Fast Food Market Forecast – The Subway Example of Strategic Product Positioning

The United States fast food market has seen a healthy rise in growth within the last three years which forecasts can be sustained. The fast food market is forecast to maintain its current growth expectations, with an anticipated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.3% for the five-year period 2005-2010. This is expected to drive the market to a value of $ 57.6 billion by the end of 2010. Drivers of growth include increasing numbers of Americans in the workplace, which reduces the amount of time spent on preparing meals at home. In 2010, the United States fast food market is forecast to have a value of $ 57.6 billion, an increase of 12.1% since 2005.

Forecast Volume

In 2010, the United States fast food market is forecast to have a volume of 37 billion transactions (Figure 1). This represents an increase of 5.3% since 2005. The CAGR of the market volume in the period 2005-2010 is predicted to be 1%.

Success Factors

Success factors for fast food franchisees will include products and marketing targeted to healthier menu selections, brand consistency, low start-up costs, franchisee support, and consumer convenience. Subway ® represents a poignant example of a fast food franchisee ready for success in the future fast food market. Their strategies transcend the fast food market and apply to many other markets and products.
SWOT Analysis

Subway sandwich shops are well positioned to leverage their strengths and address reasonable threats, weaknesses, and opportunities. The table below highlights these Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths

  • Size and number stores and channels
  • Menu reflects demand for fresh, healthy and fast.
  • Use of non-traditional channels.
  • Partnering with the American Heart Association.
  • Worldwide brand recognition.
  • Customizable menu offerings.
  • Low franchisee start up costs.
  • Franchisee training is structured, brief and designed to assure rapid start-up and success.

Weaknesses

  • Décor is outdated.
  • Some franchisees are unhappy.
  • Service delivery is inconsistent from store to store.
  • Employee turnover is high.
  • No control over franchise saturation in given market areas.

Opportunities

  • Continue to Grow Global Business.
  • Update décor to encourage more dine-in business.
  • Improve Customer Service Model.
  • Continue to expand channel opportunities to include event wagons.
  • Improve franchisee relations.
  • Experiment with drive-through business.
  • Expand packaged dessert offerings.
  • Continue to revise and refresh menu offerings.
  • Develop more partnerships with movie producers and toy manufacturers to promote new movie releases through children's menu packaging and co-branding opportunities.

Threats

  • Franchisee unrest or litigation.
  • Food contamination (spinach).
  • Competition.
  • Interest Costs.
  • Economic downturn.
  • Sabotage.
  • Law Suits.

Competitive Analysis

Subway is not without competitive pressures. Chief competitors include Yum! Brands, McDonalds, Wendy's, and Jack in the Box. Yum! Brands are the world's largest, with 33,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. Four of the company's highly recognizable brands, KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and Taco Bell, are global leaders of the Mexican, chicken, pizza, quick-service seafood categories. Yum! has a workforce of 272,000 employees and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

McDonald's Corporation (McDonald's) is the world's largest foodservice retailing chain with 31,000 fast-food restaurants in 119 countries. The company also operates restaurants under the brand names 'The Boston Market' and 'Chipotle Mexican Grill'. McDonalds operates largely in the US and the UK and is headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois employing 447,000 people.

Wendy's International (Wendy's) operates three chains of fast food restaurants: Wendy's (the third largest burger chain in the world), Tim Horton's, and Baja Fresh. Wendy's operates over 9700 restaurants in 20 countries, has been included in Fortune magazine's list of top 500 US companies, is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, and employs about 57,000 people.

Jack in the Box owns, operates, and franchises Jack in the Box quick-service hamburger restaurants and Qdoba Mexican Grill fast-casual restaurants and is headquartered in San Diego, California.

Target Markets

The increase in sales of the sandwiches has been a result of decreases in consumer interest in hamburgers and fries and increases in demand for healthier options. Sales of sandwiches are growing 15 percent annually, outpacing the 3 percent sales growth rate for burgers and steaks.

Current Marketing Program

A new breed of restaurant is making big gains against the market-saturated hamburger establishments. Termed "fast-casual," these restaurants are dominated by Mexican chains, and sandwich restaurants offering fresh-baked breads and specialty sandwiches.

