Showing posts from July, 2009

Lost in Translation: Part II

I often ask myself, why do most Asian restaurants FAIL? As mentioned in past postings, I've had discussions with many Asian food service companies wanting to come to the US and/or sell to Americans. Americans want Asian products and Asian compaines want to sell to Americans. The problem is that Asian companies don't know how to sell to this target audience and Americans don't know what and who to buy from. A consumer goes home with something they don't understand and Asian companies wondering why Americans don't buy, it's "Lost in Translation." What these companies don't get is that they need a bridge to gap between the seller and the buyer.These companies all want to serve Asian food to Americans and grow their distribution here. With a large Asian community and Americans hungry for Asian food, how hard can it be? They all think that it's just that easy. What they don't "GET" is who they're selling to and how to get the i

Restaurant Marketing Tips

I had a late night conversation with two restaurant owners. They’re trying to figure out how to promote their restaurants in a changing economy. I said that creativity and thinking outside of the box is necessary to survive in these tough times. They didn’t seem to have a promotion plan, so I gave them some ideas. Right now, everyone is looking for value. Have you noticed the “value meal” commercials on TV? Jack-in-the Box has a $2.99 value meal and KFC is promoting a $5 one. Each restaurant and menu is different, so you need to select your items carefully; it also needs to make sense to the customer. Social Media is a great way to promote your promotions and do special things for followers. Zippy’s in Hawaii gives special coupons for their fans on Facebook and The Counter has special deals for their Twitter followers at specific locations. This is an excellent marketing tool, but it needs to make sense for your customers. People like to feel special, so make them special for being a f

Mom and Pops Using Social Media

I was reading the New York Times last night about small businesses using social media to promote their product or service. Social media is a great way to connect with people, as they get to know you and your business. Consumers buy from people they know and trust. It’s a FREE way to promote your business. I know there are a lot of people who don’t get Twitter. I always hear that it doesn’t work, I got bored, and I don’t care what someone is doing now. It’s funny because when we call someone, isn’t one of the first questions, “what are you doing?” Twitter is different for everyone, but I always say if you’re bored, you aren’t following interesting people. I use it for information sharing and have asked many questions. My followers have given me great information or direct me to websites to answer questions that I have, it’s been a valuable resource. I’ve always been a cheerleader for small businesses, as they’re the backbone of this country. During these tough times, it’s a way

Martha Stewart Collection: What Happened?

I went through the Housewares Department at Macy’s yesterday. In another life, I was Product Manager for a kitchen gadget company and worked on a few Martha Stewart Collection products for her team. Macy’s purchased a few items from us and saw first hand that the team was doing a great job building the brand. It’s been almost 2 years since I last strolled through Macy’s housewares and was SHOCKED to see the low quality items that were under the Martha Stewart Collection. When I worked with them, they were very brand conscious and wouldn’t put her logo on something perceived as low quality. To me the Martha Stewart Collection represented a “Collection” in matching colors and quality products. The item colors were all over the place and not inline with the Martha Stewart colors that I was familiar with or at least when I was working with them. Some of the products that I saw looked like one that you’d find at a discount store and not Macy’s. Has Macy’s changed that much in 2 years

Don't Mess with Success...

I was at the mall during lunch today. While I was there, I noticed that a coffee/juice kiosk was closed and everything was gone, except for the sign. In February, I stopped by and got a fruit smoothie. This kiosk always had about 2-3 people waiting in line, I remember this because I was trying to figure out why it was so popular? They had two 20 year olds working behind the counter, they were taking care of the customers and getting the orders out, the smoothie wasn’t bad either. In May, I remember walking by and seeing three older women working behind the counter. Gone were the freshly baked cookies, rice crispy treats, etc. and in place were all packaged snack items. The kiosk was now cluttered with every packaged snack item you could think of, not sure if the customers knew where to order. These women had boxes everywhere and were trying to find places to add more snack items on the counters. I could tell they had no experience taking care of customers, as they made the lone

So You Took My Idea...

The restaurant business is very competitive and everyone is looking for the next hot concept. What they should be doing is improving their own food service and having something worth ordering. A few weeks ago, I heard that Baja Fresh was serving Korean BBQ Tacos at their new concept store in South Irvine. I read that the burritos and tacos were different from Kogi Korean BBQ Tacos ( ) but thought they were working together. This week, I found out that the two aren't working together. Is Baja Fresh is doing fusion food now? I guess I'm confused as it doesn't fit their Mexican menu. Baja Fresh has taken Korean beef and chicken and put them on their menu calling it "Baja Kogi." This week there was talk that Baja Fresh used the "Kogi" name and it's trademarked and has since changed to "Baja Gogi". Also, I thought their new look reminded me of Chipotle Mexican Grill. I get it, but does it confuse the consumer? Examples

Upscale Restaurants: ACT IV - The Tragedy

It’s been awhile since I’ve driven around town for no apparent reason. Last week, I drove around to see the current restaurant landscape in Beverly Hills. I went into one restaurant and the manager was telling me about the restaurant closures in the area. It’s very sad. Warning: Another rant from me about restaurant management… An upscale restaurant on Restaurant Row was sold after 2 years in business, the company that built it spent about $18 million and it seemed like 5 years to build the building. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful building, but 5 years? They didn't know what they were doing and had problems with permits, staff, etc. When it finally opened, it was a total mess, the management didn’t know the customers, the servers didn’t know about the food, operation problems, and it went on and on. I’m not sure what the PR agency did or didn’t do, but there wasn’t a SPLASH for the opening. PR people love having something to promote, but this restaurant couldn’t deliv