Taste of Africa Restaurant Marketing Plan Texas A&M University-Commerce EXECUTIVE SUMMARY It’s no surprise that Americans mostly eat out.
It’s predicted that the restaurant industry in the United States will have sales of about $580 billion and a 2. 5% percent increase compared to last year. By looking at these figures, we can see that the industry has not been affected as much as other businesses by the national economic crisis. The restaurant industry remains the number one private industry to provide jobs in the United States.
The growth of the industry has been stable but the trends and needs of customers have changed.Due to the increasing amount of immigrants, people are now looking for new flavors and cuisines this year. Asian, European and South American foods are so common the United States public that they are barely considered foreign. Therefore, customers want new tastes to experiment (National Restaurant Association [NRA], 2010). For this reason I have decided to create an African restaurant called Taste of Africa in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC.
The Restaurant Taste of Africa is going to be a full service restaurant that provides authentic African appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks.The goal of the restaurant is to provide lunch and dinner in a casual atmosphere that people from all ethnic backgrounds can enjoy while providing awareness of the African cuisine. The restaurant has a long term goal of expanding its business into other food related industries such a catering, recipes books and cooking classes. Taste of Africa plans on becoming a household name in the United States. The location of Washington, DC was chosen because of the diverse ethnicities in the region. The presence of other successful African restaurant shows that there’s a demand for African Cuisine.The Washington DC area is full of open minded people who are willing to try new things. Another reason this area was chosen is because of its financial strength.
Residents of the area make salaries well above average and can afford to eat out compared to other areas in the USA. Also, the presence of the government and other big companies makes the area financial condition strong even in economic crisis. The marketing mix of the restaurant is going to help Taste of Africa stay competitive in the marketplace and provide high customer value.
The lower price of the food, the customized flavor of food, the cheaper promotion via internet and the accessibility and visibility of the restaurant is going to differentiate the restaurant to its competitors. Once marketing plan is implemented, it will be evaluated yearly and revised if necessary to meet new needs and new trends. Expenditure control by the owner will assure that resources are used efficiently. Overall, efficient strategies and opportunities have been studied to turn Taste of Africa into a successful business. SITUATION ANALYSIS Market AnalysisThe restaurant Taste of Africa will be located in the city of Washington DC and will have as target market, individuals living or visiting the Washington DC metropolitan area who are looking for a casual lunch or dining experience. The Washington DC area, also called National Capital Region or Washingtonian area has several characteristics which make it a great market to pursue. First, the area has a large diverse ethnic population.
Twenty-five percent of residents are immigrants and the number of foreigners is expected to grow in the future. (U. S.Census Bureau, 2000) It also is house to 400 international associations, 700 internationally owned companies and 150 foreign embassies. (“About Washington DC,” 2008) The high ethnic diversity of the area allows its residents to be familiar with other cultures, therefore make them more likely to try different cuisines. It reduces skepticism, provides an open mind and respect towards different ethnicity. There are multiple ethnic restaurants all over the region serving Asian, European, South American and African cuisine and those restaurants cater to all kinds of people.
The high number of immigrants also makes it a great market to not only attain new customers who aren’t familiar with African food but to also serve the African community. Another attribute that makes the Washingtonian market very attractive is its size. According to the Census Bureau ([ACS], 2008), the Washington Metropolitan area also called the National Capital Region has an estimated population of 5,476,241 and is considered the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States of America. Also, the area receives 15 million visitors each year who spend approximately 5. 24 billion yearly.Out of those visitors, 1.
2 million are international visitors. (“About Washington DC,” 2008) The large size of the market promises high sales, therefore a high return on investment. The National Capital Region has a strong economy. The area is very well educated. Sixty-one percent of the residents hold a bachelor degree.
“The DC area is less than half the size of L. A. , but both cities have around 100,000 Ph. D. ’s.
” (De Vise, 2008) The high level of education in the region translates to people having high paying jobs, therefore higher disposable income to spend on food.The American Community Survey (2008) states that 28% of the region’s households have an annual income that exceeds 200,000. This percentage is really high considering that the national average is only 3. 7%. The two counties with the top median household income in the nation, Loudoun and Fairfax County, are actually located in the Washington DC area. (ACS, 2008) The financial position of the area makes it a very good market for businesses.
