Market Strategy for opening a new startup restaurant in Lakeland, FL

One of the first things The Frog asks startup restaurants when we do initial consults at the Frog is who their client base will be.  Often entrepreneurs will tell us that they are hoping “EVERYONE.”  Sure, we would like everyone to come to our restaurant and eat our food, but more importantly you have to know who drives by the location, who lives in the area, what their spendable income is, what their menu interests will be and whether your food service concept is a destination in Lakeland or an impulse facility in Polk County.  (And we’re not even mentioning the demographic differences between Orange County and Osceola Counties when opening a restaurant and creating a business plan).  These are all important parts of your initial business plan and creating market strategy.

Here are a few things that I ask prospective restaurant and bar entrepreneurs:

  1. Are you serving white collar or blue collar?  This is important because both groups have different interests, palates and spendable income.  Let’s also look at the times they are available to eat and their motives.  Again, this isn’t a simple answer.  Let’s play out a little scene- if you’re hoping to get blue collar workers and offer a lunch special- do you have a parking lot which will accommodate truck parking, parking of semis or box trucks?  If you are looking at blue collar workers are they predominately male?  The male palate is different then the female and so are spendable income, markers on why they spend and how they spend.
  2. If you were opening up in Lakeland, FL I would ask are you opening by major arteries?  What other businesses are nearby?  What is the car count and can you do car counts at different times of the day?  Is it white collar, blue collar, children, high school, seniors?  Is the entrance of the restaurant an easy right on the appropriate traffic pattern for that time of the day for your peak meal in Lakeland?  So here is where it gets sticky.  If you are dependent on dinner- you need covers to make your bills based on dinner sales, then your restaurant or foodservice concept in Lakeland should be on the right side of the road for main traffic pattern flow for going home in the evening.  Is there ample time to actually turn into your parking lot if you are an impulse destination or will people be at neighboring businesses and see your signage?
  3. Now dear Frog friends let’s talk about some things that you might not have thought about because it just plain and simple wasn’t necessary in the business plan outline for your bank.
  4. Let’s talk about basic differences between Ft. Meade, Bartow and Lakeland… what exactly will differentiate your clients?  What is the median income?  Do you need valet parking?  Are your clients looking for organic grain fed beef?

This and so much more at the Frog- there is a reason we’re 100,000 square feet and have tons of classes focusing on startup restaurants and strategies and business plans.  Click the Calendar tab at the top of this website for more Frog classes and workshops you can attend as you start your dream!  On a whole side note, we offer free delivery to Lakeland, FL on either new or used restaurant equipment, bar equipment, commercial kitchen, bakery and all that jazz!

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