Responding to evolving consumer expectations for health, fresh, custom-made sandwiches; Subway's marketing program addresses these expectations through a number of approaches. The most notable were the television commercials featuring Jared. These commercials emphasize the healthy aspects of a Subway sandwich by highlighting the 245 pounds Jared lost by eating a Subway sandwich diet. Subway also markets through a national sponsorship in events such as American Heart Association Heart Walks and local events such as triathlons, and children's sports teams.

The Subway example represents marketing and product strategies that are classic examples of focusing on market demand, consumer trends, product leveraging, and innovation. The marketing strategies of creating clear brand recognition, brand and product association, and market demands, have strategically positioned Subway to advance market share into the near future. These marketing strategies are also repeatable fundamental marketing strategies transcending the fast food market. Does your marketing strategy bind brand recognition to products that support your market's future direction?

The Importance of Restaurant Location – A List of Location Selection Criteria For a Restaurant

Once you've decided to start a restaurant business you will have to choose a location where your new venture can thrive. Location is of great importance to the viability of a restaurant business. While you know you need a good restaurant location with plenty of space, there are a lot of other things to consider. The following offers a list of selection criteria that can be used to assess how good a specific location is.

Local Zoning Regulations

One of the first things to check out when you are selecting a location for a restaurant is exactly what uses the building is permitted to be used for under the local zoning scheme.

A Trade Off Between Restaurant Location and Rent

It is obvious that a restaurant should try to be in a prime location that has good exposure and good nearby traffic flows. However these types of locations come at a price and that is the high rent that you will have to pay. A good alternative can be to have a less prominent location such as down a side lane or on the second or third floor of a building. You will then be able to save a fortune on rent and negotiate more favorable leasing terms with the building owner. However you do need to compensate for a poor location by having a top notch marketing plan as well as food and service that encourages customers to return.

Operation Size

You should have a pretty good idea of ​​the size of the restaurant operation that you want to establish. One of the basic requirements with a location will be that it is large enough for you to set up a restaurant of your desired size and concept. Health and safety laws will dictate how many people can occupy the building so you should find out about these requirements before you start looking at locations. You may end up deciding that the property that you thought was perfect is too small for the clientele you need to attract.

Accessibility

You will notice that restaurants are usually located in areas with good accessibility and are close to business districts and residential areas. Being accessible will ensure that you can attract the volumes of people that you need to sustain your business. Stand outside the building that you are considering using to open your restaurant. Count vehicle and foot traffic flows and compare them with other locations that you are considering.

The exception to the rule here is if you have an 'out of the way' location such as at a beach or a vineyard for example. Sometimes the unusual location of a restaurant can become a selling point. Keep in mind that under the right circumstances people value features such as a beach view or mountain scenery over convenience and accessibility.

Lease or Buy

You need to decide if leasing or buying premises for your restaurant would be the best move. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Most restaurant entrepreneurs start out leasing and preserve their capital for startup costs and business growth rather than investing in property at the same time.

Have some preliminary discussions with building owners and try to get an idea of ​​how flexible they are going to be on the terms of a lease. Reaching an agreement over a lease can be a lengthy process so it helps if you can deal with building owners that you can communicate well with. The should be open to some negotiation and discussion.

Area Demographics and Market Research

Think about what kind of neighborhood your proposed restaurant space is located within. Then think about the kind of restaurant that would be suitable for the surrounding residents. Take some time to study the demographics of the area to try to find out the age, ethnic background and socio-economic status of the local population.

The Local Economy and Location Selection

People will only be eating out in restaurants if they have jobs and discretionary income to spend. Give some thought to local economic conditions before setting up your restaurant. How is business sentiment in the local area?

The local economy will also affect your choice of concept. Fast food typically remains popular in a poor economy but higher priced menu offerings will probably not work well in a town where there have been factory closures.

Competition and Other Businesses

Before deciding on a restaurant location one of the criteria that you must consider is the other businesses that are in the area. A lot of competition is not necessarily a bad thing as it means that the market is healthy and can support a lot of restaurants. However you obviously want to minimize the competition that you will have nearby your restaurant as much as you can. At least make sure that you choose a restaurant concept that is unique in the area so that you have few direct competitors.

Secondly, you should find out if there are other businesses nearby that might be complementary to a restaurant. For example, if there is a movie theater across the road from your restaurant then you may see good business from movie goers as they come in to dine before watching a film.

