Restaurant Services and Competitive Advantage

Introduction

Restaurants play an integral role in the lives of many people since they offer a variety of products and services. This enables people to enjoy themselves as they continue with their daily lives. Restaurants offer varieties of food as well as services such as outside catering services and Wi-Fi services especially to the working class because of time constraints. There has been a tremendous change in the restaurant sector because of the demands from the customers, majority of them changing their customer service and quality food preferences. This has made restaurants change their menu as well as offer exceptional services that attract different categories of customers (Egerton-Thomas, 2006). In this case, the paper will be based on the hypothesis that “Restaurants offering different services have a competitive advantage than simple restaurants.”

Current trends in the workplace have seen many people enjoy their meals without worrying about returning to the offices. The world is increasingly turning into a global village because of the tremendous technological change. In addition, people can sit and eat in a restaurant as they continue to work. It is now possible to see majority of customers in a restaurant working on their laptops as they eat. These customers are multi-tasking whereby they are enjoying their meals and at the same time working. Previously, people did not have time to sit and enjoy their meals because they were always on the move. This was the period when many fast-food restaurants emerged that served many people who did not have time to sit and enjoy meals. Majority of the people could be seen walking while eating on the streets, but these times have changed (Lee, 2011).

Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry consists of a wide variety of categories offering services to consumers and some of these categories include cruise line, transportation, theme parks, event planning, lodging, bars, hotels, travel, leisure, and restaurants. The hospitality industry is among the noble sectors in the tourism industry, which is also a service industry. The hospitality industry ensures that customers are served food and drinks and it ensures that customers can enjoy their leisure time, conference facilities and accommodation if need be. The hospitality industry is a vital sector in the economy since it generates a lot of revenue from both tourists and the local people (Henkel, 2006).

On the other hand, a restaurant is mainly a business outlet that serves and prepares food and drinks for its customers, but the difference between various restaurants depends on what they offer. There has been an emergence of classy restaurants lately due to the changing trends of customer preferences. Majority of the restaurant customers’ value and enjoy quality food and drinks in a restaurant. They also prefer a classy ambiance as well as exceptional customer service. Current technological changes are making restaurants offer different cuisines in various specialty restaurants. People nowadays are knowledgeable of cuisines from any corner of the world since that information can be found on the internet (Miller, 2010).

Majority of these customers want to have a taste of foods from various parts of the world. This is the paramount reason why there are various types of restaurants such as Arabic, Chinese, African dishes, and Oriental cuisine restaurants, which offer a variety of cuisines. In addition, a restaurant that incorporates various cuisines will most likely succeed in the competitive world of business. The reason for this is that, it has a competitive advantage over the other restaurants, which offer simple menus such as lunch and breakfast (Egerton-Thomas, 2006).

A menu is mainly an offering of a variety of food and beverage presentation where a customer can choose what he/she wants to eat and drink. The menu consists of a list of various dishes, which are readily available in a particular restaurant. This list contains food to be served or is available at a meal or in a restaurant. A catering bar contains a variety of food items, which a customer can prefer eating. A catering bar is also referred to as a buffet whereby a customer pays a fixed amount of money and he/she has the freedom to eat what they desire. There is no strict limitation to the food quantity, which the customer will eat. Happy hour is a special time set by a restaurant whereby it serves various foods and drinks at a reduced price. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the normal meals, which people take although they differ in terms of the time and the food that is served (Brown, 2007).

Outside catering refers to providing restaurant services but in a different environment, which is outside the restaurant. This includes hiring restaurants services in weddings, graduation ceremonies, and during special events. Fine dining and specialty restaurants offer a unique blend of fine dining whereby customers enjoy exotic foods and expensive drinks as they enjoy themselves. This offers a lifetime experience although it is expensive. Wi-Fi services are nowadays among the current trends in the restaurant industry since many people can now continue working as they enjoy their meals at a restaurant. Majority of them can be seen busy working on a laptop, iPad and a Smartphone doing their work as they eat. Since these gadgets need an internet connection, many restaurants have offered free Wi-Fi Services so that they attract this kind of customers because their spending power is high. Free Wi-Fi services provide these restaurants with a competitive advantage over the other simple restaurants (Lee, 2011).

Restaurants have also diversified their services, and nowadays they are not only offering their restaurant facilities for eating and drinking but they have taken advantage of the numerous meetings that people and organizations hold. This is a major reason restaurants have introduced conference facilities whereby they offer rooms where meetings can be held at the same time offer food and drinks to these meeting participants. This is a revenue-generating avenue since a restaurant can offer their meals at the normal times and then provide the restaurant facility for meetings especially when the restaurant is not busy. This also offers the restaurants an opportunity to sell their foods and drinks. Such restaurants have a competitive advantage, and they will continue succeeding as compared to the other simple restaurants, which only offer the traditional breakfast and lunch menu (Henkel, 2006).

Restaurants have also embraced events planning services in their wide range of services, which they offer to their customers. Event planning involves organizing an occasion or an event, which brings people with a common goal together mainly for celebration, or launching a certain product. Restaurants have been able to tap into this noble market, offer their restaurant facilities, and serve guests with food and drinks. This is an income-generating avenue, which has made many restaurants succeed since they have taken advantage of this great opportunity (Miller, 2010).

