3. Strategic Focus and Plan
This section tackles the (1) mission, (2) vision, and (3) goals of the Japanese restaurant. These serve as the guidelines that will put focus and delineate the activities of the strategy throughout the course of marketing the restaurant.
The mission of the restaurant is to provide high-quality Japanese food that will satisfy the customers. At the same time, it aims to provide worthwhile employment opportunities for all. Convenience is an important part of the restaurant’s mission. It is important to be able to retain high food quality while maintaining customer satisfaction and convenience to consumers. Holding on to this mission, the restaurant will ensure that all of the activities and initiatives follow the objectives of the marketing plan.
The restaurant envisions increasing its sales by 150% in the next six months. This vision requires developments on the service and facilities. Maximizing on the existing facilities should be a core consideration. New promotions and products are also seen as contributory. While this increase may seem difficult to enforce in the time frame expected, it should still be possible with proper planning, implementation of the plan, and monitoring. Cooperation will also be necessary for the missions and visions to be achieved at the most optimum level that will benefit both customers and the restaurant.
The restaurant has set goals to ensure standardized service and vision. These goals are set for the next six months, in time to the vision of increasing revenue for the restaurant. There are non-financial goals, which are mostly goals about improvements that may be done with the restaurant service and management. There are also financial goals that have to be met for the restaurant without sacrificing its mission and vision.
1. To provide better customer service
2. To increase customers
3. To welcome customers from all nationalities, not only Japanese
4. To add more products to the menu
5. To improve the ambience of the restaurant
6. To introduce new services to the customers
1. To increase profits by the end of 2008 for 150%
2. To minimize expenses
3. To create new avenues for earning
There are different strategies that one can follow through to ensure that these goals are achieved. To provide better customer service, it is important to train employees on proper customer service etiquette and response. This should be made without sacrificing the by-laws of the company. By adding more products to the menu, improving the ambience of the restaurant, and introducing new services to customers, it will be equally easy to welcome new customers. It will also follow that customers from other countries and nationalities will find the restaurant appealing. The trend on fusion cooking and fusion dining will greatly help to achieve this goal. Chefs in the restaurant should be able to adapt to these new trends. Again, training and openness to new ideas is integral.
As with the financial goals, getting 150% increase in revenue can be made by attracting more customers and looking for or creating new avenues to earn. For example, the restaurant may want to sell Japanese products or goods, or associate the products with their meals to better make selling leads. Another potential would be selling bento boxes to offices with delivery service and accepting reservations and caterings for functions. Buffet dining reservations on certain days or at a certain part of the restaurant will also attract more customers and give variety to the offerings of the restaurant.
Promotions will also help in increasing sales. The restaurant can give discounts, gifts, free food items, free products and other things that can make the customers come back for more. Increasing the price for some new food products is also recommended especially if the taste and quantity is competitive.
Cutting down on overhead expenses and maximizing the current materials of the restaurant will also contribute in increasing revenues. If the income is handled wisely, the more there will be profits. This cutting down is not exclusive to financial resources. Taking care of the facilities and equipment of the restaurant also equals savings because it decreases additional expenses on repairs and replacements that may arise from improper handling and usage of products, equipment, and facilities. When the processes and resources and managed properly, there will be less losses. This will equal to more gains for the restaurant. In effect, these extra revenues create better leverage for the restaurant. It can also be used to invest on new products or facilities that can make service more efficient.
5. Product Market Focus
This section presents and analyzes the marketing and product objectives of the restaurant, describes the target market, highlights the points of difference and creates a positioning for the business. All of these are essential in studying the operations and the management of the restaurants’ offerings. Studying the products is the first step to creating the most efficient marketing plan for the restaurant.
Marketing and Product Objectives
There are different aspects of the market that should be explored and analyzed to better identify the new opportunities that the business can take advantage of. This includes existing customers, new potential customers, existing products, and new products that can be offered. These target markets are the basis for product development, and positioning.
