Posts tagged New Restaurant

Don’t Let A Point Of Similarity Become Your Point Of Difference

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is helpful to anyone who wants to influence other people. Whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and make an impression that lasts. One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no one else’s brand does as well and that your target cares about? When defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this.  When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association ShowInternational Franchise Association National Convention and Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average, just like everyone else and good. Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate. For more information on how to quickly and affordably position and brand your business to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach Warren directly at 303-762-0360 or .

Pleased To Be a Part of The Restaurant Industry As It Continues to Benefit From An Improving Economy

Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014

Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014 Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014Washington DC  (RestaurantNews.com)  The National Restaurant Association‘s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy breaks down the latest employment trends:  “The national labor market continued to heat up in June, with restaurants remaining among the strongest growth sectors.  According to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national economy added a net 288,000 jobs in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the fifth consecutive month with gains of at least 200,000 jobs. “In total, the national economy added nearly 1.4 million jobs during the first half of 2014, the strongest six-month performance in more than eight years. “Restaurants continued to be among the leaders in job growth, with the industry adding a net 32,800 jobs in June and more than 173,000 jobs during the first six months of the year.  Overall, restaurant employment was up 3.1 percent on a year-to-date basis through June 2014, nearly double the 1.7 percent gain in total U.S. employment. “Job growth within the restaurant industry has been broad-based in 2014, just as it has been throughout the post-recession period.  On a year-to-date basis through May 2014 (segment-level figures are lagged by one month), quickservice restaurants added jobs at a strong 4.0 percent rate.  This puts the quickservice segment on pace to post job growth of at least 4 percent for the third consecutive year. “The fullservice segment added jobs at a 2.9 percent rate through the first five months of 2014.  While this is down somewhat from the consecutive 3.4 percent gains registered in 2012 and 2013, fullservice employment gains remain well above job growth in the overall economy. “Meanwhile, the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bar segment – which includes concepts such as coffee, donut and ice cream shops – added jobs at a robust 6.1 percent rate on a year-to-date basis through May 2014.  If this trend continues, it would represent this segment’s strongest growth since 2007, as well as the third consecutive year with employment gains above 5 percent. “Look for these positive growth trends to continue through the remainder of the year, as the restaurant industry continues to benefit from an improving economy and stronger consumer sentiment.” Read more from the Economist’s Notebook. For additional analysis of restaurant industry trends, log on to Restaurant TrendMapper at Restaurant.org/Trendmapper (subscription required). Restaurant Job Growth Remains Broad-Based and Robust in 2014 Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry’s largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2015, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF’s ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids’ menu options. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurantsFacebook andYouTube.

Building Your Brand – Is Your Restaurant or Franchise Brand Strategically Positioned?

 

Is your restaurant or franchise brand strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated? Are you sure?

You don’t have to embark on a lengthy and expensive consumer research study to find out if your restaurant or franchise brand is strategically positioned with its message clearly communicated. Just try this quick and easy exercise. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Ask each member of your management team, each member of your marketing organization, and key external strategic and creative resources to answer the following three questions:

  1. 1.    What business is your brand in? Your “frame of reference”.
  2. 2.    What is the “target market” for your brand?
  3. 3.    What are the “points of difference” for your brand? Note: List no more than three.

Analyze your results. If you observe either or both of the following, your brand positioning can most definitely be strengthened:

  • Significant inconsistency in the answers to most if not all of the above three questions.
  • “Points of difference” that are really “points of similarity” to your competition or simply “points of entry” in your business – and not pre-emptive, ownable and defendable attributes that are important to your target market.

Successfully identifying and securing a powerful brand positioning is of critical importance to every brand. It is crucial to anyone who wants to influence other people, whether you are promoting a product, a service, a cause, a candidate, an organization, an institution or even yourself and your own career. Positioning will aid in getting your desired message across to the people you want to reach and making an impression that lasts. Positioning is the way in which you want the consumer to think about your business (products and services) relative to competing brands. It is the most basic of all strategic statements, provides the blueprint for the marketing and development of the brand, and focuses the efforts of all those involved in brand activities.

Without a concise brand positioning statement with a competitive “point of difference” and complete management alignment behind this positioning, it will be difficult to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand. A brand must make a strong impression that lasts and translates into profitable sales and long-term growth.

What are the three critical elements of a brand positioning statement?

