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Marketing Plan : Competitive Analysis and Strategy

  • What products and companies will compete with you?
 List your major competitors with names and addresses:

  • Do they compete across the board with your entire business, or just for select products, customers, or only in certain locations?
  • Are there any important indirect competitors? (For instance, personal chefs compete with restaurants, even though they are different businesses entirely.)
  • How do your products or services compare with your competitions?
Below is a Competitive Analysis table
  • Use the table to compare your company with the two most important competitors to your business.
  • In the first column of the table, there are some standard competitive factors; of course you may need to customize the list of factors for your unique business.

In the column labeled My Business
  • Evaluate how your business compares to your competitor’s to your prospective customer.
  • Then consider whether each of these factors are strengths or weaknesses to your business. It may be difficult to evaluate your own business weaknesses but it’s better to be honest than misguided.
  • Another option is to consider asking someone outside of your business to help you with the evaluation. The Small Business Administration can help you connect with a business professional to act as your mentor. That person can add invaluable insight into the business planning process. A neutral observer can help you evaluate your business without the emotional attachment you bring to the picture.
  • Next, use the table to analyze each of your competitors. Briefly sum up how they compare to your business. 
  • Finally, think of how your customer will view these factors – how important is each of the criteria to the customer with 1 being critical and 5 being unimportant.

How to Write a Business Plan

Many potential start-up businesses are daunted by the prospect of writing a business plan. But it is not a difficult process - and a good business plan focuses the mind as well as helping to secure finance and support.
The business plan will clarify your business idea and define your long-term objectives. It provides a blueprint for running the business and a series of benchmarks to check your progress against. It is also vital for convincing your bank - and possibly key customers and suppliers - to support you.

1.    Executive summary
  • The executive summary outlines your business proposal. Although it is the last section to be written, it goes on the first page of the business plan. It will be read by people unfamiliar with your business, so avoid jargon.
  • The executive summary highlights the most important points and should sum up your product or service and its advantages, opportunity in the market, management team, track record to date, financial projections, funding requirements and expected returns.
2.    The business
  • Explain the background to your business idea, including the length of time you have been developing the business idea in its present form, work carried out to date, any related experience you have, the proposed ownership structure of the business.
  • Explain what your product or service is. Make it clear how it will stand out as different from other products or services, your customers will gain through buying your product or service, the business can be developed to meet customers' changing needs in the future
3.      Markets and competitors
  • Focus on the segments of the market you plan to target - for example, local customers or a particular age group.

Benefits of Standardized Recipes

Consistent food quality

The use of standardized recipes ensures that menu items will be consistent in quality each time they are prepared and served.

Predictable yield

The planned number of servings will be produced by using standardized recipes. This can help to reduce the amount of leftover food if there has been overproduction, and also will help to prevent shortages of servings on the line. A predictable yield is especially important when food is transported from a production kitchen to other serving sites.

Customer satisfaction

Well-developed recipes that appeal to students are an important factor in maintaining and increasing student participation levels. Schools may take a lesson from national restaurant chains that have developed popular menu items consistent in every detail of ingredient, quantity, preparation, and presentation. Standardized recipes provide this consistency and can result in increased customer satisfaction.

Consistent nutrient content

Standardized recipes will ensure that nutritional values per serving are valid and consistent.

Food cost control

Standardized recipes provide consistent and accurate information for food cost control because the same ingredients and quantities of ingredients per serving are used each time the recipe is produced.

Efficient purchasing procedures

Purchasing is more efficient because the quantity of food needed for production is easily calculated from the information on each standardized recipe.

