I was driving by a restaurant location recently and I spied a sign that said: "Family Restaurant & Sports Bar-Grill." It made me wonder just exactly what this place really was. Was it a family restaurant, appealing to a man and wife with a couple of young kids or teenagers? Or was it a loud, raucous bar with 17 television screens all blaring different sports at the same time to dozens of mostly young men, all screaming for their favorite team, while consuming copious amounts of cold beer?

Does the sports bar have a children's menu, with smaller portions and lower prices? Does the family restaurant seating area provide visual access to the multitude of television sets? Is there any smoking permitted? What about inadvertent bad language, is that allowed? Do they deliver?

Facetiously I wondered if maybe they should have called it the: “Family Restaurant & Sports Bar-Grille-Bistro-Take Out & Delivery.”

These questions bombarded my mind while I searched the parking lot for cars to try and get an idea of who might be there on a Sunday night. The lot was about half full, but mostly the cars indicated potential ownership in the 18-35 male category....souped up rods, high-powered street cars...you know the ones with the dual exhaust and the mufflers that sound like a Mack truck on steroids. There also were a few clunkers and beaters too. 'Not really what you'd expect the average family to be driving—if they could afford to eat out.

As I got past this establishment I was reminded of the need to target your marketing efforts...right from the very beginning. Before you design your restaurant, KNOW who you are targeting.

In this day of extreme specialization, one must decide just "who" your desired target group is and then unswervingly direct everything you do towards that specific target group. I may be wrong, but my common sense tells me that, unless I'm missing something here, families don't mix with noisy sports bars...even if you do put the word "grill" or “bistro” on the end of the name.

So why would someone do this when investing so much money to open up a competitive outlet? Usually it's two things: greed and ignorance.

I know, strong words, but true. First off, from the ‘greedy’ perspective, many restaurateurs do not see the benefit of specializing or focusing on just one market niche. They reason that since they are going to be spending all this money on seating, signage, parking lot, kitchen, and decor, they might as well make it count for more than one group of customers. They want “all” of the business in their trading area...or as much as they can squeeze into their place.

Remember when McDonalds added breakfast? Essentially it was to maximize the daily use of a mostly-fixed asset...to get more bang for their buck out of the building, land, fixtures, furniture and so on. But how did they do it? They added to their existing menu-type (QSR) for their existing business, without disturbing their lunch and dinner business. And they did it VERY CAREFULLY over time; testing and re-testing until it was just right.

Some operators are afflicted by rank amateurism. They are ignorant of the laws of operating and marketing restaurants; they combine this not knowing or not wanting to pay for any expert advice, with their greed and need for even more return on their buck. They wind up with a mess that is almost impossible to market and profit by in this hyper-competitive retail environment. They make their most important decisions too fast. They don't do their homework, take a breath and double check their facts.

In fact, just this morning, I read a story about a couple in Wisconsin who had to shut their second unit down after only six weeks in business, because they had likely spent all their upfront money converting someone else's failed location into their desired concept; but now had no money for marketing their poorly located second unit. This is a sad story; but we see if every day. They likely grabbed the second location too fast, because it was available due to another's failure (did they ask why?) and then overspent, forgetting or not caring about the obvious cost to market a brand new location.

If you absolutely have to appeal to more than one target group, you have to pick a way to do this, by correctly choosing the target groups that might work together, either in terms of what you sell, or when and how you sell it. For instance, in this example of the unit I drove by, if they want to appeal to those two target groups, you might call your place a "restaurant" plain and simple; (use a name, like Derf's...which is Fred's, backwards); a restaurant that has a family skewed menu and prices, that (after ten at night until closing), offers television sets (take the cloth hoods off them at ten) and lots of sports with snacks and bar food 'till closing. Naturally, this might not work well, because even then, families might not understand that they are welcome, while the sports enthusiasts might miss many of their favorite games due to the time of day they are aired live, in real time.

To offset this potential drawback, you could record the most popular games and offer a special service for those sports folks who are not able to come over during the live telecast, but would love to show up at ten to see a videotaped version of the game then. This would be differentiating you and offering a niche service to the sports-oriented group, when the vast majority of the family diners had long since been home getting ready for bed. Chances are, the two different target groups would not mix at the same time.

In reality, it is best to have a primary target group and direct all your marketing tactics at this group. If you are only targeting your marketing efforts at one primary group, you will also save lots of time and money in doing so. You will be more efficient, accurate and use less of your or your paid advisers’ time marketing your outlet. Your marketing costs will be less than when trying to cover off all the bases in your trading area.

Your main objective, from a marketing point of view, is to make sure that you don't confuse and therefore not appeal to either target group.

You will stand there, wondering why your parking lot is so empty.

© Roy MacNaughton, 2008

Views: 0

Tags: bar, bistro, confusing, differentiate, grill, group, public, target, what, when, More…who

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Chains make chicken the star of the menu

High beef and pork prices are making chicken the go-to meat more than ever, boosting wholesale prices for producers and spurr -More

Americans continue to eat less fish

The average American is consuming only 14.4 pounds of fish per year, down from the record high of 16.6 pounds in 2004, Ben Di -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.

Restaurant Sales Bounced Back in March

Restaurant sales posted a solid gain in March, and bounced back completely from the recent soft patch. Eating and drinking place sales totaled $47.3 billion on a seasonally-adjusted basis in March, up 1.1 percent from February's upward-revised sales volume of $46.8 billion, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

McAlister's Deli Signs Franchise Agreement to Expand to Cleveland

McAlister's Deli announced it has signed a development agreement with an experienced multi-unit operator to develop three restaurants in the Cleveland, Ohio, area - the brand's first locations in the market.

Restaurant Trends - Growing And Emerging Concepts - Change and Activity April 16, 2014

Update from Restaurantchains.net on growing and emerging restaurant concepts

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Announces CFO Departure in May

The company has commenced a search for Mr. Hope’s successor, reviewing both internal and external candidates. Mr. Hope will assist in the transition of duties to an interim CFO and will remain a consultant to the company through the summer.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

TED: David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? - David Brooks (2014)

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

TED: David Sengeh: The sore problem of prosthetic limbs - David Sengeh (2014)

What drove David Sengeh to create a more comfortable prosthetic limb? He grew up in Sierra Leone, and too many of the people he loves are missing limbs after the brutal civil war there. When he noticed that people who had prosthetics weren’t actually wearing them, the TED Fellow set out to discover why — and to solve the problem with his team from the MIT Media Lab.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service