Have you noticed that Kodak is nearly out of business. Growing up in the
1960’s and ‘70’s, every family had a Kodak Camera and I still have one of mine.
Those yellow boxes were everywhere and getting your very own Kodachrome camera
was seemingly a rite of passage, heck, Paul Simon even wrote a song about it.
As digital cameras gained popularity, Kodak stuck to what they believed. They
sneered at digital’s quality, righteous in their knowledge that Americans would
NEVER give up shiny pictures for their photo albums.
Today, cell phone cameras take most of the pictures and they are rarely
printed. Kodak will shut the doors, correct in their assertion that
professionally developed pictures look better than low-resolution versions
uploaded to Facebook.
dead and correct is not a great strategy.
Today chain restaurants are either growing or
dying much the same as Kodak. Simply look at restaurants that filed bankruptcy
of late: Claim Jumper, Mr. Pita, Friendly’s,
Chevys, Sbarro, Perkins. They are
not all dead but they have been far from right.
These are statements frequently heard from legacy restaurant operators. Like
Kodak, crystal clear that what has always worked will continue to work.
• Our executives have 30 years of experience and know how to run the business.
• We never use coupons, nor do we deliver.
• We don’t allow our brand to wander, we protect our brand.
• We don’t use online ordering, I-pad ordering or voice screen ordering.
• We don’t advertise on Google, Twitter or Facebook.
• We don’t open for breakfast.
• We like the umbrella approach each store different personality but under one
• Video menus and video signage is visceral gimmickry.
• We don’t measure ingredients, we create daily specials and simply show
employees how to make it
• We can’t raise our menu prices.
How did a dominant brand and sector leader like Kodak, in a rock-solid consumer
staple lose everything? Simple, they determined the market, the direction of
that market and took the steps to conquer it.
If that sounds like your restaurant, retail food sector or niche leader,
you better keep reading.
There is little about today’s market, the consumer or food marketing /
promotions that was predictable 3 years ago. In the next three years the rate
of change will continue to increase. So let’s look at the above list:
Reliability and a comfortable working relationship is correctly a key to
success. However, if you find your team
is blaming the economy, minimum wages increases, cost of health care and rising
food cost for disappointing results. Do not forget that many restaurants
companies are growing both the top and bottom line, number of units and
garnering market share. It might be time
for Outside Eyes.
We always/never use coupons – coupons and promotions are very complicated
today. Add the online aggregators the ilk of Livingsocial and Groupon and how
can you know what works. Here is the point, what you measure you manage. All
advertising must have a objective that is clear and measurable to insure a
proper marketing ROI.
We don’t deliver – face it, convenience is a driving reason why foodservice is
popular. If you do not want to deliver, consider outsourcing. Delivery is not about you. That’s right it is
about the consumer.
We protect the value of our brand and its integrity for the consumer,
our shareholders and stakeholders. We
know the consumer is dynamic not static, but our customer’s comeback because we
have a brand promise and they trust in us to keep that promise. Sounds a lot
like Kodak, don’t you think?
We don’t use online ordering our food does not “carry” well. Think about this if you don’t have a way to
connect your menu to computers and mobile devices, your competition will woo
your customers. Consumers are time starved, and hooked on technology, make it
Google or Facebook – as above, set up a Facebook page, it costs nothing. Have
someone help if you need it and then monitor your page 5 minutes a day. Don’t think about it get started today.
We don’t open for breakfast – you pay rent 24/7, find ways to increase the
utilization of your “factory”. Considering catering or school lunch program,
contract out your kitchen. Don’t become
the next Kodak of chain restaurants.
Different store brands / personalities under one large corporation and all
expected to operate utilizing a uniform set of metrics. Worked well in the 70’s, 80’s but you have
the answer. Let me know just how well
that works out.
Visceral gimmickry does not replace high quality food and great service
ever. Who defines quality service? You
via your brand promise and the consumer.
We don’t measure ingredients; my employees know how much to use – why have menu
prices, let customer pay whatever they want. If you don’t care what your
product costs, you CAN’T make money.
We can’t raise our menu prices – tell that to the gas station owner on the
corner, or the farmer growing your food. Costs are up, you must raise your menu
prices or you will not exist.
Kodak management, smart and hard working as they were, did not see the world
changing, fortunately you do. Realize that change is good and necessary. Act
now to challenge your assumption, create new revenue streams and increase
profits. Success does leave clues,
Disney movies leave you with a smile, being dead and correct is not a great
For international corporate presentations,
educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at
Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.
His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator,
consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave
success clues for all. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant