Chris Gibson is an author, a franchise veteran and a F&B specialist with over 25 years of experience in the industry. After heading up some well-known brands that have restaurants all over the World, he is now based in the Middle East and is developing some exciting new food concepts with a vision to take these to new markets. Gibson talked to foodHQ about the brand consistency strategy.
When you think of your favorite restaurant, what is the first thing you think about? Is it the food that you can almost smell and taste as you think about a favorite dish? The perfect menu choices that you know so well? the feel and ambiance of the dining experience? Or the faces of the friendly staff that always smile and say hello as you walk through the door? Whatever the answer is, the one thing that sums up the whole experience is ‘consistency’.
This is something that is becoming increasingly important in the food and beverage industry all over the Gulf and is regarded as a priority for many brands this year. This isn’t something new for the restaurant industry, and I can see restaurant owners projecting this saying “we are consistent”. And if that is the truth, then it’s good news. However, if any part of ‘The Consistency Strategy’ is missing or is inconsistent, then it is very possible that a brand will suffer decline in sales and loss of identity.
What does this really mean?
The short answer is that brand operators need to step back and take a good look at where they are and where they are going in 2018. Their focus must be on serving the same high quality every day by using the same raw materials. Making sure that the staff members are greeting guests well requires investing in time and effort in staff through encouraging and training them. Sometimes an outside look at the business is important to go over all consistency factors. Bringing in consultants for a business health check can be very useful.
There are some major brands in the Gulf that are doing this in 2018 with very good results already, through external assistance or internal focus groups. Customers like simple choices in their favorite restaurants, not big changes and confusion when they want to order. In fact the biggest mistake that restaurant operators often make is adding new items to the menu in an attempt to increase sales. This usually only dilutes the sales total between more items and it rarely increases sales revenue. For example, a brand known for coffee but also known for muffins and quick snacks has an identity, however, if it decides to add pasta and meat, the brand identity will be lost. So what is the message to F&B operators in the Gulf? Follow the lead of the successful brands and preserve your identity. How? Follow the ‘Consistency Strategy.’
Author, Franchise Veteran and F&B Specialist