A new restaurant start up must examine the market to understand the customer needs. The restaurant owner must clearly draw the market area of his restaurant and understand where his customers visit. To achieve this you must conduct a restaurant competition survey.
The exercise helps to understand both the competition and unmet needs of the customers.
Restaurant Planning: Understand Your Competition
You and your restaurant consultant must be able to determine the restaurant critical success factors for a restaurant. You may have some pre conceived notions but this competition survey is good tool to revisit your assumption. The word determine has been used deliberately. Its assumes that there will be a proactive action which will infer the success of the restaurant.
This exercise can be done on your own or with a help of a restaurant consultant who can decipher the market.
Restaurant Market area
2 to 3 km around your restaurant is your market area. Destination restaurant may have people travel 20 km away but for most 2-3 km is where your business will come from. Take a map and draw your primary market. Your secondary market come from 3-5 km away. These are guidelines, modify them if you need to.
Identify the restaurant that exists.
Then identify those restaurants who will serve similar customer profiles.
Success & Failures
In your restaurant market, your restaurant consultant and you should be able to identify which restaurant have succeeded and which have failed. Identify what makes them special.
As a restaurant consultant, I recommend meeting the managers and staff and understand the restaurant operations. What are busy days? What do customers like? What are busy meals session?
You need to be able to identify what new restaurants that may be opening up.
When you look at the restaurant location, you need to be able identify where does the demand get generated from. What the visibility of the restaurant. How accessible is it? First floor restaurant in my opinion may tend to suffer than ground floor ones.
Its getting to be perquisite for any site. But examine how are the parking needs and challenges met. At this stage, examine what are the parking rules for your area.
Restaurant can get killed because they are on the wrong side of the road. How many people come there and how is an invaluable insight.
A restaurant succeeds and fails because of its appearance. By doing your analysis of the location see the quality of the appearance of the restaurant and how you could do it better. How is the layout. Is it overcrowded. Even the quality of lighting, HVAC are important indicators. The hygiene and cleanliness of the restaurant.
The food and beverage selection
When you look at completion, examine the menu. The quality of menu, no of appetisers. What are they famous for? The price range.
Change of Pace
Good restaurants offers a change of pace for their customers. When you look at your competition , identify what change are they offering.
Quality of Food and Beverage
You are asking what is your completion good at. This maybe because of the taste of food, presentation, menu selection or portion size or a combination of them. A reputation for consistency.
The hours of operations are vital. Is your competition closing for lunch sooner and so missing out on potential business. The style of service and quality of service. Are they kid friendly? The restaurants is empty because its has huge seating capacity. There are customers waiting because there are small restaurants. The dynamic of a small and a large restaurant are different. Can you pinpoint the difference?
Is there some promotion carried out by the restaurant. Any entertainment for kids or live bands that are offered. The reputation of these restaurants on food review sites. Are they chain or independent restaurants.
Banquets and Home delivery
Does they carry out banquets or home delivery and what is that contribution to their business.
Make a list of the overall strengths and weakness of the market. The insights may help you, if not break new ground at least not miss on those which make them special.
This exercise can be carried out on your own but use a restaurant consultant to decipher the findings with you. Its simple but results can be magical.
Please do give your feedback. If you need assistance from a restaurant consultant in Mumbai for a competition survey do drop an email.
To your success!