You are here
Supermarkets today must clearly understand the restaurant marketplace and utilize these insights to develop successful foodservice strategies. In other words, to be successful, supermarkets must think and act like a restaurant. So, how do you do this? What follows is a step-by-step guide to creating a successful supermarket restaurant concept.
Step 1 – Market Trends and Needs
Understand what’s trending within the restaurant industry. Currently, fast-casual restaurants represent the main growth segment and it's being driven by key trends such as millennials adventuresome eating habits, consumer desire for customization, the shift toward healthier foods and concerns about product origins.
Step 2 – Concept Definition
Defining your supermarket restaurant concept will require you to determine the basic facts surrounding it, such as:
- Overall theme - What is the essence of the concept? Will it be health-oriented, multi-cultural, etc.?
- Type of cuisine/menu - American, Italian, Asian, Mexican or a combination of these
- Service style - Self-service or modified self-service whereby restaurant employees assist customers with food and beverage ordering, preparation, cooking and serving
- Price point - Determining what the pricing strategy will be. Will you be pricing to compete against your supermarket competitors, quick-service restaurants like McDonald’s or fast-casual restaurants and cafes such as Starbucks and Panera Bread?
- Meal dayparts - Will there be distinct breakfast, lunch and dinner dayparts, or will there be all day dining?
- Size - The total square footage and number of seats will be critical factors in helping to determine your financial model
- Financial - Annual sales and profit margin goals will be critical elements of your financial model and will also serve as important benchmarks and key performance indicators
Step 3 – Target Customers/Traits
Who is your target customer? Key considerations are gender, age, income, ethnicity, etc. It's also important to understand your target customer’s traits and desires (i.e. health-conscious, adventurous, concerned with product origin, price sensitivity). Once this is determined you need to figure out how your restaurant concept will respond to their traits and desires.
Step 4 – Key Competitors
Determine who your key competitors will be. Will they be both supermarkets and restaurants? Which supermarket and/or restaurant chains offer similar menus and price points that most directly compete for your target customer’s business?
Step 5 – Differentiation
Make a list of all the things your new restaurant concept will do better and different than your key competition. Will it have faster and friendlier service, broader menu, fresher food and ingredients, better value or a superior customer experience?
Step 6 – Brand Platform
At this point you will be in a position to develop your brand strategy which will consist of these elements:
- Purpose - The key reason for the brand to exist. The brand’s purpose reveals its motivation
- Values - The set of principles that guide the brand’s offering and behavior
- Positioning - The exclusive space the brand occupies in the market relative to competitors - its authority
- Personality - The human characteristics that bring the brand to life
- Promise - The core benefit promised and/or delivered at every opportunity
Step 7 – Creation of a Name and Brand Identity
Utilizing the brand platform as a guide, now is the time to create a name and brand identity for your new restaurant concept. Your brand identity will consist of a logotype and trade dress (color palette) that will be used in all forms of communications, including signage, product merchandising, packaging, napkins, employee uniforms, etc.
Step 8 – Designing the Restaurant Environment
The last step in the process is designing your restaurant environment. It's also the most costly step and takes the longest to complete. Some of the key elements of this step include:
- Floorplan – Determining the location and approximate size of the front-of-house (customer experience) and back-of-house (kitchen and operations); the flow and traffic pattern from customer and employee standpoints; and the dining seat count.
- Front-of-House – This is where your new restaurant concept will deliver its customer experience. It's important that your FOH include a variety of “customer operating zones” that make your customer experience unique, compelling and enjoyable.
- Back-of-House – This is the engine that drives your new restaurant concept. It includes the kitchen and all the supporting elements and activities to deliver your menu to your customers. A good BOH design is critical to turning out a quality menu in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
- Create an element of “theater” to engage the customer and differentiate your new concept. An open kitchen and cooking stations communicate important food cues, activates customer’s senses and enables them to see and smell the variety of food and beverage items you offer.
- 3-D Branded Interior - To create a unique and memorable customer experience you should concentrate on developing and executing a 3-D branding strategy. This will involve visually communicating the essence of your new concept and brand by integrating your brand positioning, brand identity and restaurant environment. This will create a three-dimensional interpretation of your new brand and concept whereby the environment itself will communicate the brand’s personality and distinction in the marketplace.
Creating a successful supermarket restaurant concept requires you to do your homework and follow a thorough development process. The steps and framework outlined here will set you off on the correct path and sound footing, and up your chances for success.