The restaurant hopes to welcome all customers. However, the primary group is 20 to 30 years old middle class working professionals from different cultures and ethnicities. The restaurant aims to welcome people from all cultural backgrounds. While the Japanese will be the primary customers, people of other nationalities will be encouraged to try the food and experience the authenticity of the restaurant and the expertise of its service.
Existing customers. Today, the customers of the restaurant are mostly Japanese, with isolated local guests from time to time. Most guests come as families, especially those reserving for events and celebrations. There are also guests who are students and professional workers. Ages and social backgrounds of the current guest vary widely. It is important to take care of these customers.
New customers. The restaurant aims to welcome new customers. This includes more locals, more families, couples, work groups, and peer groups. It is important to capture these customers. This will not only diversify the clientele of the restaurant, it will also make more sales.
Existing products. The current products concentrate on authentic Japanese cuisine. The usual tempuras, makis, and sobas among others remain favorites.
New products. Introducing new products is equally important. It allows new customers to try out the restaurant and their impression greatly affects the company. A good consideration at this point is the vision to entice customers from all nationalities to come in and dine in the restaurant. Thus, new products should cater not only to the Japanese but people who are interested in trying out the Japanese cuisine but may not be too adventurous.
Point of Difference
The restaurant also has some points of difference, things and highlights that make it unique among its competitors and for stakeholders.
Good food. People come to a restaurant to get good food. If the food is not good, the restaurant will greatly suffer. Food is the main reason why people will come back in the restaurant. The restaurant should maintain good taste and presentation for customers to come back and become regular diners.
Low price. The food items at the restaurant are priced competitively. Some items are even priced lower as compared to other restaurants’ price. The restaurant should maintain this pricing scheme.
Convenience. Restaurant diners do not always have the luxury of time to spend hours inside the shop to eat. Sometimes, it helps if they can get something quick to eat or take with them. The restaurant should offer this, and so it touches an integral part of food service—convenience. Waiting time should be decreased. By making waiting efficient, with tables being readied for occupancy as soon as diners leave, a high turnover of customers can be created and this has positive implications to the increase in revenue as well.
Unique food. The Japanese restaurant should offer an alternative cuisine to all. It gives food that are not ordinarily available anywhere. When one is tired of the normal fast food or restaurant offering, the restaurant can offer something new and something different.
Premium presentation of food. The restaurant should follow a standardized process of presenting the food served, whether served inside the restaurant or taken to go.
Great service. The restaurant should offer above-standard service and assistance to all customers. This makes customers feel that their needs are attended to and that they are taken cared of. They are served the Japanese way to make the experience even more interesting to the diners.
There are many Japanese restaurants around the world, all of them claiming to serve authentic Japanese cuisine, with great taste, and matched with great dining experience. However, this specialty dining is not cheap. Many will have to shell out hundreds of dollars to fully enjoy great and authentic foreign meals. The Japanese restaurant offers the cross between these—real Japanese cooking that is accessible to the middle class. The restaurant is something casual and attractive to the majority, yet still maintained at the highest level of quality.
As the restaurant has been known for this for a long time, it is recommended that this should be maintained. No expansion should be in plan. It is asserted that expansions at this time may affect the quality of the service being offered and that pf the food being served. No change in food quality is recommended as well, and even in the ingredients and preparation, to ensure that standardized tastes of menu items are followed.
The dining industry is highly saturated, and often a restaurant gets caught in the crowd and becomes hard to notice. However, the restaurant may do something to stand out. Some suggestions include pleasing the diners in terms of food and service quality. This should be a top priority to the restaurant. Yet the restaurant should also do something new for diners. As suggested, being a dining and shopping point for all things Japanese is a good avenue to consider. Diners can check the products on sale while dining, and they can think about their purchases well.
Offering services not offered in other restaurants will also be a big plus. Giving out birthday cards with coupons, 50% discount for regulars on special days like anniversaries, a wish list for customers, free desert, or a free Japanese toy for kids who dine in.