1 – Target Market: Composed of consumers considered to be good potential users for your product/service. Don’t think demographically. Think about what the similar set of needs and/or concerns are which motivate this group of consumers’ purchase behavior.

2 – Frame of Reference: Describes the consumer grouping of like products or services (or competing brands) with which your product or service competes.  It is easy to think about this as “what business are you in”. Make sure you consider all of the options that a consumer has available to satisfy a specific need.

3 – Point of Difference: The specific consumer benefit that you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. What does your brand do that no other brand does as well and that your target cares about?  Why should your target value your brand?

Don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. One of the critical steps in developing a powerful brand positioning is to identify your brands point of difference – – the specific consumer benefit which you want consumers to associate most readily with your product or service. So when defining your brands point of difference, don’t let a point of similarity become your point of difference. So often I see this. 

When speaking recently to industry audiences on branding and brand positioning (National Restaurant Association, International Franchise Association National Convention, Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Leadership Conference) or to the executive teams of clients, I ask three short questions: How many of your grew up wanting to be average? Or just like everyone else? Or of good quality? Rarely do I see any hands or much of a positive response. However, many brand leaders are perfectly OK about making their brands just like this – – average and just like everyone else.

Many of the items that are an integral part of your product/service but are not preemptive, ownable and defendable become points of entry into your competitive set and are nothing more than points of similarity. Yes, they are all important to your product or service and in many cases you must deliver on these flawlessly just to be in business. But this is not what sets you apart, not a reason a customer should or will choose to use your brand over competitor brands, and most definitely this is not a reason for them to ever become a brand advocate.

A brand is not a mark. A brand leaves a mark. Believe it or not, your customers do not really care about your brands’ name, your logo, or your tag line. What they do care about is who your brand is, what it stands for, what your brand offers and why your brand is different. People want to love brands. They want to feel amazing about using your brand. So stop worrying about the name of your brand, your logo or your tag line.  Focus you attention on clearly positioning your brand and gaining complete management alignment behind that positioning. The end result will be the development of a concise positioning statement, agreed upon by your core management team.

Properly position your brand and you will be in good company. I’ve worked with hundreds of global, national, regional and local brands including many restaurants and franchises – – all using a disciplined approach to developing a clearly defined brand positioning statement. Each of these clients that focused their attention on brand positioning have reaped the benefits of their efforts.

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Warren Ellish is a senior marketing executive with over 30 years of client and consulting experience in consumer products marketing, restaurant marketing, franchise marketing, dental marketing and retail marketing. He is a renowned marketing and branding consultant, lecturer and speaker on branding and brand positioning, is President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group and is a member of the marketing faculty at Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. Ellish was named to the Advertising Age “Marketing 100–the superstars of US marketing”.

Mr. Ellish has a successful track record of assisting the senior leadership of highly competitive multi-unit trade area driven businesses (with a focus on restaurant and franchise brands) generate high returns on investment based on a strategic focus to drive profitable traffic and product mix.  A significant amount of his work has been with start-up, emerging and turnaround businesses.  He has launched many new brands and concepts that became successful growth businesses while also revitalizing many once formidable brands that lost their way to become strong competitors once again.  He has been responsible for developing brand positioning for hundreds of well-known international, domestic, regional and local brands.  His core practice areas include: brand positioning, restaurant marketing and franchise marketing for domestic and international clients.

Warren Ellish, restaurant branding expert weights in on Wahlburgers

Stars Align at Wahlburgers

QSR Magazine

Celebrity-owned concept looks to stand on its own as a premier burger destination.

As Wahlburgers, a burger concept founded by actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and their brother Paul, readies its first franchise openings this year, the management team is hoping to capitalize on the publicity created by the famous owners and a popular A&E Network reality show, “Wahlburgers,” that chronicles the company’s inner workings.

But while many celebrities have been drawn to the restaurant business and their fame has been an asset in creating initial buzz, Wahlburgers’ executives are determined to avoid the celebrity trap that has doomed many quick-service brands.

“I’ve seen a lot of celebrity concepts flame out because the focus was put on celebrity and not enough on quality,” says Rich Vanzura, Wahlburgers’ CEO. “The show will drive trial; after that, it’s up to us to deliver a great experience.”

