Celebrity Chef Richard Blais, restaurateur, author and television personality, was the keynote speaker at Shamrock Foods EXPO17. We are sharing key learnings from his presentation in a series of articles.
Product Differentiation Tips
Once the big idea has been solidified, a restaurateur should next look at the product. For Chef Blais, the idea for Crack Shack is chicken and eggs, all day. The product is the chicken, and the quality and message about the product is just as important as the big idea.
So, let’s talk about chicken. What do consumers want when it comes to chicken? There is a lot of chatter in the marketplace when it comes to free range, local and antibiotic free. Buzzwords can set your restaurant apart and cultivate a following, and differentiation is important when there is so much saturation in the restaurant business. The differentiation points need to be succinct and easy to communicate. A patron should be able to tell what your restaurant stands for.
Low price point?
Preparation or cooking technique?
High quality, premium product?
Efficient service model? – not a QSR but your ticket time is the quickest around.
Once the restaurateur finalizes the product differentiation points, make it visible and communicate it often. For instance, menus should reflect your point of differentiation. The goal is to offer a product that patrons will love, and restaurateurs need to often be comfortable with the “less is more” theory. Could it really be better if 10 people loved your product vs. 100 people liking it?
Chef Blais says absolutely.
It is also worthwhile to note that products have different purposes. There may be menu options that don’t necessarily sell well, but they might get people talking about your product. Take Chef Blais’ Flip Burger example. While a Foie Gras milkshake didn’t sell particularly well, it got people talking about Flip Burger. Every journalist was writing about it and something so simple created some buzz around the restaurant. Chef Blais stressed the importance of not putting a product on the menu simply for marketing, but that it’s smart to stay open-minded and realize different products will serve unique roles in helping your business be successful.
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