Today’s restaurant customer is health conscious, very knowledgeable, and selective on the food they eat since they want to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Such customers will require special menus with details about a particular type of food and restaurants have responded positively through offering special menus to these customers. These restaurants have gradually increased because they attract many customers who are health conscious (Lynn, 2009).

Some of these restaurants will even offer cooking facilities for the customers to cook their favorite dishes using the restaurant facilities. This makes the customers very happy and proud because they are comfortable eating food that they have prepared and cooked. These restaurants ideally offer a home experience, and some of them attract tourists who are away from their homes and still miss eating their local cuisines. These customers will most likely be high spenders, and this will make the restaurant make good revenue and, therefore, succeed eventually. The special menu option offered by these restaurants will make them grow as compared to other simple restaurants offering breakfast or just lunch (Alonzo, 2008).

Roles/Arguments

It is evident from the above services, which are offered by some restaurants that they will be more successful than those restaurants that offer simple breakfast or just lunch. These valuable services ensure that these restaurants continue enjoying a competitive advantage over the other restaurants, which offer breakfast or just lunch. It is, therefore, paramount for the restaurants to diversify their products and services so that they can become relevant in the business world. Customer preferences are gradually changing, and restaurants have to be abreast with these trends so that they can take advantage of any emerging trends. This gives them a competitive advantage over the other restaurant (Brown, 2007).

However, there are many restaurants, which have stuck to the traditional functions of the restaurant. Such restaurants only serve breakfast only or lunch only, or both and this minimizes their chances of succeeding since they are not able to take advantage of the emerging trends. These restaurants should conduct competitive analysis studies on other restaurants, and they will be surprised to note that they will eventually close shop. The reason for this is that, majority of these restaurants came into operation some years back where they attracted customers, but they have refused to change with the current trends. Customers nowadays are more knowledgeable on what they want to eat, and they will most likely go to eat, in a restaurant that offers special menus. This means that the restaurants that offer breakfast or lunch only will miss this great opportunity of making revenue, and they will be chasing away potential customers (Alonzo, 2008).

Restaurants with diversified services such as those mentioned above will always have customers coming back to eat at their restaurants since they have portrayed that they are abreast with the current customer preferences. However, those restaurants that offer breakfast or lunch only will attract those customers, who have no other option, but to eat there. A restaurant is a business, and its main purpose is to make profits. Therefore, it should ensure that it conducts market surveys so that it can be abreast with the latest customer preferences (Rainsford, Bangs & NetLibrary, Inc., 2007).

Recommendations

It is evident that those restaurants with diversified services and products will be more successful than those restaurants that offer simple breakfast or just lunch. The exceptional services that these restaurants offer ensure that these restaurants will always continue enjoying a competitive advantage over the other restaurants, which offer breakfast or just lunch. Restaurants need to continue diversifying their products and services in accordance to the customer’s preferences. Such an initiate will ensure that such restaurants continue becoming relevant in the business world (Parrish, 2014).

Customer preferences are gradually changing, and restaurants have to be abreast with these trends so that they can take advantage of any emerging trends. This gives them a competitive advantage over the other restaurants. Restaurants with diversified services will ensure that they offer the above-mentioned services whereas those simple restaurants that offer breakfast or just lunch will only offer those limited services. This means that these simple restaurants are limiting themselves from many business aspects, which include limiting their revenues, potential customers, and chances of business growth. Thus, those restaurants that offer diversified services will always have a competitive advantage over those simple restaurants that only offer breakfast or just lunch (Taylor, 2014).

Conclusion

Restaurants are supposed to continue always conducting competitive analysis so that they can know current customer preference, as well as the current trends in the restaurant sector. Such an activity and the implementation of the recommendations provided will ensure that it succeeds since it has attained a competitive advantage. It is integral for restaurants to introduce these noble services mentioned in this study so that they can have a competitive advantage. Today’s world is changing gradually, and restaurants need to be abreast with these changes since they also affect customer preferences. There is no doubt that those restaurants that have diversified services such catering bar, happy hour, breakfast, lunch, Wi-Fi Services, conference facilities, event planning, dinner, special menus, are more successful than simple breakfast or just lunch restaurants.

References

Alonzo, R. S. (2008). The Upstart guide to owning and managing a restaurant. Chicago, Ill: Upstart Pub.

Brown, D. R. (2007). The restaurant manager’s handbook: How to set up, operate, and manage a financially successful food service operation. Ocala, Fla: Atlantic Pub.

Egerton-Thomas, C. (2006). How to open and run a successful restaurant. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

Henkel, S. L. (2006). How to open a financially successful pizza & sub restaurant. Ocala, Fla: Atlantic Pub. Group.

Lee, R. (2011). The everything guide to starting and running a restaurant: The ultimate resource for starting a successful restaurant!. Avon, Mass: Adams Media.

Lynn, J. (2009). Start your own restaurant business 3E: Pizzeria, coffeehouse, deli, bakery, catering business. Irvine, Calif: Jere L. Calmes.

Miller, D. (2010). Starting A Small Restaurant. New York: Routledge.

Parrish, G. (2014). Starting a Successful Restaurant 101. New York: Brain Food.

Rainsford, P., Bangs, D. H., & NetLibrary, Inc. (2007). The restaurant start-up guide: A 12-month plan for successfully starting a restaurant. Chicago: Dearborn.

Taylor, W. (2014). How To Start A Successful Restaurant Business. Washington: Epic Publishing.