Re: StatHeads, Help Please for Research
OK, to be somewhat serious:
I recently dropped into a Five Guys location in Newport Beach to try them for the first time. Their migration to California from the East Coast is somewhat analogous to your study.
First of all, I'm not a big fan of In-and-Out but they have gained a cult following in SoCal. As such, a company invading their territory will need to present a superior product at, preferably, a similar or even better price point.
I had read some reviews about Five Guys and was lead to believe that it was greasy. I was at the Food Court at Fashion Island so there were no peanut shells on the floor or that type of thing that they are noted for.
I opted for a cheeseburger (two patties with melted cheddar cheese in between, 840 calories according to their board). I wanted to taste the beef so I ordered the burger 'rare' with just a little mayo. When the counter person read the order back to me he left out the 'rare' part. I reminded him of that and he, once again, ignored it. I also ordered a small fries. Total bill: $9.68 (I didn't order a drink).
I timed how long it took from submiting the order until it was ready: just over 11 minutes. Not real good for fast food, IMO.
The burger and fries were delivered in a plain brown paper bag and I sat down at a table and opened it up. Though I had ordered a small fries (which came in a paper cup) I will say that they delivered a lot more than I expected---the cup was full but there were a lot of fries litered all over the bottom of the bag as well. Unfortunately, the fries were mushy on the outside and also on the inside---they lacked any flavor what so ever.
As for the burger, it wasn't rare. It was overdone and it wasn't greasy because it had been so over cooked that it had the texture of woodchips. I ate about half of it and tossed the rest in the trash. $10.00 for that!?! No thanks.
(As a side note: RBA, I think we've had a bit of this conversation before but my favorite burger joint in SoCal is Fatburger. Five Guys took over the location that used to be Fat Burger at Fashion Island and, when I ordered a rare burger at Fat Burger, I got a rare burger. To me, that's customer service.)
To me, if you are going to 'invade' enemy territorry, treat it like a military operation---something that I think you know something about. Investigate the market. Casually chat with the locals to see what they will tell you---find out what they like and don't like. Where can you improve the product and/or services? What kind of things would they like to see added to the menu? How can you motivate the personel so that they are friendly, and gracious to the customers, and totally buy into the product, service and company. How do you get the team to bond and act as one? That's very important in a business like this (just like the military).
I'm sorry about being so long winded about this but the food buisness does interest me and so, when I'm in a new restaurant, these are the kinds of things that I check on. After that it's about what your costs are, where your location is going to be, marketing expertise, getting your name known, etc.
"For Reds fans, by Reds fans" Learn it, love it, live it.
Last edited by remdog; 11-03-2011 at 01:52 AM.