The consistency of the National Capital Area job market makes it a safe place to start a business. A great number of people in the area work for Federal or state government.Since these two organizations almost never lay off, even in times of economic depression, we can predict that the area offers a good financial stability.
Twenty-five Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the metropolitan area. Having solid companies in the area can reduce the number of unemployment. In July 2010, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010) stated that out of the 49 large metropolitans surveyed, the DC-MD-VA area had the lowest unemployment rate. Even in times of recession, this area shows multiple signs of financial strength and stability.Industry Analysis The restaurant industry is a very profitable industry in the United States.
The National Restaurant Association declares that it makes up 4% of the United States gross domestic product and employs 9% of the United States workforce. Even though this country has been in a great economic depression, the sales in the full service restaurant market have not suffered as much as other industries. With sales predicted to increase by 1. 2% in 2010 and continue to increase as economy improves, it is a business that has potential for a good return on investment. NRA, 2010) The workforce demand will also grow in the future. Restaurant industry is predicted to be a huge player in the economic recovery of the United States.
With the high rate of obesity in American, the National Restaurant Association (2010) declared that Americans are becoming more careful about what they consume. US citizens are looking for healthier food options to satisfy their needs. More people are eating organic and low calories foods. Consequently, nutritional issues are changing items served in the food industry.Restaurants who serve healthy foods are emphasizing it in commercials.
The number of calories of meals is now listed on menus, something that was inexistent before. For a restaurant to be successful in the current days, its menu needs to be revised and adjusted to assure that it meets current customers’ demand of a healthier diet. Threats Just like every other businesses in the United States at the present moment, the restaurant industry is threaten by the economic situation of the country. Americans are becoming cautious spenders.
People are eating out less to save money.The full service restaurant industry sales have increased but to a slower rate compared to the years before. More customers are looking for value and when eating out, choose to eat at fast foods because they have cheaper prices and do not require tipping.
(NRA, 2010) Since Taste of Africa will be a full service restaurant, it will not attract customers who are just looking at price in order to eat out. In order to attract price conscious customers, the restaurant will show customers that they are getting a high value for their dollars.Another threat the restaurant will face is competition. The competition in the food service industry in the United States will become more extreme as the expansion of the industry continues.
(NRA, 2010) The same can be said about the National Capital Region. There are hundreds of restaurant in downtown DC only and millions in the whole region. Therefore, customers have an abundant amount of options to choose from to satisfy their needs. Some of them already have restaurants that they go to frequently too and to convince them to eat at another restaurant could be very difficult.Also, people residing outside the neighborhood where the restaurant will be located may be reluctant to leave the multiple amounts of restaurants walking distance from their residences to come eat at an unfamiliar restaurant. The type of cuisine served at this restaurant can affect the success in competition.
The African cuisine is still in its introduction stage in the region. Italian, French, Caribbean, South American and Asian food are more common cuisines in America. They have been accepted and are part of every American’s life.Unfortunately, many Washingtonians are unfamiliar with African food and as a result are skeptical about African cuisine. In response many African restaurants only target to African customers.
Taste of Africa, on the other hand, targets all residents and visitors of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. The restaurant will need to adjust taste to match American taste without jeopardizing loosing African customers who want to eat there too. In addition, it will need to provide as much information and education about the food it will serve.Avoiding items that are acceptably consumed in Africa and repulsive in America, such as cat or dog meat, on the menu will be vital in making the restaurant successful. Even though Washington DC area is uncommon with African cuisine, there are popular African restaurants that attract and cater to all ethnicities and are very successful. Restaurants such as Ghana Cafe, Meskerem, Bukom and Cafe Trope have been around for years.
They hire top African chefs but still manage to sell food at an affordable price. These competitors are also located within five miles of Taste of Africa.Residents of the region are very familiar with those restaurants. They not only serve food but they become lounges after 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. During those times, They open a dance floor and DJ’s or live bands play African, European and American music. In all, their reputation, the recognized chefs who work for them and the nightlife entertainment they provide can make those restaurants more attractive to customers and become a danger to the success of Taste of Africa.
