Right now, I am in the middle of the restaurant management program that I teach. My poor wife could tell you on any given day what I happen to be teaching at the time because my enthusiasm level jumps from one subject to another based on what happens to be going on currently in the classroom. Right now that means marketing. Yeah, I know.
I just introduced to my students the concept of competitive analysis. Looking at what the competition is doing and how you are going to react to it is an important part of marketing. This comes up with consulting clients all of the time, too.
What are they doing down the street? What are they charging? These are just a couple of the things that I think are important to be monitoring. I was the manager of a place in town and I happened to notice that we were charging only $74 for Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. That seemed a bit low to me, so I called a few other places to see if they had Silver Oak on their wine list and how much they were getting for it.
The answers ranged between $100-$150. I loved that this particular place was not about gouging customers on wine prices, but clearly we were not charging enough for this sought after wine. That’s what we call, ‘leaving money on the table’.
It’s not just about the money
You must anticipate. Again, this is something I tell my students and my consulting clients all of the time. Look at what the trends are in the industry. What is hot? What are people going for these days?
I know you are a great chef and everything, but if people at any particular moment are not in to what you are creating, they won’t buy it, and you won’t be open very long. Looking at what is going on down the street, or around the corner can give you some hints.
Are they offering a happy hour? Specialty cocktails? Early dinner or late night specials? I am sure that what you are doing is unique, as it should be, but if you are not paying attention to the other things that customers are asking for, you will lose out to the competition.
I have a friend who decided to not change, but tweak, his menu and concept a bit. He realized that as we came out of the recession, customers were not in to the big over-the-top fine dining experience anymore. The new trend was for smaller plates of food. So he adjusted and is now experiencing a bit of a renaissance in his restaurant. Good for him.
Remove the ego
Yes, I know, I have said that on one occasion or another. https://tabletalkpdx.com/2013/12/31/
But it is true. It isn’t about you, but rather what your customers want. Pay attention to what is going on around you and then give it to them.