Last week YUM, Inc. reported astronomical gains as sales and profits continued to climb for the fast food giant.
This is truly a sign that the shift in the restaurant industry and the menu items that we offer is making a swing from the high end to the moderate and possibly the low end of the spectrum.
As gas prices increase almost on a daily basis, as mortgage payments become more difficult to meet, and Americans struggle to keep things afloat, the industry will see a shift in the way Americans dine out. Let’s face it, what once was an event, eating out has become a regular art of daily life. And, as we see consumers eating out more regularly we also have o realize that they are searching for value in their dining adventure.
For the time being the high priced fusion entrée will suffer as the competition for dinner heats up. Not only is YUM – the largest restaurant operation in the world – a major force in capturing dining dollars- they are also a force in molding the palate in the way the world eats. With 35,000 locations of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, they set the standard in many markets. How do we compete with the $1.00 taco? How does the bucket of chicken from KFC compare with our menu offerings? Those are all questions that we need to ask ourselves if we are going to compete.
But, YUM is not the only competition that whittles away at the disposable income of our customers. Go to any local grocery tore and most have morphed into restaurants with their hot food steam tables, pasta bars and pizza ovens. Every where we turn food is readily available. And, for the most part it pleases the palate with culinary mediocrity.
Now don’t run out to the cooler and toss the organic vegetables and free range chicken. There is hope for the creations of talent. However, pricing and value are more important now than ever. Begin to think of creating menu item that appeal not only to the taste buds of your customers, but also to their pocket books.
Analyze how you can entice your regulars to join you more for diner. Do you offer a take out menu? Do you make take home meals easy to order and attractive to eat? Nothing upsets customers more than enjoying a great meal in your restaurant, deciding to order a take out meal and being disappointed at the value once getting it home.
Explore the possibility of doing a family dining night that will allow a small family to eat for a reasonable price. A rotisserie chicken will easily feed a family of four if the size is right and the vegetables are plentiful.
Finally, take a look at who else in your marketplace is cutting into your dining dollars. Evaluate what they are doing, add some style, develop a marketing campaign and go after the competition. There is only so much money to go around. Making sure you get your portion may mean increasing the ones you serve while reducing your prices.