Running a Restaurant: The Competition

When you’re putting together your restaurant or continuing one, you know you have competition all around you. There is something you must throw out of your mind right now about them: you can not coexist. I know, it sounds sad, but you can never assume this because new competition pops up all the time, whether it’s the new kid on the block or an old dog who picked up a new trick. Peaceful coexistence does not exist. It doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly with each other, but remember you’re all trying to get the same people to come in. Be nice, but take no prisoners.

The first thing to do when it comes to your competition is knowing who they are. There are two types of competition. Your direct competitors are the places that offer similar prices, ambiance, and food as your business does. If you have a pizzeria, then the pizzeria down the street would be direct competitor. Indirect competitors are the guys who may have similar prices and ambiance, but not food. Again, if you’ve got a pizzeria, the burger joint next door is an indirect competitor.

Make a list of your competition, which you will probably find is any restaurant within a 20-mile radius. Of course, that’s the first shot at the list; upon closer inspection, you will probably find the list isn’t as extensive as you thought it might be. You should then find out how they advertise, as they will give you a hint to the market they’re appealing to and you might be able to get a share of that market. Think of it this way: you think it’s a surprise that you find advertising for pizza and beer during football games? Of course not; men, typically, watch football and they also, statistically, enjoy pizza and beer, so it’s a perfect place to advertise. That doesn’t mean you should be buying TV spots, but if you’re looking to bring business to your pizzeria, you could afford an ad in the sports section of your local newspaper.

The point to remember is that your restaurant has to try and keep a hold on the market. You’ve got competition all around you, and while it would be nice to just “get along,” you all need to survive, so be ready to do some battle.

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