Inventory control

The use of standardized recipes provides predictable information on the quantity of food inventory that will

Franchising : Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Franchising
  1. The franchisee’s lack of basic or specialised knowledge is overcome by the training program of the franchisor. 
  2. The franchisee has the incentive of owning their own business with the additional benefit of continuing assistance from the franchisor. The franchisee is an independent business person operating within the framework of the franchise system. This provides the opportunity through hard work and effort to maximise the return from their business and the value of their investment. In all franchise networks there are three basic levels of performance, despite the fact that all franchisees are provided with the same raw material. There are the high flyers who do extremely well, having the right attitude and approach, as well as some entrepreneurial skill which enables them to make the most of their opportunities. Then there are the average performers, who operate the system and basically achieve the anticipated performance levels and in line with their expectations earn a decent living. Their attitude and approach is sound, but they lack the flair of the high flyers. Finally there are those whose performance levels are low. These are people who joined the franchise with best of intentions, but they now lack the will or the aptitude, or have changed their mind and want to get out of the franchise. They clearly made a mistake in the first place by going into self-employment, and they perhaps deluded themselves into believing that their franchisor would remove all the risk for them. 
  3. In most cases, the franchisee’s business benefits from operating under a name and reputation (brand image) which is already well established in the mind and eye of the public. Of course, there will be new franchise schemes which are in the process of being established and in which the name will not yet be well known. This is a factor to recognise and to make allowance for. Picking up a sound, newer franchise in its early stages can be a good proposition but the risks are higher. 
  4. The franchisee will usually need less capital than for setting up a business independently because the franchisor, through their pilot operations, will have eliminated unnecessary expense. 
  5. The franchisor provides the franchisee with a range of services which are calculated to ensure, that the franchisee will enjoy the same or a greater degree of success as the franchisor has achieved. These services will include:

How to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Restaurant Business

by Stan Mack

Te you will have trouble standing out from the crowd. Gaining a competitive edge requires a detailed analysis of the demographics of the surrounding area and the nature of existing competitors. And even if you are successful at first, new competitors could enter your market at any time to steal your clients. Don’t hesitate to adopt successful strategies from your competitors, but understand that directly competing with an entrenched rival is a bad idea for a beginning restaurateur.

Step 1

Find an area with few competitors that serve food similar to yours. Pizza places, for example, face enough competition from other types of restaurants without having to fight each other.

Step 2

Che restaurant industry is highly competitive. Unless you have a star chef or a novel cuisine, chances arhoose a highly visible location that has a suitable consumer base nearby. For example, don’t open a family restaurant in an area full of office complexes. A residential area with a high percentage of families with young children would offer more potential clients, especially if there are relatively few local restaurants currently serving that demographic.

Step 3

Analyze the local competition after you’ve chosen a location. Chances are any region you choose will have at least a few competitors who target the same consumers. Other restaurants are obvious rivals, but supermarkets, convenience stores and any other businesses that sell prepared food are also competitors.

Step 4

Identify the strengths of each competitor. For example, a supermarket’s ready-to-eat meals are

An Overview of Different Restaurant Types

author: Monica Parpal 

There are many different restaurant types out there. New restaurants open all the time, and concepts vary from pizza chains to fine sushi restaurants to breakfast cafes and even restaurants that specialize in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Despite the broad range of restaurant concepts, most are classified by one of three major restaurant types, including full-service, fast-casual and quick-service. This article details the challenges and opportunities operators face within each restaurant type.

Full-Service Restaurants
Full-service restaurants encapsulate the old-fashioned idea of going out to eat. These restaurants invite guests to be seated at tables, while servers take their full order and serve food and drink. Full-service restaurants are typically either fine dining establishments or casual eateries, and in addition to kitchen staff, they almost always employ hosts or hostesses, servers and bartenders. Two standard types of full-service operations include fine dining and casual dining restaurants, discussed below.
Fine Dining
Fine dining restaurants top the ladder when it comes to service and quality. Fine dining restaurants usually gain perceived value with unique and beautiful décor, renowned chefs and special dishes. Listed below are some of the features, challenges and advantages of running a fine dining restaurant.
  • Prices. Prices for entrées are often $20 or more.
  • Service style. Service style for fine dining restaurants is top-notch. Well-trained and experienced servers and sommeliers attend guests, providing excellent knowledge of food and wines.
  • Atmosphere. The atmosphere in a fine dining establishment is one of the keys to its perceived value. The lights need to soften the mood, the music should reflect the concept yet not overpower the guests' conversations, and the décor should add an elegant and unique perspective. Fine dining establishments strive to create an overall exceptional dining experience for guests.

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