Parking

You should have a fairly good idea of ​​how customers would arrive at a restaurant at your proposed location. A great restaurant will ideally have its own parking lot. Depending on your concept, nearby public parking may also be acceptable. However, keep in mind that many people will simply drive on to another restaurant if they have nowhere to park there car. Note that in some cities, proximity to public transport can be more important than parking.

Exterior and Surroundings

Take a good look at the sidewalks and other buildings that are around the location that you have in mind. They can sometimes affect a prospective diners impression of your business. You will have little control over your neighbors so you want to choose a restaurant location with surroundings that are neat, tidy and well maintained.

Renovation Costs

Different locations will have different costs associated with converting an available space into a restaurant. One big factor affecting the scale of renovations will be the buildings previous use. If the previous owner also ran a restaurant on a site then remodeling requirements should be minimal.

You should keep remodeling costs to a minimum if you are leasing a space for your restaurant. You could consider spending more if you are able to negotiate with the building owner and have them contribute to these costs. The length of your lease will also be a factor in determining how much to spend.

Take along a building inspector or some contractors who have had experience remodeling buildings for restaurant owners and ask them for their ideas on renovation costs.

When you decide to start a restaurant keep in mind that location is one of the most important factors that will determine your success. Consider the above criteria as you work through the selection process. The building that you choose should not only be in a prominent location but it should also be practical and functional to allow your restaurant to run smoothly.

Present and Expected Future Growth of Catering Services Business

Catering services business is a rewarding option with huge potential of growth. Considering the importance of social celebrations and events, corporate cultures and social lifestyle, you can consider the catering industry to expend its status and profitable nature further.

Catering service providers are finding recognition at small as well as big levels. The catering industry is not only favorable for home based businesses; it is helping the social caterers to make big profits. Though, it is obvious that only those service providers in the industry succeed who are able to withstand this demanding business option.

As far as the current trends of catering services industry are concerned, it has attained status among top industries with an ever-increasing demand of various services offered by it. Social caterers in the United States, for example, make sales of over 6.5 billion dollars every year. This figure should significantly increase if the sales generated by home-based and unknown caterers are added to it.

The restaurant industry came up with good figures even when other industries were struggling during the period of recession. The consumers in the United States spend about 50 percent of their total food budget in the restaurants. This clearly indicates how the establishments like restaurants, cafes and other types of eateries are growing their profits year after year.

The catering services industry in the developing countries too is enjoying the favorable period of growth. The countries like India has its people adopting to the new lifestyles which include better food preparations for different types of social and cultural functions and increased habit of people to eat in restaurants regularly.

The main promising factors that ensure that the catering industry is going to maintain its consistent growth for the years to come include:

  • Household with higher income are helping the catering industry to flourish. In the developing countries as well, the household income is increasing at a fast pace. So, more and more people are attracted towards the catering industry and the services offered by it.
  • Corporate culture that holds a number of meetings, conferences, business lunch and dinner parties are becoming greatly dependent upon the catering industry services. The trend might not be that new for the developed countries, but the countries that have recently discovered the corporate culture are helping in the industry to attain popularity.
  • Birthday parties, wedding receptions and other types of family events are more and more relying upon the catering service providers. This is mainly because of the increase in number of working mothers that give them less time to do preparations in the kitchen.
  • Finally, people are getting more attracted towards the fashion of eating out with families and friends. This type of lifestyle is again new for the developing countries.

As you can have an idea from the discussion above, the catering services industry is one of the best options for those planning to have their own business. Start with a good business plan and keep an eye on the existing competition to have a successful catering business.

"Tipping the Velvet" Is First Alternative Lifestyle Film With an Educational Message – Part 2

Tipping the Velvet – 4 Stars (Excellent)

What makes Tipping the Velvet an excellent film is its talented cast with a great presentation, and it has a life-changing, meaningful message by a lesbian about innocence, desire, passion, betrayal, empathy, change, independence, resourcefulness, vision, love and happiness while retaining a sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

It is incredibly unusual to see an alternative lifestyle film with a happy ending.

I review controversial films because they are ultimately about relationships and relationships are the foundation of our lives.

As I grow older I understand that the most important things in my life have nothing to do with money or material things, and everything to do with my relationships involving my wife, my children, my grandchildren, extended family and friends. What matters over the long haul is the well-being of people, not whether we agree or disagree with their lifestyle choices.

The BBC has done a tremendous service in bringing this movie to television with the quality of a BBC broadcast that includes great writing, great sound, great cinematography, great direction and a great cast.

