your restaurant logo.

Logos and Branding

Logos are small, but they’re super important. Overall, they’re one of the most vital pieces of branding that you can create.

And branding is a real make-or-break proposition. Some conservative estimates suggest that consistent branding can increase overall revenue for a brand by 23%, and others point to the fact that building a brand – and brand loyalty from your customers – is worth as much as ten times the amount of a single actual purchase.

In other words, your brand is what helps your business to thrive and grow – in a market which sees thousands of small restaurants fail each year, that’s a big concern!

Your logo is a keystone for your branding efforts. As such, it needs to make a big impact.

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What to Look For in a Great Restaurant Logo Design

There are a number of factors that hold true for good logo design, regardless of the market it is designed for.

Some of these factors include:

  • Memorability – it should stick in the mind
  • Uniqueness – it should stand out from the competition
  • Recognizability – it should be easily recognized even after only a few interactions
  • Scalability – it must have the ability to be resized without losing clarity
  • Adaptability – it should be ready to be used on a wide variety of backgrounds, in black and white or limited colors
  • Accuracy of messaging – it should be true to the brand behind the logo

All of these are absolutely vital to a good logo. A lot of features of graphic design are “in the eye of the beholder,” so to speak. But these points are non-negotiable if you want a design that serves your restaurant well.

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Restaurant Logos – Specific Elements to Look For

Moving on from more generic, any-market logo design, let’s talk about what makes a great logo for a restaurant, specifically.

Now, there are a lot of factors that play into an awesome restaurant logo design. What works for one type of restaurant won’t work for another.

For example, if you’re opening an upscale Thai restaurant, you likely don’t want a logo that’s marketed at kids with a gimmicky font and overly simplified graphics.

And there are even more subtle questions to be answered in your design process. If you’re opening a restaurant that focuses on ethnic foods, it’s important to make sure that nothing in the design could be seen as offensive to that culture, or even out of place – like Japanese writing on a Chinese restaurant logo!

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There are so many variations, it’s impossible to list them all. But here are some of the most important factors.

  • Type of restaurant. This includes both the sort of food you offer and whether it is a dine-in or a fast food establishment. Choosing graphical elements that reflect the cuisine you offer or the sort of restaurant you manage assists with accurate messaging.
  • Audience. It’s vitally important that you know your audience! This is true for any commercial endeavor, but especially so for a business like a restaurant, that depends so heavily on repeat customers.
  • Type of logo. There are several different types of logo to choose from, but the most common for restaurants are
    • Wordmark. Wordmark logos don’t have graphics; they are type-based and use the name of the restaurant as the logo itself. These are very popular with more upscale restaurants, as they tend to give a more dignified, special feel to the logo.
    • Mascot. A favorite of family-oriented restaurants, a mascot logo uses a character as a representation of the restaurant. Think of something like the bird mascot that represents Red Robin.
    • Iconic. This is a graphic-based logo type that uses an iconic representation of a real object. In restaurant logo design, this is often one of the menu items; for example, a hamburger restaurant might use an iconic representation of a hamburger.
    • Symbolic. A symbolic graphic represents an idea rather than a direct pictorial representation of a real world object. The McDonald’s golden arches, for a classic example, are both a lettermark and a symbolic logo.
    • Combination. This type of logo is what it sounds like: a combination of two other types, almost always a wordmark combined with a graphic rather than two graphics used simultaneously. This is an excellent choice for new brands who are building name recognition but who want a flexible logo.
  • Graphic choice. Choosing your graphic and the style in which it is done should be based on the first few elements listed here, such as type of restaurant and target audience.
  • Color choice. Color is a deeply important part of graphic design, especially for logos — and especially for restaurant logos! Take color psychology into account, and remember that restaurants benefit from lively colors, including red, yellow, and orange, as these stimulate the appetite and motivate the viewer to take action.
  • Font choice. Font psychology is also a real consideration for graphic designers. Of equal importance, especially for a wordmark or combination mark logo, is ensuring that your font choice is both legible and unique.
  • Simplicity. Logos thrive on simplicity – it’s a big part of what makes them memorable. Your logo will be more effective if it doesn’t use extraneous details or too many elements.

Creating Your Ideal Logo

Now that you’ve got the basics down, here are some very simple steps to follow to create your perfect restaurant logo.

  • Make sure you know your brand. This means having a very clear idea of the personality behind the brand, your audience, and the competition. Everything you design should be based around the personality of the brand; that’s how you ensure authenticity of messaging.
  • Research common graphic elements, colors, and fonts for your type of restaurant. It’s a good idea to have a clear idea of the trends within your restaurant’s niche; if they’re overdone, avoid them, but if they can be used in a unique way, trends are excellent tools to help build recognition.
  • Keep it simple. As you design, if you come across elements that aren’t necessary, take them out. Be ruthless.
  • Get feedback. It’s always a good idea to ask for an unbiased opinion. Especially since your logo will be viewed by many and associated with your restaurant from here on out, it’s important to make sure that it’s effective and free of any mistakes.
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Creating a restaurant logo that anybody would be proud of isn’t the easiest job in the world – but it can definitely be done. Just make sure to stick to accurate messaging, and follow the simple tips laid out here, and your ideal restaurant logo is practically as good as done!


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