Everyone wants to have the "next hot concept" but what does that really mean and how can you go about making sure that whatever you open is going to be successful? The bottom line is if you understand the market you are addressing and either fill a gap their or else vreate something new for which you can see there is demand then you will have a winner. If you don't understand the market or you simply open what you think will work you are taking a much bigger risk for no good reason.
There are two general ways that a restaurant can successfully enter the market and hopefully your restaurant concept will fit nicely into one of these categories.
The first and most common goal of a restaurant concepts is to fill a gap in the market. A gap in the market simply means that there is an unmet demand for a type of concept that doesn't currently exist. In order to be successful you must identify that gap, quantify it to make sure it is large enough to support your concept and then execute your plan in a way that fills the gap.
A market gap can exist for a number of reasons:
Let's look at each of these briefly so you can understand them better and be able to identify them if they should appear in your location.
A gap that has simply never been filled his years as a result of being in a small population center. In a smaller town or area is very possible that there has never been enough demand or interest to support for example an ethnic food restaurant or health food concept. With time and population growth however and a shifting of demand that market gap may now be viable.
If the demand was filled by a restaurant that has since stopped serving that demand then there is a gap That can be filled by new location. Of course you must be careful to determine that the previous restaurant did not go out of business or change concepts as a result of a lack of demand which would not support the new concept either.
A population shift can alter the demand enough to support a new type of restaurant that would service the desires of a particular group has moved into the area. You don't have to wait until an entire new population has moved in to support a location you only need a shifting of momentum enough so that the new population plus a portion of the existing population that would also be interested are enough when combined to support the concept.
An economic dimension can work in several ways. If it is an economic boom in the demand shift may call for more higher end dining options. On the other hand in a declining economy there may be more of a call for lower end options. This can be a tricky call because price something that is easy for the competition to change and price alone will not provide a long-term differentiation for your concept. This applies much more to the low-end restaurant concept in the high-end concept although in either case it is something to watch out for. Therefore, while you may be able to enter a market based on price differentiation, you should still strive to have other points of difference in an appeal that goes beyond the cost of your food.
If the gap opens up because of shifting tastes there can be an opportunity and filling it. This actually happens fairly frequently, for example, the frozen yogurt craze that we have gone through twice in recent memory. Normally the way this happens is that a new concept will open up and be successful in one location and the buzz created around the concept will carry much farther than that location is actually able to service. This opens the possibility for entrepreneurs to take the concept into new locations where the demand has been created that there is currently no operation filling the gap.
It can be hard to separate the difference between a shifting tastes and the demand created by new marketing because in most cases the shifting tastes is not usually the result of actually sampling the goods. An example of a marketing driven demand is the sudden popularity of specialty bakeries offering cupcakes. The demand for upscale cupcakes was largely driven by publicity and exposure on television rather than a real shift in case or people who tried it in one place but were unable to find it where they lived. While this type of is real in the moment It can be uncertain how long the demand will last and therefore, again, you want to make sure that the concept offers real value and will be able to attract customers even after the hype has died down.
If the goal of your concept is to fill a gap that is a fairly straightforward approach to plan the rest of your steps. First you must make sure that you understand the gap well if you are clear on the parameters. Then you must follow the rest of the steps outlined in this chapter to further define the concept and plan something which will be both profitable and successful in meeting the demand you have identified.
The other way to approach her restaurant concept is with the goal of creating something entirely new. This is a more difficult approach because it is harder to identify specifically the market you will target and to know for sure that the demand exists. On the other hand the rewards can often be bigger for venturing into something undiscovered in uncharted because for a short while anyway you have the market to yourself and you have the opportunity to establish your own brand in the top position in people's minds for the market space are going after.
New is of course a relative term in many ways is better to be only slightly different resident trying to be entirely new. The more different you are the more you must spend time not only attempting to attract customers the first in educating them about what you are offering. Trying something completely different Is a much riskier path one that is less likely to be successful. The best approach is a middle ground where you may genocide As we did above the way you fill it maybe somewhat unique to other concepts have done in the past.
If the goal of your concept is to create something entirely new and the steps to take her the same as if your goal was to fill a gap but he must simply do more of the preplanning work in the market testing prior to opening if you want to be able to launch with the same degree of certainty of success than the less creatively ambitious restaurant entrepreneur will have.
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