Based on Sarah Waters’ acclaimed debut novel, Tipping the Velvet was adapted by Andrew Davies, an Emmy award-winning British screenwriter who has also written “Doctor Zhivago”, “Bridget Jone’s Diary”, “Sense and Sensibility”, “Vanity Fair” and “Pride and Prejudice”. Davies is a very talented heavyweight.

Tipping the Velvet tells the story of Nan Ashley (Rachael Starling, the real life daughter of Diana Rigg) who shucks oysters and serves customers at her father’s seaside restaurant in Victorian England during the 1890’s.

Nan’s mundane life turns upside down when she sees an extraordinary performance by an attractive traveling male impersonator named Kitty Butler (Keeley Haws). Nan’s innocent interest is fueled when she is asked by Kitty to become her dresser while she is performing in Whitstable.

When Kitty is recruited by Walter Bliss (John Bowe), and heads to London to become a big time entertainer, she invites Nan to accompany her as her dresser. Nan falls in love with Kitty, joins her act as a performer and ultimately the two become secret lovers. For Nan the relationship is euphoric and her happiness real until she returns from a vacation trip home and discovers that Kitty and her manager Walter have become lovers and are to marry.

Nan’s initial innocence and desire are now confronted by betrayal and rejection. Despite being devastated, Nan awakes from her stupor and asserts her independence by walking the streets of London disguised as a young man for hire, performing oral sex so she can survive. When she is assaulted, Nan is rescued by a rich widow who gives her every comfort in exchange for lesbian sex. Nan becomes a prisoner and slave to her passions for pleasing and being pleased.

Eventually there is a tiff and the widow, Diana Leathaby (Anna Chancellor), throws Nan out, where she is left penniless and alone to fend for herself with nothing but the clothes on her back. Despite her misfortune, Nan vows to survive. Nan now learns the plight of those in need and turns for help to the only person she can remember, Florence Banner (Jodhi May), who she had met earlier in better days.

Florence and the brother Ralph Banner (Hugh Bonneville) reluctantly take in the battered and exhausted Nan for a night, but Nan is determined to change her ways. She becomes resourceful in convincing Florence and Ralph that she can clean, cook, and watch the baby that the Banners are raising.

Nan’s vision is to make herself so indispensable that she will remain welcome in the Banner home despite her 7-year journey from innocence to unbridled passion to debauchery, recovery and finally well-being and acceptance. Ultimately Nan and Florence fall in love. Then Kitty returns to Nan’s life once again when Kitty, wishing to resume her torrid relationship with Nan, learns that Nan is back performing on stage.

Nan is then forced to decide between the attractive, passionate Kitty and the more loyal, loving Florence. For once, Nan makes a wise choice in staying with Florence, finding the love and happiness she wanted but had never possessed. The ending is what makes Tipping the Velvet an excellent movie. When all is said and done, Nan and Florence survive in their relationship as well-adjusted adults who find each other and continue living with their self-esteem and self-worth intact.

Other than a few awards from lesbian theater groups, Tipping the Velvet was ignored by the critics, and especially Hollywood. This is why I write reviews, to separate the wheat from the chaff and recognize substance in film making wherever it exists.

The more knowledge and understanding we have of people, races, cultures, mores and lifestyles, the sooner we come to understand that we are all connected. We tend to value acceptance and tolerance only when it is taken from us. “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy said it, and I believe it.

And what does “tipping the velvet” mean? See the movie, not to find out what tipping the velvet means but because it is an excellent film on alternative lifestyles. Support films that increase understanding and acceptance.

(Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-Part Review.)

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Reasons For Starting a Restaurant Business Within the Next Five Years

Restaurant business is productive and a very worthwhile business option. If you have a business plan for starting a restaurant business or are planning to buy a decently run restaurant then get started with it now. This write up will give you enough reasons of why and how you should start a restaurant business. The first strong reason for starting a restaurant business is that you can earn a lot through it. Initially like every business this will also need some good amounts of inputs but in the longer run you will only enrich the profits. Starting a restaurant business is thus regarded to be rewarding.

The market analysis of the this particular business shows good figures which instills confidence for starting a restaurant business. In the next five years as the life style of almost every individual will change the need of a good food service provider will tend to increase many folds. For fulfilling this rising demand, starting a restaurant business can be considered as a smart move. If you love to socialize and build contacts then for you business will be the most ideal career option. Many people believe that doing a business in the restaurant industry offers many benefits to its owner. It allows him to meet a number of new people everyday and allows him to build strong contacts.

