Whether you’re an aspiring Foodpreneur or on the path to becoming one, entering the food market, especially the restaurant business may not be on your hit list this year. But 2021 is expected to be a lot different than the harrowing 2020 and I personally know a lot of people who are just waiting for the right time to enter the market.
In my opinion, there’s no right or wrong time. There are only strategies that can either work in your favor or sink the boat altogether. One of the most successful, and prominent strategies of running a restaurant business is to find one's own niche. Trust me, knowing your niche and directing all marketing efforts towards it is not only going to put your brand on the map but also save you a lot of money in the long run. How?
Let’s understand this with a help of an example:
In the fast-food industry, there are many players that majorly focus on selling burgers. But McDonald’s and Burger King have swarmed customers all over the world with their remarkable level of standardization and of course, their pervasive presence. So when we think about Burgers, we automatically think about McD or Burger King. Don’t we?
These companies target the same section of the audience, but each of them has chosen a particular niche to target.
McDonald’s niche is Kid’s Burger Chain (Happy Meal)
Burger King’s niche is the Adult’s burger chain (The Whopper(ing) Beef Burger)
Even though both the brands sell the same product, each one has its own signature dish or let’s say Unique Preposition that allows them to stay in the business without competing directly with each other.
Finding a restaurant niche isn’t hard if you have done your research well. You really need to look through the market, and find the gap or perhaps, find an opportunity to create a new product that your target audience will love to indulge in. For instance; people love sushi, but for a very long time, it was a delicacy often predominantly enjoyed by only non-vegetarians. Today, you can find various restaurants that specialize in vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free sushi. In short, someone wanted to sell sushi, but with a twist - meeting the demand of the untapped market.
Here are the three steps that you can take to find your own restaurant niche:
Target Audience: Whom do you want to target? Kids, adults, vegans, health-conscious eaters - the list is unending. Healthy Restaurants have exploded in the last few years, but there are still untapped opportunities that new Foodpreneur can look into when entering the industry. Once you know your target market, their needs, and future expectations, finding a niche to entice them wouldn’t take long.
Research&Development: This is where the majority of work is required. You really need to invest time, money, and effort to find a profitable niche that your target market can resonate with. So let’s say, you plan to sell Meals in a Bowl - your job is to first research the players that are already working on the concept, followed by understanding their specialties and what makes their product sell. Is there really a demand for bowl meals? If it is, how will you make your bowls different from what we already have in the market? Your research and analysis will help you find your product’s USP, which will help you sell it better when the time comes.
Marketing: And Finally, the most important part of all, reaching out to the customers with a new story that revolves around your offering. A Ghost Kitchen that sells nutritious, healthy bowls? A Vegan-only Burger Place? Or Kentucky’s First No-Waste Kitchen? You know your story better, you know how to sell it - but whatever you do, ensure that it is something that your target audience will be tempted to buy-in. Think unique, but think from their perspective!
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Technology has taken over the restaurant market and customers have started relying on off-premises dining over on-premises to abide by social distancing norms. So if you are looking to start your own restaurant business in the near future, this guide will help you develop a profitable niche to stay competitive and relevant.