Six Strategies for Moving into New Foodservice Markets

Foodservice operators are always looking to find growth, and current success is being achieved for many by low-risk changes such as filling in the need for breakfast offerings, to more involved strategies such as a concept refresh. The most coveted driver for growth is of course also the riskiest: expanding beyond your current network into new territories and claiming a share of a brand new market. As exciting as it seems, restaurant operators know expansion is costly and the barriers to success are numerous and sometimes unforeseen. How can foodservice operators take the leap and move into new regions, and maximize their chances for success?

We are often asked this question, and over the past 30 years our experience has taught us a lot about what determines a successful expansion. It is a complex operation, but, when done correctly, can be a game-changing success with fantastic rewards. Those who do well leave nothing to chance, and specifically research and plan the following factors in great detail before ever leaving home:

  • Create scalable and operational standards: If you want others to duplicate your success in other regions, the “formula” needs to be articulated and tested.
  • Understand your success: Who likes what you are offering, and why? It’s a constant surprise to us that many companies fail to understand their customers and then are confused when the company’s growth stagnates.
  • Plan for pacing: Pacing is a factor many restaurants overlook, and yes, there is a “right” way to do it.
  • Research new markets: Astonishingly, even major players make the mistake of assuming all markets will respond similarly and fail to make adjustments that could make or break an expansion.
  • Prioritize location: Your greatest marketing tool when entering a new region is the physical restaurant and its location.
  • Define specific goals: Before you move into unknown territory, decide what will determine success, and what would require you to pull out.

Whether your operation is a local start-up ready to open a second location or an established chain looking to expand into an entirely new territory, these same criteria will determine success. In this white paper, we explore these keys-to-success in detail, and hope they are useful to consider as you look to expand your horizons.

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