Uneasy Times – What to Do?

The nation is apprehensive. People don’t want to “extend” themselves in their spending whether on restaurants, travel, durable goods or soft goods. Shopping center sales are down, restaurant sales are down, new and used auto sales are down, washer/dryer sales are down. So as retailers what do we do? Two things come to mind:

  • Examine and clean up what is existing.
  • Become more aware of marketing & merchandising opportunities.

What are we going to gain from this?

This is work. The results are directly related to the amount of effort, energy and time invested. And what will be gained? (1) The Brand of the restaurant will evolve to a higher level. Simply put, it will be a better restaurant; (2) The existing guests will want to come back more often because their experience is on a higher level; (3) The restaurant is more marketable to the community.

THE PROCESS

Step 1: Examine and clean up what is existing.

  • Develop an evaluation checklist for the various categories which would include: food & beverage, management & service, d√©cor & environment, marketing & merchandising and systems & controls.
  • Gather your key players together to commence a series of meetings to develop an evaluation list for each of the above categories. The list would include what is being done well and what needs improvement.
  • Once the list is assembled you will then need to do some evaluation of the items on the list in order to develop a direction. This is going to take some time. I suggest you meet weekly to do this, same time, same place.
  • Once a “direction” is decided upon you need to prioritize the items. Assign each priority to a “mini-committee” of two people: chairman and assistant. Timeline is critical. The committee will make a progress report at each weekly meeting.
  • As the head person you will need to check in during the week to coach and assist the committee chair.
  • Once you have made some progress on the prioritized items you can move on to the next step, which is to market what you do have.

Step 2: Marketing and Merchandising

M & M is the way you present yourself to your existing clientele as well as potential new guests. M & M includes advertising, public relations, in-store merchandising or inside the four walls marketing and local store marketing, which is community outreach. I hear all the time “We don’t have the money to advertise,” or “What do I have to do to bring more people in?” Sound familiar?

As you did in the prior phase you will need to meet on a weekly basis to discuss each one of the four categories, make a list, determine priorities, assign tasks, follow up with the committee chair and implement the plan. Be sure to develop a budget for each item and set realistic goals. Marketing is not hard if you make it your business. If you develop a plan with the team then it will flow and you will get results. It takes perseverance, focus, staying the course and doing fewer things better. If you take this path and stay the course you will reap the rewards of increased sales at a cost efficient price. Before you do anything be sure to spend the time analyzing the risk and reward. No jumping or knee jerk decisions.

If you have any questions on this process or need a hand facilitating it, please contact us.

Trials and Tribulations. You have to fail more times than not to understand success.