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the Restaurateur

Picking the Right Restaurant Concept

October 03, 2013

The importance of developing a catchy and relevant concept.

As is the case with most business ventures, simply having a great product and service is not enough to stand out in today's highly competitive restaurant industry. While excellent menus and superb service are a great stepping stone on the way to opening a successful restaurant startup, there are other factors that entrepreneurs must consider as well.

Among these factors is a unique concept. A concept is a common term used in the industry to describe an establishment's service style, cuisine and atmosphere. Restaurant owners should start broad and whittle down their concept based on factors such as their experience, the location of their business, the target audience of the restaurant and the level of competition within the area. This should result in a standout concept that people will remember and will keep coming back to long after their first meal./

Most restaurants start by defining their concept by first determining what type of food they want to offer. Customers should immediately be able to tell what a restaurant's specialties are, whether it's Irish, barbecue, Mexican or any other type of cuisine. Once entrepreneurs have done that, they can begin tweaking the concept to make it their own and differentiate it from others.

For instance, a Chinese restaurant could become a family-centric eatery that sells platters serving multiple people or it could skew older by offering a wide variety of trendy drinks and cocktails.

A unique concept can be a key differentiator, especially when trying to penetrate competitive marketplaces, so it's crucial that entrepreneurs develop a catchy and relevant concept. Of course, it's possible to also create a concept that doesn't resonate with local customers for one reason or another. This is why it's so important to understand local audiences and what they're looking for.

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