The restaurant industry can be very difficult to enter because it is highly regulated by the Government.Before a restaurant opens in Washington DC, there are several licenses and certificates required. According to the Washington DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the first step in opening a restaurant is obtaining a certificate of occupancy. This certificate confirms that the place of business (the actual building) does not violate with the building and zoning codes. After getting the certificate, it is necessary to register the business with the Office of Tax and Revenue to receive a tax registration certificate. The owner or owners of the restaurant also go through of process called the Clean Hands Certification.
Each owner of a business in the city of Washington DC needs to have his background verified to make sure that he does not own taxes, fines, interest or penalties to the city. Once the process is complete, the restaurant owner can now apply for a Basic Business License application. Even after filing for all of the listed certificates and licenses, the restaurant needs to be inspected by the Department of Health to make sure it meets all the health standards. The Department of Health also makes sure that there’s a Certified Food Supervisor present at all time the restaurant is open.Some supervisors who do not meet this specific requirement will need to take classes offered by the Health Dept.
There are also other licenses necessary such as a liquor license to be able to serve alcoholic drinks. (Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 2010) Overall, the need to meet specific state and federal standards can make the process of opening a restaurant long and costly. Opportunities There are only 21 African restaurants in the Washington DC area. The small amount of African restaurant reduces the amount of competition for customers who want to satisfy their hunger needs with African cuisine.Customers who are looking for Asian, European, Caribbean or South American cuisine have tons of options to choose from, therefore business in those industries have a great amount of competition.
Entering the market of African cuisine at such an early stage can bring many advantages such as brand recognition and customer’s retention. Before other businessmen recognize the need for African restaurants in DC, Taste of Africa would have established a good reputation in the market. The population of the region will already know about Taste of Africa services and would more likely chose to eat there over any other new restaurant.
It will be more difficult and costly for those new restaurants to steal away Taste of Africa’s customers. Having the capability to retain existing customers is a great asset to have. The restaurant industry can open doors to many other businesses. One of them is the event catering industry.
Catering is defined as “the business of providing food services at a remote site. ” The catering industry is divided into several segments. The social segment includes catering for social parties such as weddings, birthdays and retirement parties, etc….There’s also the corporate segment which comprises catering for seminars and company parties. A catering business can also become the food providers for businesses on a regular basis. For example, caterers can provide food for airlines or cruising companies. According to the National Restaurant Association (2010), the demand for catering is expected to increase over the years. More people are looking for fresh prepared meals for events without dealing with the arduous task of cooking for a large group of people.
Providing cooking classes is another opportunity presented by the restaurant industry.With the financial situation of the country, people are no longer eating out as much as they use to. Instead, they are looking for ways to eat restaurant food without the cost associated for eating out. (NRA, 2010) For this reason, offering cooking lessons is a great way to not only make people aware of the restaurant but to serve the needs of those customers. Some customers who enjoy eating certain meals at restaurants also want to learn how to cook them for their families and guests. This niche of customers is also interested in taking cooking classes.Cooking classes can have a drawback since they can only be provided in person and may only be available in a certain area. Writing and selling recipe books can be a great way to decrease the disadvantages of cooking classes and is also another business segment a restaurant can enter.
Recipe books can be sold every in the country and even all over the world. It can reach millions of potential customers who are interested in the cuisine at Taste of Africa but who do not have the possibility for paying for cooking classes or traveling to the Washington DC area to visit the restaurant.Another benefit of selling recipe books is that it establishes awareness of the Restaurant in other parts of the country; which in turn can facilitate the promotion and opening of another branch of the restaurant in other areas. OBJECTIVES With Taste of Africa, one of my objectives is to educate the Washington DC area public about African cuisine. I also want to turn it into a popular place that residents and visitors of all ethnic background will go to for lunch and dinner. Since many restaurants make none or small income the first year of business, many of them struggle to stay open.