Lastly, it is important to create a lasting trademark that diners will remember. Serving free tea can be taken to another level by offering flavors; creating menu sets will also make food selection faster. By maintaining this concern in price and quality the restaurant will be on a better standing than the others.
6. Marketing Program
This section discusses the product, product quality, price, and promotion for the restaurant, otherwise called the 4 Ps. The 4 Ps are the determinants of the main marketing program. It is important to consider these when studying a product because it allows one to see the product in all its aspects.
Product strategy includes product line, product quality, and packaging.
Product Line. The restaurant will offer the following authentic Japanese food.
o Garden salad ($2.50). Fresh greens tossed in ginger dressing
o Ika salad ($5.00). Squid marinated with cucumber and special juice
o Edamame ($4.00). Steamed Japanese soybeans
o Shumai ($5.00). Steamed shrimp dumplings
o Gyoza ($5.00). Japanese fried dumplings served with orange sauce
o Yakitori ($5.00). Chicken skewers served with teriyaki sauce
o Haru Maki ($5.50). Fried spring rolls served with orange sauce
· Entrees ($10) (served with rice and miso soup)
o Tempura. Deep-fried in special batter and served with sweet and sour sauce
Choices: Vegetable, Chicken and Vegetable, Shrimp and Vegetable, Seafood
o Katsu. Deep fried pork cutlets served with tonkatsu sauce
o Sukiyaki. Beef and vegetables in glass noodles and sukiyaki broth
o Udon. Noodles served with side salad
Choices: Nabe Yaki (chicken and egg), Seafood, Yaki (beef, chicken, or shrimp)
· Rolls ($4.00). Filling rolled in Japanese rice and nori
o Choices: California, Mango, Futo Maki, Vegetable, Spicy Tuna, Sweet Potato
· Sushi Ala Carte ($2.25)
o Choices: Maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), ebi (shrimp), kani (crab stick)
· Sushi Bar Buffet ($25). Sushi and sashimi buffet table
· NEW PRODUCTS
o Takenoko Gohan ($15). Bamboo shoots and tofu in Japanese rice
o Matsutake Gohan ($15). Mushrooms and tofu in Japanese rice
o Dotenabe ($25). Oyster and miso hotpot
o Yose Nabe ($25). Vegetable and seafood hotpot
o Konnyaku-Dengaku ($18). Grilled yam cake with sweet miso
o Dora-Yaki ($6). Red bean pancakes served with hot tea
o Shio-Zuke ($2.50). Salted pickles
o Kyabetsu To Ninjin No Asazuke ($2.50). Pickled cabbage and carrot
Unique product quality. The restaurant only uses authentic ingredients from Japan, except meat and seafood which should be procured fresh. The secret to good Japanese food is the freshness of the ingredients. Taste of stock ingredients usually come out of the food, especially those served raw or almost raw. Thus, it is important to use fresh ingredients to maintain the high quality of the food items.
In preparation, it is recommended that food is made in small batches to ensure that all items served are freshly made. To avoid getting shortage on the menu items, the chef should always be on the standby to prepare new pre-made food, and to prepare short-order food items. Because the food items are made in small batches leftovers are kept at a minimum. Use of preservatives and other flavorings should also be avoided or kept at a minimum at the least to ensure that every food item is authentic.
Presentation of the food should be standardized. The portioning and the styling should be maintained at the strictest quality. Styling should also be made with ingredients that are already part of the particular food item to minimize wastages. As Japanese food items are essentially already healthy, it is also a strong point for the restaurant that the food items are healthy—no transfat, oil is kept at the minimum, and ingredients are healthy. Thus, this characteristic of the Japanese cuisine should be maintained.
Packaging. The restaurant requires packaging for its takeout services. It uses disposable bento boxes, disposable soba bowls, and takeout boxes for its food products. All packaging materials are hygienic and easy to use, and come with chopsticks. Packaging takes earth colors, to go with the nature theme of Japanese restaurants.
