By Alex Koons

Branding is crucial to standing out in the vast sea of competition. It imparts and implants meaning and establishes your pizzeria’s identity in the minds of customers and future customers. It encompasses your service, products and presence in the community. It includes your visual identity, color palette, design, typography, imagery and—arguably the most essential piece—your logo.

hot tongue merchandise rackA logo is a single image that can say so much about your pizzeria without using any words. Not putting enough time and thought into your logo, I think, is a big mistake that will cost you money in the long run. It’s one of the best tools to help push your brand on every platform. And it has the potential to make your brand iconic.

For instance, what’s one of the most used items in a pizza shop? The pizza box! It’s going to wind up at meetings, parties, schools and soccer games. Missing the opportunity to stand out in these situations would be foolish. Your box and logo should yell (YOUR PIZZERIA’S NAME) loud enough to be heard a mile away. 

There’s also merchandise, hats, T-shirts—I’ve even seen businesses selling socks that sport their logos. Creating a distinctive, personalized image that your customers want to proudly flaunt around town—with your logo on their back—is some of the best advertising there is. And they’ll pay for it!

Marketers talk about touch points—all the places your guests find and visit you via the internet. A good logo helps make all those touch points cohesive. Your customers may find you on Yelp, but when they click to your website, there should be a cross-pollination of images that stick in their minds, ensuring consistency everywhere they find you on the internet.

Related: How to build a positive culture that sells more pizza

Consistency keeps your food on track every day, and it’s similarly important throughout your branding process. A similar feel across all your touch points builds an identifiable presence for you on the web. An eye-catching logo is the easiest way to make sure your pizzeria is instantly recognized and remembered. People think in patterns. We like to make connections. So creating a logo that yells out (YOUR PIZZERIA’S NAME) without even using a word is huge.

Finally, your logo and brand should encapsulate your shop’s vibe, ethos and food. What does your brand stand for? What does your logo say about you? Is it exciting? Captivating? These should all be easily answered questions. If they’re not, my advice is to hit the drawing board or have someone else do it for you.  

Alex Koons is an industry consultant and the owner of Hot Tongue Pizza, an all-vegan pizzeria, and Purgatory Pizza in Los Angeles.