Author: Marketing, 22 February 2018

Ed's Diner announced at the start of the week that they would be rolling out a Nando’s style counter ordering service in order to speed up the service process and to give customers more choice over what they are having. The initiative forms part of the wider turnaround plan the parent company Boparan Restaurant Group has for the ailing brand that saw almost half of the units closing in 2016.

I went to visit one of the two trial stores in Woodstock Street in Central London. The unit is tucked away in a small side street off the main thoroughfare of Oxford Street and as such suffers from poor visibility.

Once inside the restaurant, the staff members were friendly and the food itself - a halloumi burger with a side of corn on the cob promptly delivered - was not bad at all. Aside from the minor fact that the shape of the unit does not lend itself to being a counter service operation - as the service counter is located right behind the front door which, during busy times will cause congestion - I am not convinced the operator’s product is differentiated enough from the rest of the pack. If you have little USPs in a saturated market such as the burger market, what incentive will your customers have to choose you over others?

Strong brand identity is key to success. To create strong brand identity businesses need to either differentiate themselves with a product or service that is unique or offer an undifferentiated product or service but at the lowest cost. Adopt neither of these strategies and you will find yourself at the mercy of competitors, even if you are able to achieve some operational efficiencies and incremental sales through certain initiatives. This is especially important in places like London where there is no shortage of choices when it comes to eating out.

What was great to see was that Ed’s is clearly keen to understand how their customers feel about the new service format, as evidenced by the external market researcher whom I was interviewed by after I had finished eating. Without giving away the purpose of my visit, I gave her snippets of constructive feedback which I hope will be taken on board going forwards. More importantly, I look forward to seeing how the rest of the year pans out for the operator as they continue rolling out the concept across the rest of the 27 unit strong estate. I wish them all the success!

What the review highlighted is that whilst there is a constant requirement for operators to review and develop their brand, proposition and operating model, they, along with landlords, need robust, detailed assessment of the customer based opportunities and what drives performance at a micro and macro level. This is where FSP can help via our unparalleled level of understanding of locations within the UK and, more importantly, what factors underline the operational success of different retailers and F&B operators. Please contact me to learn more.     

Tags: F&B

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