It has should been taken into consideration that packaging materials should be spill proof. Thus, paper boxes should be guaranteed thick to avoid accidental or occasional spills. Double-lined boxes with wax paper are recommendable. The wax paper also absorbs any excess oil in the food, making it healthier. The takeout packages should be wrapped, finally, in a tear-proof paper bag where accidental spills can be contained.
The restaurant envisions providing the highest quality for their food while maintaining lower price tags as compared to its competitors. All of the ala carte items in the restaurant menu are priced at $10 or less. Appetizers, in fact, are priced at $6 or less. Given this pricing, the restaurant does not sacrifice the quality and quantity of the products, which remain reasonable.
There are items in the menu that are more than $10, yet the quantity of the high-quality food entailed on those price tags justifies the price. This strategy of keeping high-end and low-end price tags aim to entice people from all backgrounds to experience the restaurant and hopefully come back for more. Thus, this pricing scheme should be continued.
Yet it is important to consider that there may be times when the prices of commodities increase. Thus, it is recommended that some food items may be more expensive. This can be done by introducing bigger sizes of serving with higher prices. The restaurant may also introduce an all-new food product. Thus, the price will not be compared with the other items in the menu. These strategies are important because price is a chief consideration as well as quality of the food being served. If the price is good, the better chance that a customer will dine. Customers should be served with food that they will pay premium for, but should also have the alternative to order lower-priced food items.
The restaurant will initiate efforts in promoting the name and products of the place. This includes coupons, advertisements, fliers, and other promotional materials and techniques.
Coupons. The restaurant can position coupons in different locations and times. A priority placement for coupons is food magazines or community newspapers as these coupons double as advertisements for the restaurant. This ensures that people who are near the restaurant may take advantage of the promo, while people from far-off locations can schedule a visit or a reservation on the place.
The restaurant should also advertise. Advertisements help promote products without the need to give incentives to the client. Any form of media may be used to carry out this promotional strategy. For print advertisements, it is important to point out that the restaurant offers authentic Japanese food at lesser costs. Highlights should also be given to the amenities of the restaurant and the service that the staff can extend.
For radio advertisements, sounds do the work. Thus, the restaurant should use lively music for background as features of the restaurant are narrated is a good strategy. As with television advertisements, it is important to include interesting visuals. It will help with brand register and create lasting impression for the restaurant.
Advertisements may be posted or put on websites. Websites that pertain to food and restaurant reviews will be a good primary placement target because the traffic of visitors in these websites are guaranteed to be food lovers or regular diners. Coupon promotions may also be paired with online advertisements. The restaurant can give out printable coupons that may be redeemed to the restaurant.
Fliers may be used for longer and cheaper print advertising. It can be produced in a bigger space at fewer costs. These fliers may be distributed. The restaurant may also choose to insert fliers into magazines and newspapers for additional exposure.
As mentioned earlier, new and fun ways to market the restaurant is also recommended. One way is to give out discounts to regular customers, such as 50% off of the bill during anniversaries. Another scheme is to encourage club membership, and members will be given a birthday card on their birthday that has discount coupons inside. The restaurant may also give complimentary food such as deserts to a group or couple reserving the restaurant for a celebration or event.
The wish list is another recommended technique. The restaurant can put questionnaires in each table, asking diners what menu item they would like to see next in the restaurant. The questionnaire should also ask for the contact number of the person doing the survey. When the food item is offered, the staff can call the customer and invite him to a discounted introductory price.
Lastly, because many diners come as families, kids should also be given special treatment. They can get free toys on their second visit, or get the toy with a minimum food purchase, or when they order a particular food item. This will make dining more exciting.
It is essential to consider proper execution and monitoring to ensure that the strategies are maximized. As a final recommendation, it should be noted that each and every promotion strategy will require a budget. Wastages and ineffective placements should be minimized or avoided because they can greatly dent precious revenues. Existing promotional practices should be maximized as it will decrease the chances for losses.