No time was more suitable than the present for starting a restaurant business because the changing life style brings people to restaurants more often. As more and more families are becoming nuclear now the transforming demographics supports the growth and success of every business. Your restaurant business can also earn great profits if you choose the location of your restaurants smartly and invest in good amount of money. People prefer to go to a restaurant which is affordable, has nice ambiance and offers good food. If your restaurant can offer a middle class individual some good quality services at price he can easily afford then you can see your business multiply in a very short span of time.

Target the middle class individual but provide services that are of good quality. This will obviously attract the middle class but the richer class will also use your services because you are good. If you are starting a restaurant business then do not commit a mistake of targeting the richer class initially because in this way you will not be able to earn much profit. So target the mass for running your business successfully. This is the perfect way to make good profits.

So get started with it, make a business plan, and look out for a perfect location. Buy that spot or take it on rent and ask a builder to build a perfect restaurant for you. All this will take time to fall into place. Have patience and let your restaurant establish. You will soon see it grow and earn good amount of profits for you. Starting your restaurant business at the right time and right place with right kind of people will make it triumph.

The Economic Downturn’s Impact Had On The Foodservice Industry: US Restaurant Trends

Every year CHD Expert reveals the annual United States restaurant openings and closings, as it is a fiercely competitive industry. After combing through all of the data from 2011, we have some interesting findings that we want to share.

In 2011 the number of restaurants in the marketplace declined by 2.5% in the U.S., which represented a net change of 16,000 less restaurants nationwide. The final three months of 2011 saw more restaurants close than any other quarter of the year. Full service restaurants (FSR) suffered more than limited restaurants (LSR) with almost three times the amount of market decline last year.

The full service restaurant market declined by 12,000 operators, or 3.8%, in 2011. Consumers were not as frugal with their dining dollars as the previous 2 years, but fine dining restaurants still struggled shrinking by 4.6% last year. The hardest hit cuisine, in the fine dining segment, was the “steak, seafood & fish” menu type. Fear not diners. Do not reach for that pint of “sadness” ice cream yet; things are not as bad as what we’ve seen in some previous years in fine dining. Chains such as Capital Grill, Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris are holding their own, but have a long road to recovery to be back to where they were in 2008.

Limited service restaurants were not immune to the downturn either, as they declined by 4,000 operators, or 1.3%, in 2011. It will come as no surprise to those in the industry that the independent restaurants were hurt the most. Limited service chains actually increased in 2011 by nearly 1%. Fast casual chains that boast a more fresh, and diverse menu continued to thrive. The news was not so joyful for fast casual’s frozen LSR brethren; the smoothie, juice and frozen dessert menu types, had the largest decline at over 7.3% in 2011.

However it’s not all bad news and we are happy to report that we have seen some growth too. There are some restaurants that diners got “some more” from in 2011. Meat and potatoes reigned supreme as “American traditional”, and “American regional” menu types increased by more than 7.5% throughout the year. Bars & grills and Asian restaurants also were on the rise in 2011 with over a 2% increase in the market.

According to Cathy Kearns, General Manager at CHD Expert, “Even with a declining market, consumers still want their food good, and fast. Fast Casual chains are becoming more attractive to consumers, offering a higher quality food than quick service with a perception of being the healthier option. So they’re getting food at a fair price without giving up an hour of their time.”

The Economic Downturn’s Impact Had On The Foodservice Industry: US Restaurant Trends

Every year CHD Expert reveals the annual United States restaurant openings and closings, as it is a fiercely competitive industry. After combing through all of the data from 2011, we have some interesting findings that we want to share.

In 2011 the number of restaurants in the marketplace declined by 2.5% in the U.S., which represented a net change of 16,000 less restaurants nationwide. The final three months of 2011 saw more restaurants close than any other quarter of the year. Full service restaurants (FSR) suffered more than limited restaurants (LSR) with almost three times the amount of market decline last year.

