Lou Lou’s is a typical French brasserie located in Marmion Road, Southsea. Brasserie Lou Lou’s offer a delicious range of classic French cuisine, made using produce directly imported from the gastronomic capital for authenticity.
At Divine Aesthetic we worked with Lou Lou’s Brasserie to develop a strong visual identity, that can be used throughout their menus, website and business stationary. We caught up with Charles Tourres, the owner of Lou Lou’s, to discuss branding, websites, social media and starting up a business.
What inspired you to create Lou Lou’s
“I’ve been in the restaurant trade since I was 17, so my background has always been catering and restaurants. I worked my way up to management within some large companies, but it became difficult to meet the targets that they were setting, as they were just unobtainable, so I decided to go and start my own business within the sector.
I liked the idea of being my own boss, and being in control of my hours, putting together my own menus, and generally not having the restrictions that I had when I was working within a company.”
Has the idealistic view of being your own boss etc met your expectations?
“Yes and no; yes because I am now at the point that I want to be, and no because I didn’t expect it to take as long as it did. It all worked out in the end, but the development towards this point involved a lot of investment! But it was definitely worth it.”
How would you describe the typical customer that visits Lou Lou’s?
I would say that they are mostly local to the area, with some of them visiting everyday. At the weekend it is normally people from out of town that are visiting the area, but I do have a set of loyal customers who return time and time again, which is great.”
There are a wide variety of restaurants within Portsmouth and Southsea; a relatively small area. Did you always feel that having strong branding would be key to success in standing out from the crowd and attracting customers to visit Lou Lou’s?
“At the very beginning, I didn’t think that having a strong brand mattered, but then I realised that actually, people associate with strong brands so much and it really is an important element of creating a successful business. That’s why I decided to get Divine Aesthetic involved. Divine Aesthetic created a consistent brand identity for Lou Lou’s, so now when people see it they immediately recognise the brand.”
What is it that you liked about Divine Aesthetic?
“I liked the fact that the service is really friendly, and I am able to get through to speak to someone about any queries I may have. Mark is great to speak to, as he is always there to give me advice or ideas. I also like the fact that the studio is local, and I am able to pop in to the studio to see how my designs are coming along.
I’ve had lots of customers comment on the branding and the printed products, saying how nice they are. People really like the business cards, and comment on the great quality. I think I’ve gone through double the amount of business cards than I had previously!”
What would you say has been your biggest obstacle in the development of your business?
“I think that changing the business to what it is now, from what it was when I brought it, has been the biggest obstacle. The customer base has changed completely from what it was originally, and it was difficult to make sure that I was making people happy, but also pushing the business in the direction that I wanted to go. I stayed focused, and I feel it worked out for the best!”
Does Lou Lou’s have a social media presence? Do you use any Social Media platforms to promote your business?
“I have recently started using Instagram, and I try and post 2/3 times a week, with different images of the food at Lou Lou’s, and various offers that we are promoting that week. It’s great because people interact with the page, and I can get more feedback from posting images like this than I would from putting an advert in a brochure. I’m interested in trying some Facebook targeted advertising too.”
Do you feel that having a strong brand created for Lou Lou’s has helped you build your business?
“Yes definitely, I feel like people do recognise it now, and its great to have a consistent theme running through all of the branding, and like I mentioned earlier, I’ve had some great feedback from my customers on our business cards, logo and menus.”
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?
“I would advise them to definitely get a website designed! I didn’t have a website for a while, and then I came to Divine Aesthetic to get one designed, and I wish I had done it sooner. People are now using the Internet so much more, and it seems ridiculous to not have a web presence. I think having a website is invaluable, as people are so much more likely to search for ‘Brasserie Southsea’ and visit our website, than look through a printed brochure and notice us. Although I think that advertising in a targeted printed brochure, such as the Food and Drink Guide, can work well, as you know that the sort of people that will be looking through the guide will be interested in what we have to offer.”