The goals for the first couple of years will be to establish awareness of the restaurant’s name in order to increase customers and revenue. After about 5 years of business, I plan on expanding the business to take advantage of other markets. I would also like to open other Taste of Africa restaurants in other cities who display similar demographics and needs as Washington DC. In the long term, 10-15 years from now, I would like Taste of Africa to become as popular as Mexican restaurant Chipotle.
MARKETING MIX Product The restaurant will serve African food in a casual atmosphere in Adams Morgan in Washington DC.Taste of Africa will serve appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The beverages will comprise of sodas, fruit juices and some traditional African juices such as ginger juice and bissap, a drink made from red flowers of hibiscus. Many African restaurants only cater to an African clientele and do not offer explanation of food neither do they provide variety in flavors.
This forces their customers to either like or dislike their food. It also scares away new customers who are unfamiliar with the African cuisine. In order to familiarize customers with the food and avoid skepticism, Taste of Africa menu will include detailed descriptions of each meal.Since African food is typically very spicy, in order to cater to customers’ needs and flavors, the restaurant will allow clientele to choose the level of spices, 0 (not spicy)-5 (very spicy), of each main entree and appetizers on the menu. Ginger Juice and bissap are very sweet and can be considered unhealthy for certain customers. The drinks will be made sugar free so that each customer can decide the appropriate amount of sugar in their drinks and satisfy their own taste. By providing these additional service features, Taste of Africa will not only differentiate itself but it will also cater to a variety of customers.
Therefore, the restaurant will more likely increase its revenue. Price The food price at Taste of Africa will range from $5 to $25. Most restaurants that are comparable to Taste of Africa have prices from $10 to $30. With prices lower than the average, Taste of Africa will be affordable even for the price conscious customers.
Also, providing taste adjusted food at lower prices than competitors will create high customer value. Unlike competitors, the restaurant will offer a special dish where a customer will be able to order sample of five different items on the menu for a fixed price of $20.It will be up to the customer to choose which items he wants to eat. This will allow customers to become familiar with several dishes at once. By doing so, customers will be able to decide which food they like or dislike and which items to order on their next visit. Having multiple food items served at once will reduce the chances for a disappointing experience.
For those customers who are already familiar with the food, it will allow them to order their five favorite dishes from the menu and eat them all together. The price of the food will increase as the restaurant gains recognition and sales increase.The restaurant will remain in the price range of other local casual restaurants to stay competitive. Promotion Many new businesses have a limited amount of capital. For that particular reason, many strategies will be used to limit promotion expenditure. Fifty percent of the advertisement will be done via internet. Internet allows businesses to reach out to a large amount of people anywhere in the world.
Visitors of the area can be aware of the restaurant before they even come to Washington DC. As a result, it will facilitate the expansion of the restaurant into other markets.Residents of the region can become familiar with what the restaurant has to offer without having to come to Adams Morgan. “Social media will become critical to restaurant marketing this year.
A good plan and solid understanding of those tools-including Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Youtube can help operators mitigate the economic environment. ” (NRA, 2010) Social networks have been a great way for businesses to advertise themselves on the internet at no cost. Taste of Africa will have a Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace account.
Those websites also give you the option to add images.To take advantage of this feature, there will be pictures of different food items offered at the restaurant to give people an idea of what it served at the facility. Food decoration will be a high factor online because it will be used to make the food more attractive and draw clients. Any news and updates will be posted on those accounts to keep people informed of what the restaurant has to offer.
One option that social networks offer is to have customers write reviews and comments about their experiences at Taste of Africa. The comments are visible to any users who visit the page.This can help a lot with advertising. The Director of Vantage Point Venture Partners once said “What we think of marketing doesn’t matter, but what people actually do does matter. ” (NRA, 2010) Social network are very effective in targeting a group of people in certain locations. Users of those sites usually indicate where they reside.
