Seeing a long line of people waiting for a hot dog at a hot dog stand might make someone want to get a stand of their own. That’s the long and short of the food industry – it’s a booming market, but it’s also a saturated one. In this example, this particular vendor is doing well enough to form a line for his product even though there’s probably another guy with a hot dog stand right at the corner.
What is he doing right? Or, more importantly, what is the other guy doing wrong? Similarly, if you were to run a restaurant, your first question would have been, what makes a restaurant succesful?
Identify Your Competitors
The food industry might be a crowded one, but there are limitless possibilities of what could be conjured up in the kitchen. You need to identify the people or the businesses you’re competing against. Understand that this competition does not have to be a direct feud with the restaurant owner, but rather with their menu.
The first type of competitor is a direct competitor. They provide the same items on their menu as you do, or they give the same atmosphere. If it’s a particular cuisine or a specific theme, they might have one that’s wholly or significantly similar. These competitors are usually closer by.
An occasional competitor isn’t perceived as a threat under everyday circumstances. These businesses have an identity different from yours, but there are some faint resemblances here or there. For example, they might serve some of the same food as you do.
Indirect competitors are not necessarily people in the food industry. These are external factors that might affect your business. It is essential to identify and categorize everyone in the vicinity and the threat that they pose. Follow it up with comparative analysis in sales and customer satisfaction. Then plan a strategy accordingly.
Branding and Imaging
If you’re in the food industry, your food needs to be good. That’s a given. However, your food might be the best in the city, but you would have to close down if people don’t order from you.
The 21st century is the age of technology and social media. Anything and everything can be found online—for example, food places in the area. Your job is to create a presence for yourself on social media and brand your business as something people want to eat. You can create amazing menu designs using a menu template free available online.
This includes social media strategies, PR, and endorsements. At the end of the day, the cost-benefit analysis of it all pays off.
The food industry is competitive and often ruthless. If you’ve followed through with your dream of opening a business, you shouldn’t be deterred by other companies opening too. Instead, it would be best if you worked towards making yours better. This primarily includes building a great product (in this case, the menu) and coming up with a strategy to popularize it. You’ll be making the bucks in no time!