Casual Dining Restaurant Chains Are In Peril

Casual Dining Restaurant Chains Are In Peril

“If its Not Broken – Don’t Fix It”

This old mantra will kill your business – slowly and painfully….

Below is a great article that all Restaurateur’s should read! Although written for Casual Dining Chains – The implications are just as applicable to Independent Operators – Maybe even more so than chains!

While much of the industry has been in steady decline over the past few years – there are plenty of operators doing well – growing sales and market share – and profits…. It Can Be Done!

Please read the article for your own benefit – But I would like to highlight a few of the authors conclusions & recommendations for you here along with some of my own comments…

** Don’t Discount – build loyalty and sales based on providing a full-service experience! Take the dollars that you would give up in the form of discounts and invest them in marketing – technology upgrades – customer service training – Anything rather than giving the cash away – Doing so only devalues your menu and your overall reputation among consumers – Don’t Do it!

** Ensure that you are staffing to offer the proper experience that our current guests are demanding – Studies show that Service Complaints are up 47% over the past two years – it is no wonder that sales are declining…. Cutting staff purely as a reaction to labour cost without properly looking at customer service is a recipe for disaster

** Differentiate – not a new concept or idea – But a critical one – “Fresh” is hottest word in the industry currently – BUT – “Fresh Thinking” and “New Approaches” are critical to not only survival – BUT – growth and prosperity!

** Technology Innovation is critical – don’t watch it happen – Be a Part of It! – Anything that can give you an edge – whether it is reducing wait times – increasing cooking efficiency – or better controlling costs \ ordering \ inventory – It is absolutely necessary to ensure your future!

** Use the analytic information available to you – There is plenty of it available – Understand where your sales come from – what marketing reaches people – what menu items bring them back – which do not – Which Items generate profit for you - The information is available – USE IT!

** A unique Culinary Point of View – Signature Items are not just another “buzz term” – You need to have items that customers rave about – come back for – AND bring their friends in for! Being the ONLY one that does what you do is a much better marketing position than trying to be the best at the same things that others are doing! Signature Items & Signature Menu strategies create Category leaders -And don’t forget – in order for this strategy to work – It must deliver 1) Customer Satisfaction & Interest 2) Profit Maximization & 3) Revenue Growth –

Without all three of these critical items – It Wont Work!

** You Can Never Make it Too Easy to Buy From You – do you take advantage of everything available today – Do you accept all credit cards (including American Express) – Interac – Do you offer your products through Uber & Skip the Dishes – Do you accept on-line reservations – Do you offer call ahead seating – Can you accommodate special dietary needs, product change requests – Customers expect more flexibility than ever – and if you cant or wont provide it – they will find one of your competitors that will!

There is plenty of opportunity to be better – to sell more – to grow – to increase profits – Success has always, and will continue to belong to those with forethought – with vision – and with a total understanding that the market is changing – and will always continue to change! Recognize this – embrace it – become a part of it!

2008, Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes told a Motley Fool writer that “neither RedBox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition.”