The full service restaurant market declined by 12,000 operators, or 3.8%, in 2011. Consumers were not as frugal with their dining dollars as the previous 2 years, but fine dining restaurants still struggled shrinking by 4.6% last year. The hardest hit cuisine, in the fine dining segment, was the “steak, seafood & fish” menu type. Fear not diners. Do not reach for that pint of “sadness” ice cream yet; things are not as bad as what we’ve seen in some previous years in fine dining. Chains such as Capital Grill, Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris are holding their own, but have a long road to recovery to be back to where they were in 2008.

Limited service restaurants were not immune to the downturn either, as they declined by 4,000 operators, or 1.3%, in 2011. It will come as no surprise to those in the industry that the independent restaurants were hurt the most. Limited service chains actually increased in 2011 by nearly 1%. Fast casual chains that boast a more fresh, and diverse menu continued to thrive. The news was not so joyful for fast casual’s frozen LSR brethren; the smoothie, juice and frozen dessert menu types, had the largest decline at over 7.3% in 2011.

However it’s not all bad news and we are happy to report that we have seen some growth too. There are some restaurants that diners got “some more” from in 2011. Meat and potatoes reigned supreme as “American traditional”, and “American regional” menu types increased by more than 7.5% throughout the year. Bars & grills and Asian restaurants also were on the rise in 2011 with over a 2% increase in the market.

According to Cathy Kearns, General Manager at CHD Expert, “Even with a declining market, consumers still want their food good, and fast. Fast Casual chains are becoming more attractive to consumers, offering a higher quality food than quick service with a perception of being the healthier option. So they’re getting food at a fair price without giving up an hour of their time.”

How to Create an Inviting Beer Garden for a Pub, Bar or Restaurant

It’s that time of year again where you need to start thinking about your Garden for the Summer. Here are a few useful ideas:

1. GARDENS ARE OUTDOOR SPACES

First and most importantly, a garden connected to a Pub, Bar or Restaurant should feel like a Garden and not in interior space. Many proprietors try to continue the interior finishes to outside which defeats the purpose of a Garden atmosphere. The Garden should have outdoor features like stone and brick and the furniture should look like outdoor furniture. On my travels I found many beer gardens with timber sheeting and fabric covered bar stools – these areas are trying to look like indoor spaces. Instead try to embrace the outdoor Garden atmosphere, work with the multitude of materials and finishes which are available to transform a bland space into an exciting alfresco experience.

2. STYLE

Decide on your style or theme and then do some research.

Look at the building and its walls – are there any existing characteristics that may dictate a style or that can be embellished?

Keep the theme running from the interior through to the outside – for example, if you have an Art Deco interior then try to incorporate Art Deco statues, tiles or lamps outside rather than it being a generic garden. Similarly, if it is a traditional Pub with lots of Bric-a-Brac then carry outdoor Bric-a-Brac through.

3. THE WEATHER

Weather considerations

The glare/heat factor: use canopies, planting or coloured glass to diffuse.

Wind: Use wind breakers. Anything can be designed to reduce the wind factor – Willow fencing, metal or timber frameworks with glass or canvas wind breakers. I recently designed a trellis planter and because it was on wheels, it was movable which worked really well for my client.

When deciding on the position for your seating consider which direction the wind comes from.

Rain: Provide adequate coverage for smokers in bad weather. In particularly wet climates, a permanent fixed solution like glass in a timber or glass framework will be much more maintainable than a canvas canopy. Glass means that daylight/sunlight can come through which is important on those warm summer days. If it gets too hot or bright then outdoor blinds can be fitted.

4. REGULATIONS

Before building anything it is important to know what your local regulations are. In Ireland the guideline for covering areas is described like a bus shelter where the roof covers an area that has walls that are 50% open and 50% closed.

5. SMOKERS

Divide smokers from non smokers if you have the space.

Opening windows may not be an option as the smoke can be pulled into the interior and customers do not like this.

Provide ashtrays on tables and a few sand buckets about the place from which cigarette butts can be taken from at cleaning time.

6. UGLY AREAS

Make sure the views are good and not facing bin/garbage areas or car-parks. Use screening with plants or timber fencing to hide ugly areas.

7. LIGHTING

Again use outdoor fittings which suit your style whether modern or traditional. Lights can be fitted into all kinds of things and places. Try outdoor led rope lights below skirtings at low level or above a wall for a nice warm glow. Often you can find a fitting which lights up and down thus getting the double benefit. Choose lighting that will create ambiance without giving your customers a headache from the glare. Candles always look fab in a garden setting set into simple glass jam jars, bird cages or antique sieves or metal objects. If you have an outdoor bar make it glow in the dark with candles and led strip lights.