Therefore, the promotion can be designated to residents of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. The restaurant will send mass emails, messages and videos to the particular targeted group using social networks.Besides using social networks for promotion, the restaurant will have its own website. The website will help reach potential clients who do not use Facebook, twitter or Myspace. The website will contain all the information of the restaurant just like the Facebook, Twitter and Myspace account. By having its own website though, the restaurant can offer convenience by allowing customers to order food online. Only five of the African restaurants in the DC area provide that benefit. Having a presence on the internet is a great way to attract customers nationally and internationally.
To attract professionals and businesses, once per month, Taste of Africa will offer free catering for 25 people or less to different companies or particular departments. Even though this can seem a bit costly, it is cheaper than paying television or radio advertising. Companies like The Noodle House have been using similar strategies for years. Having people actually eat the food is a better incentive for making them visit the restaurant at another time.
Providing food to employees and companies will increase word of mouth among not only professionals but other individuals as well.Since Taste of Africa first goal is to build brand awareness in order to increase sales and revenue, this can be a great strategy to become successful. It can also help expand the business into the catering industry in years to come. Place The restaurant Taste of Africa will be located at 18302 18th Street in the city of Washington DC in the neighborhood called Adams Morgan. For centuries, Adams Morgan has been the heart of cultural blend of Washington DC. While walking the streets of this neighborhood, you can find restaurants from all parts of the world.
Most of its restaurants provide a very casual atmosphere.Residents and visitors of the region who want to experience different cuisines and cultures go to Adams Morgan. Weekdays during lunch, this neighborhood attracts all types of professionals working in the city.
On weeknights, Adams Morgan is full of families and young adults who go out for diners. Throughout the weekend, it caters to a different type of crowd; most of its restaurants become full of young professionals and college students. Most restaurants turn into lounges after 10pm where international music is played by DJ’s or live bands and people are free to dance until 2 am.Adams Morgan is a place that is always full of people which makes having a restaurant in this area visible to many locals and visitors. Adams Morgan is not only visible to many different groups of people, it is also easily accessible. Bad traffic in the DC area is a big issue, whether it is during the week or weekend.
Like every other big metropolitan area, parking can be a hassle and extremely expensive. Because of this, many people in the National Capital Region use public transportation. According to the 2000 US Census, Washington DC area has the second largest public transportation users in the USA.
It is ranked right after the city of New York. Since many people use metros, cabs and buses, to attract as many customers as possible, businesses need to be near public transportations. Adams Morgan is very convenient in that regard. The neighborhood has two metro stations that close at midnight during the week and 3am at night.
There are also several public buses that serve the area. Positioning the restaurant in a place that is accessible by public transportation will help attract more customers. Providing convenience has become an important aspect of the restaurant industry.To make the restaurant more convenient for customers, Taste of Africa will provide delivery service for orders $15 or more. No other African restaurant in the region provides delivery. Customer will be able to place their orders online without having to make a phone call.
The restaurant will also have a takeout service that will allow customers to place orders via the website or by phone and come pick up their food. Offering convenience in today’s world is essential. People are more and more leading busy lives and do not always have the time to go and sit at a restaurant.Offering delivery and takeout will help the restaurant attract those potential busy customers. INFORMATION SOURCES Service Emphasizing on food quality, providing convenience and being visible are very important strategies to attract customers but retaining them is another story. Monitoring service at the restaurant will help increase client retention.
In order to make sure the restaurant meets the clientele’ service needs and expectations, Taste of Africa will hand out questionnaires with the client’s tab at the end of the meal.To make the process easier for customers and to give an incentive for questionnaire response, the feedback form will only have eight questions. There will be six multiple choice questions and two open-ended questions where customers will be able to write out answers. The questionnaire will be written by me and the supervisors. It will also be compared to other questionnaires given at other restaurants. One of the open-ended questions will ask customers what other services or food items they would like the restaurant to offer. It will also ask them what changes they would want to see in the restaurant.
This will help management be aware of new opportunities or issues the restaurant has. The answers to the questionnaire will be evaluated by the owner (me) and supervisors. If an employee seems to have several negative feedbacks on service, he/she will be dismissed.
