2012, the Eastman Kodak company filed for bankruptcy after literally creating and dominating the market for photography with the invention of the Brownie camera in 1900.
What happened? Kodak misunderstood what business they were in.
The company was founded on photographic film and cameras that anyone could buy and use. So when Kodak developed the first digital camera of its kind in 1975, the product was dropped. Kodak was so busy protecting their film business that they underestimated their competition and failed to see that they were in the industry of helping people take photos.
What business are you in?
Similarly, restaurants and hotels are lumped together in the hospitality industry.
Restaurants don’t simply serve up food. They exist to provide hospitality or the experience that the customer wants. Thanks to the internet, the customer’s experience (and the level of control a restaurateur has) extends beyond the four walls of a restaurant’s physical location. Now, the customer’s experience also includes things such as the atmosphere the website evokes, where the restaurant has sourced their ingredients, and if the customer has the option of experiencing that food at home.
“If we make them happy in the particular way they were looking to be made happy, they’ll remember us and want to come back at their next opportunity.” -Eric Ripert, Executive Chef, Le Bernardin
Is your secret sauce in place?
With the ubiquity of technology quickly overtaking the restaurant industry, it is easy to think that the only thing customers care about these days is convenience. But even as restaurants are streamlining operations with apps and kiosks, an iPad can’t look you in the eye and your delivery order still needs to be handed over by someone.
If I had to wrap up what pretty much every successful restaurateur agrees on, it’s this:
Your biggest competitive advantage is the quality of your people.
To go a step further, it is that they have the training, tools, and environment they need to want to deliver the experience your customer is looking for. From experience, you can tell an employee what to do but hospitality requires that they care.
What does your organization have in place to foster a spirit of care?The Secret to the Biggest Competitive Advantage in the Restaurant Industry Click To Tweet