Ensuring the success of the restaurant industry’s long-term future

If you own a restaurant or you’re thinking of operating one, then planning for its long-term future is probably a big concern of yours. Just like any business, the restaurant industry is full of challenges and changes that affect of its’ lifespan. To ensure its continued success, a well-thought out plan is definitely a must!

The restaurant business needs a market analysis before its set-up and during its operations in the market. The said market analysis would generally tackle various factors in the target market such as: age; gender; occupation; income; and education among others. By identifying these factors, the people running the business will have an idea on how to serve their customers and thrive in competition with other restaurants catering to the same target market.   See the previous chapter for in-depth market analysis information.

To do forecasts of the restaurant industry’s long term future, it is important to first analyze the current situation of the business.  In fact, there is a need to study its operations and various conditions as it progressed from “Day 1” to the present.  And this can only be done through assessing and updating the restaurant’s business plan.  This is not to be confused with the business plan you created when you were first starting up.  A business plan should be updated frequently to insure that you are meeting your goals and objectives.  Having a frequently updated business plan will help you chart your progress and make intelligent decisions regarding expansion or any other facet of your business.

For starters, it is best to identify the various factors involved:

1.  Business summary highlights

2.  Company history

3.  Analysis of marketing strategies through the years – product, price, place, promotion

4.  Detailed comparison of competitors

5.  Complete products and services offered and its evolution to what is available at present

6.  Sales strategy and forecasts

7.  Quality assessment of management and operations

8.  Study of financial plan, records of profits and loses, and the like

9.  Others

Change is constant, and to ensure the long-term success of the restaurant industry, then changes in various areas of society have to be factored in present conditions and future forecasts.   These are said to include the fluctuations in variables affecting the target market and in everything else that the business encompasses.

Moreover, a business plan that caters to the long term future of the restaurant industry must be conceptualized.

A good restaurant business plan will entail the following:

•  Outline of company’s goals

•  Competent understanding of the company’s niche

•  Organized plan that allows room for growth

•  Incorporates changes and other societal conditions

•  Viable and realistic financial plan

•  Other pertinent data

Specific answers to the following questions must be answered by the forecasts:

1.  What are the market trends in the restaurant industry?

2.  How are these trends changing?

3.  What is the future market trend forecast based on population growth?

4.  What are the predicted characteristics of the target market in the long term future of the   business?

5.  How is the restaurant seen to evolve with various changes in the market?

6.  What are the product and service changes seen down the road?

7.  How have the competitors evolved?

8.  What are the financial projections?

9.  How will financial support be strengthened and maintained?

Various marketing strategies will help in ensuring the long term success of a restaurant. Many restaurants have actually implored the use of some of these marketing tools.

A.  Use of In Store marketing

•  Launching of products

•  Promotional items and discounts in the store

•  Posters, flyers, leaflets

•  Restaurant design

B.  Use of community marketing

•  Community programs and charity work

•  Promotions for locals

•  Sponsorship of local events

C.  Use of Media

•  Press releases in magazines and newspapers

•  Product features

•  Advertorials

•  Advertisements and commercials (if applicable and within budget)

•  Celebrity testimonials and/or client testimonials

•  Billboards

•  Brand exposure through sponsorship

Aside from the above-mentioned marketing strategies; it is important to take note that the quality of products and services must be maintained and developed.  In fact, to ensure long term success, there must be brand equity and a strong loyal customer base.

To recap the long and laboring process; ensuring the long term future involves updating the business plan of the restaurant industry, quality control of products and services, brand development, application of various marketing strategies, and the like. 

Staying in the restaurant industry may prove to be a very satisfying and rewarding experience.  On the other hand, mismanagement and incompetent analysis of the market may also lead to huge financial losses. Thus, every step taken in this competitive industry must be carefully weighed and properly implemented.