What Is Your Competition Doing Better Than You?
You probably know the restaurant industry is a crowded arena. In some cities, new restaurants pop up regularly, filling an already crowded market.
So, how do you stand out from the crowd? How do you gain that competitive edge that places you at the top of the pack?
One of the best ways to do this is by knowing your competition. Ask yourself, “What is your competition doing better than you?”
If you can answer this question, then you can establish a strong marketing strategy while implementing any necessary changes to position your restaurant at the top of the crowded marketplace.
Define Your Competitors
First, you want to define your competition. You have to know who can challenge your restaurant. This is usually a restaurant that offers a similar menu to yours, but it can also be any restaurant that threatens your livelihood.
For restaurants, the competition is stiff because everyone in town is fighting for a piece of the “pie.”
There are a few types of competitors:
- Your direct competitors provide the same menu you offer, or they are located very near to your restaurant.
- Occasional competitors either provide a similar but slightly different menu, then you, or they are located far enough from you that they aren’t direct competition.
- The final kind of competitor is external, and this is a restaurant that doesn’t provide competition now but may in the future.
Your most important worry is the direct competition followed by the occasional competition.
When you first start analyzing your competition, you want to write down all of these restaurants and include an assessment of their location, menu, ambiance, service, parking and digital presence.
Things to Consider
When evaluating the competition, you need to look at their brick-and-mortar locations as well as their website and social media platforms. (tweet this)
You can find out a lot about your competitors by visiting their website, mystery shopping and perusing their online presence. Consider these things:
- Check out the usability and look and feel of their website.
- Research their presence on social media – which platforms, where are they most active?
- Sign up for their email newsletter so you can see what they’re sending out to their customers.
- Peruse their menu and make note of their offerings and their pricing.
- Evaluate their brand and their messaging.
- Talk with their customers when possible.
- Mystery shop in their restaurant to look at the feel of their restaurant, meal presentation and customer service.
It’s a good idea to ask the following questions as you evaluate the competition.
- Who is their target market compared with yours?
- Do they have any competitive advantages over your restaurant?
- How do their prices stack up to yours?
- Do they offer specials? Do you?
- Does the competition send regular emails to their subscriber list? Do you?
- Are they active on social media? If so, where? Are you?
- How is their menu compared to yours? Do they offer more or less than you do?
- What are their hours compared to yours?
- Really look at your customer service in relation to theirs. Oftentimes the restaurant with the better service is the one that stands out.
- Do they have a good brand image?
- How long have they been in operation?
- Is their restaurant clean? Is yours?
- Do they have a special niche? Do you?
- What might they do better than you?
Once you’ve looked at these things, you’ll begin to see how you measure up. Then you can get to work to elevate your restaurant slightly above the competition.
How to Gain the Advantage
Now let’s look at how you can beat the competition and gain the edge.
First, you can provide added value. This is something you give your customers that is more than what they’re getting from the competition.
This added value can come in many forms. For example, it could be a very special chef, a better menu, farm-to-table, organic ingredients or home delivery.
Another thing to consider is customer service. This is an added value that makes a big impact. If you concentrate on training your employees, and you adopt a company culture with a goal of excellent customer service, you’ll see your restaurant edge above the competition.
Make a plan for enhancing not only the experience of your customers but of your staff. Happy team members equal happy customers.
Create a culture that emphasizes employee morale. This leads to an enhanced customer service strategy.
Next, you might come up with a unique idea or approach. To do this, you have to know what your competition is doing in the way of marketing or running their business.
Ask yourself if there’s something no one else has done before. Then, do it yourself.
Third, you can take a good look at your menu. Is there anything to get rid of or perhaps add? Can users easily navigate your menu? Is it appealing to look at?
Finally, you can talk to your customers. Whether it’s an online survey or face-to-face meeting, find out what they think about your restaurant in comparison to the competition.
You may learn things that would’ve never occurred to you.
It’s hard to be objective about your own restaurant, but you’ll find that your customers are happy to share their thoughts.
It’s also worthwhile to engage your employees. Have a brainstorming session where you discuss ways to beat the competition.
It’s extremely important to the success of your restaurant to monitor your competition.
You want to know what they’re doing better than you so you can edge your restaurant slightly above theirs.
If you don’t work on getting to know your competition, you’re missing out on new marketing opportunities and the possibility of growth.
While there certainly is room for multiple restaurants in a community, you want to position your restaurant so it’s the first one diners think of when they’re ready to go out to eat.
Be careful not to imitate the competition. Be an innovator. Take a chance and develop a strategy to propel your restaurant to the top. (tweet this)
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to your restaurant and edges you above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!