If a customer complains about the food or the service, that customer will be able to order something else on the menu or have a full refund. Making sure that quality customer service is offered at the restaurant will provide high customer value and customers retention. Marketing Plan AdjustmentsFor a business to stay in operation, it needs to generate enough revenue to pay its monthly bills. Monthly bills at the restaurant will include rent, utilities, employees’ salaries and the cost of ingredients to cook the food. If Taste of Africa doesn’t generate enough money, the marketing plan will need to be adjusted. Since the restaurant’s prices are lower than other comparable restaurants, the food prices will be increased in order to make more revenue.
If the restaurant still can’t make profit after the price increase, additional American food items will be added to the menu.Some adults in families may want to try ethnic food but their younger kids may want traditional American food. Therefore to boost revenue, the restaurant will change its menu and include hot dogs, burgers, and fries.
Taste of Africa will also reduce the number of employees at the restaurant. The national average annual return on investment in the restaurant industry is 36. 9%. (Restaurant Owner Association, 2010) The restaurant will need to calculate its return every year to make sure it is within the average return rate. Adjusting the marketing plan by making the menu versatile and ncreasing prices can help increase revenue if the restaurant is struggling. Research Keeping up with trends in the industry is important. Research will help the restaurant stay aware of opportunities and demands. It will also guide the restaurant in the adjustment of its marketing plan.
For that reason, Taste of Africa will get a membership with the National Restaurant Association to keep up with trends in the restaurant industry. This organization conducts research and publishes results about trends, opportunities and forecast of the industry.It also issues information on cities where a particular type of restaurants is highly profitable. It gives demographic information on markets. In order to stay competitive, the owner (me) will evaluate services and food offered at other African restaurants in the region. If a competitor is successful with a new food item for example, Taste of Africa will also introduce this item on the menu.
The marketing plan will be evaluated annually to make sure that it meets industry tendencies, requirements and competition.Keeping up with trends, competitors, and demand in the market is essential to be successful and to keep high customer value. CONTINGENCIES Every industry suffers when there’s an economic crisis. In order to stay successful and offset losses, it’s important for a business to enter different industries. Higher sales in the catering industry can offset sales decline in the restaurant industry. Plus, someone already in the restaurant industry can enter the catering industry easily. Taste of Africa plans to enter the catering, cooking classes, and the recipe book industry.If the restaurant industry demand declines, more resources will shift to other areas of the business.
Social concerns are becoming more and more important to society. People are looking for fresh organic food. If it becomes necessary to meet this demand, the restaurant will change food suppliers and replace them with suppliers of organic food only. In addition, the restaurant will take $1 from every customer’s tab and give the funds as donation to the United Sates Environmental Protection Agency or the United Nations.
Customers will have the option of choosing which organization the donation is going to.If the demand of the restaurant or the African cuisine increases, Taste of Africa will need to open other restaurants in the DC area or other cities. Managing several restaurants at once can be a hard task; the restaurant may have to look into converting from an independent restaurant into a franchise. With the following guidelines in place, Taste of Africa is ready for contingencies in the marketplace.
BUDGET According to Restaurant Owner Association (2010), the average start up cost for a full service restaurant in the Washington DC area is about $432,000.The budget available for this restaurant is $460,000. About 8,000 of the extra money will be used towards creating a website and buying a car for food delivery.
The rest of the money will be put aside to pay employees’ salaries, facility’s bills or supplies in the case of financial shortage. The purchase of supplies and ingredients will be a two step process. Supervisors will put in request for purchases and the owner (me) will have to approve the request and purchase the products. The whole control of the budget will be done by the owner of Taste of Africa.Opening a restaurant is a long process that comprises many steps. Before even applying for a business license, a study needs to be done on the restaurant industry to identify trends, statistics and predict necessary services needed to be successful. Afterwards, the market place is evaluated to find the best location for the restaurant.
The SWOT analysis makes management recognize strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The fourth step is to create a Marketing mix that includes price, promotion, product and place.Basing the marketing mix on the restaurant’s goals and objectives can increase return on investment, and enables the company to stay focus on what the business needs to accomplish. All this information is put together to create an appropriate implementation and control process. All these steps were followed in the marketing plan of the restaurant Taste of Africa. References About Washington DC.
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