The restaurant, as pointed out earlier, does not have plans to expand. It believes that putting amenities before quality will greatly affect its food offerings. The same concern goes for franchising and reselling food items. Because of these issues, the food products of the Japanese restaurant will be exclusively distributed to the restaurant and sold to walk-in buyers and delivery callers. Recommendation for distribution can be given to non-food items. The products that are non-food may be resold or distributed in other areas. Because they are non-perishable and can easily be transported to other places without regard to quality being sacrificed, it is easier to sell them in other places. It should also be considered that unique items will sell more, so as collectible items. Thus, it should be considered that the items should be authentic and of great value. In hindsight, this also helps establish the look and feel of the restaurant that will make it high end despite the low-end prices of some food items that are being served. Proper monitoring should be made to ensure that distributors uphold the image of the restaurant.
7. Financial data projection
This section tries to compare and make recommendations on the past, present, and future of the restaurant, especially in terms of revenues. It is important to take note of these data because the restaurant’s goal is to increase sales by 150% in the short time of six months.
Since its first opening, the restaurant has met its monthly quota. A comprehensive increase is seen occasionally. It is notable that customers increase if there are new products that have been introduced. However, it is essential to understand that the sales are affected by the rising prices. Thus, even though there is an increase in sales it is not conclusive that the revenues are high.
Figure 1 presents the sales of the company in the past year, 2007. It should be noted that increase in sales were seen in the months of January, February, August, and December.
Figure 1. Monthly Revenues, Year 2007
The months with the least revenue are November, followed by March and April. It is important to monitor why revenues in these months dropped. In the same way, it is important to find out why some other months witnessed more revenues. Figure 2 may bring enlightenment to some of these points.
Figure 2. Restaurant activities, 2007
New food item
New Year’s Promo
March – September
No new activities
Trick and Treat for Kids
No new activity
To further analyze the increase on revenues in the past year, it should be noted that there are activities made within the year that may have affected the increase in revenues. Figure 2 summarizes the main activities done by the restaurant in 2007. In comparison with Figure 1, it can be noticed that the revenues are high when there are new activities in the restaurant, such as a new food item or a new promotion. On the other hand, revenues drop or remain average when there are no activities in the restaurant. It is notable, however, that there was no promotions made on August, yet the revenue still increased dramatically as shown in Figure 1.
To meet the 150% revenue increase by the end of 2008, the restaurant should double its marketing efforts in these months when the sales are low. The recommendations in Positioning, above, can be made and planned to ensure that the restaurant will have almost consistent sales throughout the next six months, and the months after that.
It is also recommended that the efforts are maintained even on those months when the revenues are high. The restaurant should not be complacent about sales. To ensure that the sales are consistent, the marketing efforts should also be consistent. Every marketing effort should be monitored and ensured that follow-through and feedback is observed.
Figure 3. Five-year Projection, 2008-2012
Figure 3 presents a five year projection on the sales of the restaurant. Currently, based on the 2007 revenues, the company is earning more or less $30,000 a month on the average. This is equivalent to $360,000 annually. Viewing the goal to increase the revenues by 150% in six months, it becomes hypothetical that by the end of the current year 2008, the revenues will skyrocket to almost $500,000. The next year, revenues will increase by $100,000. A higher approximation is expected by 2010, at about $800,000 gross for the year. It is expected that the company will gain its first $1,000,000 in 2011 and it is hoped that the restaurant will be able to sustain this growth.
These projections will be useless without a plan to implement. To increase the sales, the restaurant should be able to serve and attract more customers. The customer should also be encouraged to come back. There are important points that may be considered to ensure that this is possible.
Proper planning. To increase sales by 150% in six months, the chief requirement is to get a proper plan laid out. The plan will initialize the cutting down on costs that will be required and the revenue increase plans that will be made. The plan should also tackle all the needs and opportunities that the restaurant can take advantage of.
