How To Analyze Competitors During Your Startup Phase
Analyzing who your competitors are, and what they are offering, can help make your restaurants cuisine, services and marketing stand out.
WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS?
Even if you’re the only restaurant in town you also compete with movie theaters, bars and other businesses where your customers will spend their money.
And don’t just research what’s already out there. You also need to be constantly on the lookout for possible new competition.
Where to look for competitors:
Local Business Directories
Local Chamber of Commerce
Flyers and Marketing Literature That Have Been Sent to You
Search the Internet for Similar Restaurants
Keep an Eye Out for Other Local Restaurant Build Outs In Progress
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR COMPETITORS?
How do your competitors do business?
What cuisine and services do they provide?
How are they market them to customers?
What prices are they charging?
Do they deliver?
Do they use any customer loyalty offers?
Who owns the business and what sort of person they are?
Check their website as well as local newspapers, radio, television and any outdoor advertising they do.
Look at their websites. Check any interactive parts of the site to see if you should offer it on your own website.
How they treat their customers?
Find out as much as possible about your competitors’ customers. Who they are?
What do customers eat or take out from them?
Are they long-standing customers?
What types of customer are they targeting?
LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT YOUR COMPETITORS!
Read about your competitors!
If they’re a public company, read a copy of their annual report.
Do they belong to networking organizations?
Do they get involved in community activities such as sponsoring events?
Look for articles or ads in the press or mainstream publications. Read their marketing literature. Check their entries in online directories and phone books.
SEE FOR YOURSELF AND GO TO YOUR COMPETITORS
Phone and face-to-face contacts will give you an idea of the style of the restaurant, the quality of their cuisine and the impressions they make on customers. Speak to your competitors. Go eat there and call in for takeout or delivery. Get copies of their menus and marketing literature.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR COMPETITORS INFORMATION?
Evaluate the information and research you have found about your competitors. This should tell you whether there are gaps in the market you can go after. It should also indicate whether there is a saturation of the cuisine and type of restaurant in your market, which might lead you to focus on less competitive areas.
Create a list of all that you’ve found out about your competitors, regardless of how little.
Once you have done that the next step is breakdown the information into three categories:
What they’re doing the same as you.
What you will be doing different from them.
What you can learn from and do better than them.
Exploit the gaps you’ve identified. These may be in their cuisine, service, marketing or even the way they treat, recruit and retain employees. Customer service reputation can often provide the difference between restaurants that operate in a very competitive market.
Most importantly as a startup don’t be complacent about your strengths compared to theirs. Your startup will still need improving and your competitors may also be assessing you. They may adopt and enhance your good ideas.
Finally when it comes to your competitors always be innovative and do not imitate what they are doing!
Opening a restaurant can be an exciting opportunity!
It is also an overwhelming experience!
Your Startup Phase Is The Most Important!
It’s important that you start efficiently, using your time wisely and keeping your startup costs under control.
In fact with the right guidance and information, you can be up and be running faster than you think!
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