8. OUTDOOR BARS

Check the local regulations on this – in many cases outdoor bars need to be located in a smoke free area otherwise the person serving at the bar will be subject to smoke inhalation. If using timber, use teak or a suitable outdoor timber with as little detail as possible so that water does not collect in its cracks. Using timber outdoors means you are going to have to commit to maintaining it. Being subject to all kinds of weather means that whatever finish you use will need to be topped up regularly. Stone counter-tops are great because the water runs off. Use lockable fridges and under counter units for security. Make sure there is permanent cover over the Bar and the customer so that the counter can be used in all weather.

9. PLANTING

Flowers make people smile so go mad with them! Use colours to suit your garden’s palette. Its always good to have a few varieties in a planter or pot just in case one of them fail. You can plant flowers in anything as long as there are holes for run off water – buckets, bicycles, beds… have a look at these ideas. Ask your plumber to install a piped watering system set to a timer with feeds running to all your plants and flowers. It can be set to water at night so that run off water will have disappeared by morning. Change your planters to ivy’s and small trees like box hedge in the winter for an evergreen look.

I recommend you hire a designer to guide you through all of this. A professionals advise is worth it and you can usually agree with a designer as to the level they get involved so as to suit your budget.

For more ideas on gardens check out the blog posts at http://www.pubdesigndoctor.com/category/beer-gardens/

Sample Strategic Planning and Analysis For Panera Bread Company

Panera Bread has an opportunity for growth within a challenging industry in two key areas – increased sales of specialty drinks and opening international locations – that will enable the company to spread its mission of fresh bread for everyone while increasing the bottom line for shareholders. By utilizing many frameworks for thought and projecting the estimated financials of the company, we are able to empirically show that these two strategies will be beneficial to the customer.

Utilize Historically High Margins on Specialty Drinks to Drive Bottom Line Growth

While Panera’s core business revolves around fresh bread, the style of the locations suggests that there is substantial revenue in selling coffee and related drinks, similar to Starbucks. Looking at the coffee market, estimated real growth is 2.7% or roughly 5.7% given a 3% inflation rate while the number of establishments, the actual coffee shops, is expected to grow only 1.6%, meaning that each shop on average will see increased revenue, due in part to a 3.5% growth in domestic demand (See Appendix A). Further, profit in specialty drinks is estimated at 19.8%, much higher than Panera’s 6.4% profit margin. This means that increasing the sales of specialty drinks will have a positive impact on Panera’s bottom line – clearly the industry is growing and is a good industry to be in for Panera. According to Buffalo Wild Wings’ franchise disclosure document, more than 40% of revenue is generated via alcohol and specialty drinks sales. If Panera were able to generate this level of sales with a 19.3% profit margin, its bottom line would increase by nearly 7.8% to 14.2%, abnormally high for the restaurant industry (which averages 4-5% margins). Though this profit margin level is likely not sustainable, the short-term boost in profit margin will help Panera expand its operations internationally to capture economies of scale with its suppliers.

Look to Industry Incumbents for Knowledge and Re-arrange Menu Locations

Visually, the layout of a Starbuck’s, Dunkin’ Doughnuts, or Caribou Coffee are much more fluid than Panera Bread with respect to the coffee ordering location. This analysis draws heavily on the Eden Prairie Mall and Downtown Minneapolis Nicollet Mall locations. The customer flow for Eden Prairie and Downtown is awkward; the customer must enter the store, walk past the bakery and coffee areas, and then order at the registers. The issue is that the coffee menus are located above the bakery items, not in clear view of the customer at the time of ordering. By the time the customer is ready to order, he or she has forgotten what drink to order; furthermore, the drinks are creatively named which is positive for brand identity, but awkward for the average male customer to order. At the very least, the coffee and specialty drinks need to undergo the following changes:

· Move the menus to the same wall face as the meal menus to ensure customers know what coffee is offered when ordering

· Arrange the bakery display cases nearer to the registers to entice more impulse purchases

· Remove queue line markers during non-rush times, especially in front of the bakery display cases

· Increase the offerings of specialty drinks, including researching alcoholic beverages, to attract coffee shop regulars into Panera

By focusing on combining the café design with a coffee shop atmosphere, Panera can become a “chill out” spot as well as a premier location for both lunch and dinner. Furthermore, this change can be carried to the international markets where café atmospheres, such as those in France, are more prevalent.