Vanzura, who was formerly COO of Panera Bread, says Wahlburgers has all of the elements to be a long-lived venture. The culinary acumen of Paul Wahlberg, who owns and manages fine-dining establishment Alma Nove across the street from Wahlburgers’ flagship site in Hingham, Massachusetts, is one key element. So is Vanzura, who wanted an opportunity to helm a business and took a chance on the upstart Wahlburgers because of its unique attributes.

Quick service chain Wahlburgers owned by celebrity Mark Wahlberg.“The combination of celebrity and Paul’s ability as a chef is what attracted me,” Vanzura says.

“People get tired of themed restaurants. We wanted a place where people would come even if there wasn’t a Wahlberg association.”

While Wahlburgers does leverage the family’s fame inside the restaurant, nods to celebrity are ultimately subdued, he says.

“We didn’t want a carnival-like atmosphere with a lot of memorabilia,” he says. “People get tired of themed restaurants. We wanted a place where people would come even if there wasn’t a Wahlberg association.”

The interior design includes iconic elements reflecting the Wahlbergs’ story: a family history posted on the back wall, a die-cut ceiling element highlighting Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s movies, and a career highlight reel running on a TV over the bar. The menus include notes about the brothers’ favorite offerings with “language that reflects their wit,” Vanzura says.

The management team spent two years developing and refining the Wahlburgers concept. The menu features several burger, sandwich, and salad options, while distinctive menu items include alcoholic frappes; sweet potato tots; a custom blend of ground beef consisting of short rib, brisket, and chuck; “Wahl Sauce,” a topping created by Paul Wahlberg; and a macaroni side dish from a recipe created by family matriarch Alma Wahlberg.

Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Denver-based Ellish Marketing Group, says Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s fame and regular brand exposure from the TV show are clear assets for Wahlburgers, but he cautions that they also create risks.

“Celebrity ownership could set up expectations for visitors that don’t get met,” he says. “Customers may expect to see celebrity owners in the place, but as you expand, the potential for that piece of the experience disappears quickly.”

There’s also a danger that the reality show could backfire, Ellish says. What makes for good TV viewing isn’t always good for a brand. “Drama is not necessarily good,” Ellish says. “Some episodes of ‘Undercover Boss’ have resulted in negative stories.” It does help that Donnie and Mark co-produce the show, he says, but in order to keep ratings up, they can’t shy away from conflicts and missteps that may come with launching a new brand.

Branding consultant Lori Moretti, principal with Boston-based CM Communications, which has worked with Wahlburgers in the past, believes the benefits of the show far outweigh the risks. “Authenticity plays well,” she says. “People like to know what’s going on behind the scenes.”

Wahlburgers will grow via area development agreements in which a single franchisee has exclusive rights to a regional market. Would-be franchisees need $5–$10 million of liquid net worth to be considered, Vanzura says, and must be committed to maintaining high quality and building a lasting brand.

The budding chain plans to open sites within the next 12 months in the Fenway area of Boston; at a mixed-use development with anchor Whole Foods in suburban Lynnfield, Massachusetts; and at Toronto’s SoHo Metropolitan Hotel. A deal is also in the works for Philadelphia, Vanzura says, while other markets, including Los Angeles, are in the management team’s sights.

The brand has a lot of potential for growth, Ellish says, but there are some cautionary flags that executives will have to work on as they grow.

“Their tag line, ‘Our family, our story, our burgers,’ is defining the business about themselves, not about their customers,” he says. “Also, the brand hasn’t really defined a point of differentiation in the burger segment. These are the things they have to figure out.”

BurgersWahlburgersGrowth,Fast Casual

Herschel Walker’s Restaurant to Undergo Name, Menu Change

Herschel's KitchenEllish Marketing Group (EMG) congratulates client Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment on the brand refresh of their Herschel Walker Restaurant in Athens, GA.

OnLine Athens reports that Herschel Walker’s restaurant located at 320 E. Clayton Street in Athens, GA will ring in its first anniversary with a new menu featuring some craveable Southern family favorites and a new name.

Herschel’s Famous 34 Pub and Grill will officially become Hershel’s 34 Chicken & Ribs Kitchen and will debut a streamlined and focused menu with its February anniversary.

The restaurant will offer “generous” portions of Southern-style chicken and ribs, shareable items and “generously poured beverages,” according to a news release.Herschel Walker's Mama Chicken

The release also noted that Walker picked out new recipes with his mother to dig into his Southern roots.

