Hi Mark, Customer centricity is critical to making any business successful. Keeping this principle in mind, begin by segmenting your customer. As you think about your customers, you will note that they may not all be the same. They will be coming from different demographic profiles. Their preferences, demeanor, and attitudes are other. Their needs and wants will vary.

Once the customer segmentation is complete, you will move on to solutions or treatments that you need to set in place to address your customer requirements. These could be internal to your restaurant, like looking at your front staff, your chef, your payment process, etc. Before concluding your offering to the market, you should study your competitors.

Sam Walton, the great Founder of Walmart, spent a lot of time studying his competitors. His first foray into retailing began in Newport, the USA. It is in this small town where Sam acquired the franchise of a Ben Franklin variety store. The year is 1945. With little experience running a variety store, Sam Walton studied the store across the street, looking at prices, displays, operations, and products offered. He used the learnings and improved his newly acquired store’s operational efficiency. This simple strategy worked.

Sam observed an excellent demand for panties, nylons, and men’s shirts. He buys these in bulk directly from manufacturers at a lower price. Not just that, he keeps his markups low in the newly acquired variety store in Newport. The crowds flock into his store looking for bargains. He is soon the market leader in that town. Low prices in his stores in a small-town setting of just 7000 residents are the market demand generation triggers. In a closely-knit society of small Southern American towns, news on bargains travels quickly, and shoppers crowd in.

I have quoted the case of Sam Walton to illustrate and stress the importance of studying the competitor before finalizing your store offering.

The next step is market positioning. How do you want to position your restaurant in the market? It is a takeaway, fine dining, and fast food. Your restaurant has to be aligned with the market positioning. Once you have gone through the abovementioned steps, you will move on to branding and promotion. The choice of tools will depend on what you have learned from the steps enunciated above.

Let me stop here. But remember, whatever you do, keep the customer at the center. If you do that, you will see growth in your restaurant business.
All the best!

Business strategy expert

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