Expand Internationally to Build Brand Image and Diversify Economic Risks

Given that Panera is pursuing Canadian locations, it is safe to assume that the international market for fresh bread is growing. Indeed, the international market breakdown of industry revenues can be found in Appendix B. Clearly, the European market is a large market for fresh bread. However, IBIS World estimates that 135,000 bakeries operate in Europe, meaning the market is fragmented. A brand with a large marketing budget behind it could quickly enter the market and take a key position (See Appendix C). Given that the culture and preferences of European customers may differ from Americans, it would be best to test new products in Canada prior to the overseas launch of the Panera brand. An interesting facet of the European market is the strong relationship between the industrial agricultural and milling companies and the industrial bakeries. The largest bakeries are owned by the largest milling and agricultural firms in the U.K., Sweden, and Austria. This may cause supply chain issues in these countries, though Panera could pursue a partnership or joint venture approach to these markets.

Leverage on Existing Assets to Increase Shareholder Return and Expand

According to Panera’s 2009 10-K, the company had an interest coverage ratio of 200.9x, with EBIT of $140m and interest payments of $700k. Additionally, distance-to-default, a key metric for risk of debt, is quite large (larger is better) as the cash on hand of Panera is $77.1m and the debt/equity ratio is 0.0%. Retained earnings and total equity are $346m and $495m, respectively. This suggests a large cushion prior to debt default in an extreme situation. In Appendix D, the large difference between Panera and its rivals in terms of debt load is clearly seen. Given that Panera has $153.2m in FCF, it is safe to assume that Panera could issue at the very least 1.0x FCF, though a safe debt load for a company can be as low as 2x EBITDA, or $400m in debt. With the average café costing $1.6m, Panera would be able to finance the expansion of its brand across approximately 250 corporate-owned locations internationally. As seen in Appendix E, Panera would be in the top three of its main competition with these new locations.

As with all public companies, Panera must return value to its shareholders while not ignoring the broader array of stakeholders with whom it interacts. FactSet estimates Panera’s 2010 sales growth at 10.4% with EPS of $3.41 per share, a 20.6% increase over 2009. Our proposed strategy would benefit the company both in the short term and long term. In the short term, sales would be increased and profit margin would increase by 500 bps to 770 bps based on specialty drink sales. If the international expansion plan is pursued, Panera would see sales growth in 2011 beyond the estimated 10.3% and EPS well beyond the projected $3.98. Though the increase in debt may force management to pay more attention to the cash flow of the company, the increased leverage will allow Panera to increase its ROE substantially. If Panera wishes to remain competitive, it must utilize its economies of scale to grow faster than competition and continually innovate, becoming the “fast follower” by utilizing adjacent industry innovations in its café atmosphere.

Appendicies can be found at Liekos Group’s website.

The Significance of Restaurant Tables And Chairs in the Food Industry

Serving quality food and preparing delicious and unique recipes have always been important for a food business. People never forget the place where they had been provided tasty food even if they visited there once in their life. However it is not true that only quality and taste of food makes a restaurant completes and could become the success of a food business.

Nowadays, fashion and style has been injected into each and every field of life and the food businesses are not an exception in this regard. People not only like but expect to be served in a classy atmosphere with style and luxury present in all the belongings. For example, customers expect to be served in classy utensils and provided with luxurious restaurant tables and chairs. They also prefer a restaurant where they find a well groomed and beautiful environment.

Besides the element of being classy and fashionable, there is one more important fact and that is the comfort which you have for your customers. Restaurant tables and chairs are responsible more for the comfort level of your place. Customers estimate the worth or standard of a restaurant from the appearance of its furniture. If a restaurant is using cheap kind of furniture, people will consider its foods cheap and of low quality. Restaurant furniture plays an important role in the food business. Each and every customer will use your furniture or at least see it. Those who come to get the food pack and take away with them also wait having a seat in your dinning hall. Those who come with the intention of dinning also use to sit on your restaurant tables and chairs.

It is true that you have to select a design for your tables and chairs as per your interior theme and a quality as per your budget. However, there is one thing which you can mange in any situation and that is the beauty and comfort of the furniture you are going to buy. By browsing a little bit over the internet would be helpful for you before deciding on a particular design or rate.