Having a restaurant business is one of the most challenging that one can have. Starting a restaurant is considered a high-risk venture and many restaurant owners can fail because they skip the marketing research stage. A deep analysis of the market penetration, targeted audience, product appealing and competition is a must before the grand opening, and even during the business development stage.
Before opening the restaurant
Many steps precede the opening of a restaurant business. The food industry is very competitive worldwide, so you’ll want to take all the precaution measures and be ready to face the challenges that might come. Therefore, you need to do your homework and figure out if your concept and products will be appealing to potential customers. Is there a need for your concept in the market you are trying to penetrate? Do your products satisfy and even exceed your customers’ tastes and preferences? Maybe your concept brings nothing special and you will be drowned by stronger and more established competition. To avoid failure and money loss, doing marketing research about a specific market is more than recommended. There are questions that only marketing research can answer. If you know how to ask the right questions.
Case study – innovative healthy food concept
Let’s imagine that you want to open a health food restaurant. As you already know, the food industry is chocked by restaurants that offer such options, so competition can pose a threat to your business. However, let’s say you can differentiate yourself from the other food concepts because you are planning to serve healthy food in an innovative, original way. A nicely designed box, foldable, recyclable and easy to take-away is your plan to stand apart. You are already considering yourself a step ahead of your competition. Unfortunately, this is the deal-breaker moment when being overconfident can work against your business. Are your customers ready to embrace this concept? Are you positive about the fact that such a concept can be well received by the market? What if customers associate the lunch box with the Chinese box which is considered by many not a very healthy food option. While your expectations are high, the public might not be ready to like or even try such a concept for various reasons. Therefore, you need to conduct marketing research to save yourself from a hard time later and be able to know your customers sooner than later. Questions like the ones above can only be answered by performing marketing research that can evaluate the needs, attitudes, and behaviors of your potential customers in what concerns your innovative concept.
6 months – 1 year after the grand opening
As soon as step one is done and luckily you have become a real restaurant owner, don’t get yourself too comfortable, research doesn’t stop here. There is always room for improvement and truthfully, first, you need to know if your business is meeting the customers’ expectations. This is the best time to gather some insights from your customers and improve their journey and experience throughout. There are many things that both customers and business owners want and that is to achieve and maintain: excellent customer experience, a competitive advantage over the competition and, of course, to always remain on-trend. Therefore, from time to time gather some information about all these aspects. Invite your customers to fill out a survey, ask for feedback and reviews, and transform these efforts into value. Value for your business. The information you receive from your customers is priceless because they are the ones that can make you fail or succeed.
Whether you decide to perform qualitative or quantitative research, it’s not necessarily about the numbers is about your customers’ thoughts and opinions, experiences and preferences. Regardless of your opinion about how you think your business is doing the only truth is the one that comes as customer feedback. Don’t get comfortable and take one step further to meet your customers’ expectations. It will bring tremendous value to your business.