Monday, November 26, 2007

Sea of Sameness:

Ronald D. White’s LA Times article “Eating out is getting Lonelier” chronicles restaurants struggling with current macroeconomic conditions.

"…There are just a lot of people here worried about higher costs and debt, people we know who are trying to save enough just to make their house payments."

The slowing economy is giving restaurants heartburn, with experts calling this the worst period for eateries in years…

“…But the chains that appeal to a less affluent crowd are feeling it, and they were not prepared to weather a sudden challenge.

"These chains need to be rejuvenated and given a new life. Their menus are too similar. In discussions with consumers in focus groups, you often hear that they can remember a commercial advertisement, but they couldn't remember whether it was for an Applebee's or a TGI Friday's or a Ruby Tuesday. It was a sea of sameness," said consultant Paul of Technomic.”

Sea of sameness is the antithesis of creating customer advocacy. Yes, there are economic conditions over which you as a restaurateur have no control. The customer experience is what you have control over. Focus on creating a memorable experience that is worthy of telling other people about. Focus on creating customer advocacy and avoid the adventure of drifting in a sea of sameness!