“Food brings people together,” Walker, a former University of Georgia Bulldog and Heisman Trophy winner, said in a statement. “I want to bring the community of Athens together by sharing home-cooked, Southern comfort food just like I was raised on.”

Herschel’s 34 Chicken & Ribs Kitchen opens at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for dinner and at 11 a.m. Friday through Sunday for lunch and dinner service.

Ellish Marketing Group Marketing Material for Herschel's KitchenEllish Marketing Group, restaurant marketing consultants serving well respected restaurant brands world-wide,  is proud to have partnered with Dover Downs on the strategic direction for their refreshed restaurant brand.  EMG provided the brand positioning work for the Herschel’s 34 Chicken & Ribs Kitchen restaurant concept, drove the strategic direction for the new menu and developed the branding, marketing & advertising materials to support the anniversary brand refresh.

Ruby Slipper Opens New Canal Street New Orleans Location


Ruby Slipper CafeEllish Marketing Group (EMG) congratulates client Ruby Slipper Cafe on the grand opening of their newest location in New Orleans, LA.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe’s 1005 Canal St. location opened this week, in the old McCrory’s, offering new menu items like bacon and egg sliders, Slipper salad and hot smoked salmon Bennie. This location is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Ellish Marketing Group is proud to have partnered with co-owners Erich and Jennifer Weishaupt on the strategic direction for their restaurant brand.  EMG provided the brand positioning work for the restaurant concept and menu optimization direction for the new menu.

National Coney Island Grand Opens new Canton Location


NATIONAL CONEY ISLAND LOGOEllish Marketing Group (EMG) congratulates client National Coney Island (NCI) on the grand opening of their newest location in Canton, MI.

“We want to keep the brand relevant in today’s changing marketplace,” said Tom Giftos, president of NCI. “Besides the new menu, we are also featuring our new brand logo and store design. This is a complete brand refresh.”

National Coney Island new brandingEllish Marketing Group is proud to have partnered with NCI on the strategic direction for the brand refresh for this iconic Detroit restaurant brand.  EMG provided the brand positioning work for the restaurant concept, the branding design and new logo, and the menu optimization direction and consumer TURF research to identify the new focused and more limited menu.

Ellish Marketing Group completes brand positioning work for hospitality resort Great Wolf Lodge®

Ellish Marketing Group completes brand positioning work for Mayo Clinic®

Cornell Johnson Senior Lecturer Provides Branding Expertise to Attendees of Annual National Restaurant Association Show

Warren Ellish explores “the three critical steps” of brand positioning with restaurant industry conference attendees today, at the 2012 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. Cornell University’s Johnson Senior Lecturer of Marketing, Warren Ellish, President and CEO of the Ellish Marketing Group, presented a 90-minute session on brand positioning to restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, franchisees, and culinary professionals, among other restaurant industry conference attendees.

An expert on brand positioning, Ellish, ‘77, MBA ‘78, has more than 30 years of client and consulting experience. His his talk, “Three Steps to Positioning Your Restaurant into a World-Class Brand,” detailed the importance of positioning a brand through “points of difference” and aligning all other brand aspects behind its positioning.

As the National Restaurant Association forecasts a record-high $600 billion in sales for 2012, restaurants are increasingly seeking to leverage increased growth and augment their brands.

During his sold-out presentation, Ellish explained the elements of a positioning statement—a brief description of what a business does and how it does it differently and better than its competitors. He encouraged audience members to apply this to their own restaurants or businesses and to reflect on what their unique differentiators may be.

Part of Ellish’s educational session also included a simple test to help participants determine if their brands are strategically positioned and how they can analyze the results to strengthen their brands.

“Without a concise brand positioning statement with a competitive ‘point of difference’ and complete management alignment behind that positioning, it will be difficult to communicate a clear and meaningful message about your brand,” Ellish noted in a branding document provided to session attendees.

Illuminating key brand positioning opportunities for attendees, Ellish drew on his own restaurant and packaged goods marketing experience. Ellish was a founding partner and VP of Marketing for Boston Chicken, where he was a member of the core start-up executive team and led the brand through its conversion to Boston Market.

Ellish brings his experience to the MBA classroom at S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, teaching in the Strategic Marketing Immersion program and product management class. He founded and hosts the Marketing Executive One-On-One Coaching Program, now in its fifth year. At this annual event, top-level marketing executives spend two days at Johnson, meeting with and coaching MBA students preparing for careers in marketing.

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