News of faculty

07 Jan 2013

«Restaurant is the easiest and simultaneously the headrest business around»

Undoubtedly, the restaurant business in each country has it's own set of specifics having to do with the cultural, metal and gastronomical traditions, but anytime you deal with a real professional with extensive practical and theoretical experience in the area of management and development of the restaurant business, it is not very difficult to find the common subjects of professional interest. It is exactly that kind of person - the dean of the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration Christopher Muller - that gave a lecture to the students of «Restaurant and Club Industry Management» RMA business school program, in which he discussed the issues of marketing, competition, and the life cycles of the individual as well as franchise restaurant projects.

«You have to agree, that we aren't working in the most high-tech industry. And what would you even call a technology in our case? Everything we are using in our business can be divided into two categories: hardware and software. The former includes vehicles, appliances, tableware, food, that is pretty much what you find in every restaurant out there - for hundreds of years we have pretty much been relying on the same foods, same kind of appliances which see rather minor upgrades over time etc. And the latter - which makes our establishment really unique - which is software, that includes the arrangement of space, the service, and the food preparation technologies. That is why the technology - is and should be the most important element of your restaurant strategy».

Another important issue, that was touched by Christopher Muller during his presentation - the definition of the restaurant's value in the eyes of its customers and the search for the competitive edge by each individual facility. To his mind the cornerstones of the definition of restaurant's value are being the following three factors: the cost of food, the quality of service and food and the time that your customer is prepared spend to get what he wants.

«In the development of the restaurant, - according to Christopher Muller, - one must first of all consider the exact expectations of its target customer base. If the quality of service, food and prompt handling are of importance to your customer, then he will be ready to pay for it». According to the NPD research group, in 2012 there was a noted trend toward popularization of the franchise restaurants. For example in UK and Russia the number of those who have visited chain restaurants have reached 58%.

«Naturally, a question arises: why do people chose the franchise restaurants? And it is mostly due to the fact that a chain - is a brand with a particular reputation. Restaurant is therefore perceived as just another branded item, such as automobile or clothing item. If a person is familiar with the brand, it is much easier for him to make that decision. And that tells us that in opening up of a restaurant we should be very diligent in establishing a recognition for our brand. And so, there are several ways to attract the customers and stand out among the competitors. You can either bring down the price, which is likely to affect the quality of your food and service. Or you can increase the quality of your food and service by inviting a gourmet chef, which will then likely affect your prices etc. Alternatively you can decide to change nothing and just continue to steadily promote your brand. And if your brand will gain recognition, then you could think to increase your price, or perhaps lower the quality of food and service, which of course isn't very ethical, but people will be still attending your business».

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