Thursday, May 14, 2009

Going, Going...

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A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a Los Angeles Times article about a pho restaurant. Pho (pronounced fuh) is Vietnamese rice noodle soup which I really like. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a restaurant review, it was about a family that bought a pho restaurant and they’re having a tough time surviving. At first I stopped reading it, since it wasn't a review. But since I'm in the business of helping restaurants, I ended up reading the entire article.

The family spent a lot of money on this small restaurant and is located in an area that has 10 other pho restaurants. This doesn’t add up in my mind, but then again I don’t have the passion to make Pho. After the purchase was completed and the former owner left the business and most of the customers left too. Since a lot of them were his friends and he wasn’t there anymore, why go? Boy, this was a triple whamie.

With this said and as someone who hates to see small restaurants close, I tried to get the word out and help this place that I’ve never been to. Just like the film, “A Wonderful Life”, I tried to help out someone having a tough time. I did it because I'm a fan of small businesses and hope that someone would do the same for me...

A lot of people love to cook or have special recipes, but remember that this is a business too. You need to be cook, dishwasher, manager, bookkeeper, and most of all marketer. Most businesses don't think that marketing is important and think "if you build it, they will come." Not if they don't know about it! The other thing is having or doing something that is the reason why you're in business. Sad to say, but those 10 Pho restaurants are very similar. You go because you feel comfortable or they make it the way you like it.

What should "Pho Minh" do to stay in business? They must get the word out why Pho customers should eat there. What's the signature dish? Is there a special condiment that everyone should try there? What makes this place special? Customer service must be the best out of competition.

I’m a cheerleader for small businesses and always have, since small business the backbone of this country, I hope "Pho Minh" makes it. If you want to read the entire Los Angeles Times article, it can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/dh2b6m

Thank you for stopping by and please let me know what you think...

2 comments:

angeli said...

I agree with your sentiment - as someone who loves to see small business flourish, perhaps you could help them with the marketing?

Scotty Snacks said...

Strong points here, Jay. In addition to marketing (and/or actually getting them in the door), I would say you've definitely got to create a wonderful environment for them to eat at - or else, why would the come back or, better yet, why would the tell their friends and family about it?

I just had a similar conversation with a colleague of mine and it boiled down to: I am a regular at a few places not only b/c the food is good but, more importantly, b/c I am treated like a friend/family member when I go to said places. That's what gets my business. I'd bet this pho place just doesn't have a lively staff that is warm and welcoming..

Glad to have found you, I am in the middle of trying to open my own place so I could not have stumbled across your content at a better time.

Scott Schroeder