Maximized floor space. To accommodate more customers, more tables can be brought in. Efficient table placements and smooth traffic flow should be maintained. The restaurant needs to give more space for customers and eliminate longer waiting and queuing times. The restaurant should also ensure that the walking aisles are enough for diners and crew to not bump onto each other.
Fast service. Fast service should be maintained by the restaurant. The restaurant should give trainings to its staff on how customers can be served fast yet still maintain good service.
Good food. It is necessary to ensure the quality of the food being served. To do this, the ingredients should be checked. The manner of cooking should also be standardized. Lastly, he serving should follow the prescribed size and presentation.
Friendly service. Japanese dining entails good service and hospitality and this should be embodied by the restaurant. The restaurant should give trainings to the staff on how to be friendly but still firm to customers and guests.
Creativity. As seen on the tables, revenues come in when the restaurant has a new activity such as a new food item and a new promotion. Thus, the restaurant should come up with new and interesting activities to renew the interest of the customers to the restaurant.
Price maintenance. One key element why customers come back to the restaurant is the competitive price that it offers food items with. The restaurant should maintain the pricing scheme, especially if it proves itself effective for increasing the sales. If there are adjustments to the prices, new products may be introduced with higher price tags, but the current pricing should be maintained as much as possible.
It is recommended that proper monitoring be made in all aspects of operation. As much as the revenues are increasing, expenses should be kept at a tight watch as well. As this is a critical period with transitions and new activities to set up and follow through, it will be convenient to keep track of the progress of the activities and to create follow-up activities for deficiencies.
Figure 4. Organization for the Japanese Restaurant
9. Implementation Plan
Marketing a Japanese restaurant can be tricky. It should be remembered that the positive and high-end image of the restaurant is maintained even if the prices and services are not as expensive. The implementation should be made and all the staff should be enjoined to cooperating. Everyone should be given a role, and everyone should check on each other.
New Markets Added
Cumulative Percentage of US Markets
Year 1 (2009)
Year 2 (2010)
Year 3 (2011)
Year 4 (2012)
Figure 5. Rollout schedule for marketing the restaurant
Figure 5 presents the rollout plan and projection of the restaurant in the next five years. It shows that currently, 5% of the US market are regulars. An average of 2% increase is seen as each year goes by. While these are all approximations, it is important to note that these projections are made in line with the goals and the marketing plans of the restaurant. The feasibility of the projections here presented should be tested. However, the above table considers the best scenarios alone.
10. Evaluation and Control
Marketing a Japanese restaurant needs to cover all the aspects of making the restaurant known. It does not only require attractive promotions and discounts. Managers need to consider the service they are offering, and the food that they served most importantly. Marketing restaurants should include the products, the market, the positioning, and the other important factors related to managing and marketing the restaurant.
It is recommended that mission, vision, and goals are created. Setting a clear mission and vision as well as setting goals helps delineate the objectives of the company and the products that they offer. The goals may be financial or non-financial, and each play an integral part in marketing the restaurant.
A thorough focus on product objectives and marketing purposes gives the plan more substance. A study of the target market revealed that currently the nationalities of diners is limited. This makes diversifying the menu and marketing more called for. The restaurant also has many unique characteristics that can make it stand out from the competition and this should be taken advantage of. It is important to have these pointed out because these are useful in creating the campaign for the marketing of the restaurant.
The company has a comprehensive marketing plan that can be developed further to enhance its effects on the brand. The products should be increased; doing so will benefit the restaurant and diners as well who are not too adventurous about other cuisines. A fusion on the menu should also be improved on. Menu items from other nationalities should be avoided, but new food products that resemble those that are from other countries will be advantageous. In the same way, new food products from the Japanese cuisine can be adopted to the local palate to encourage more new customers to try Japanese food and the restaurant itself.
The financial data of the restaurant is already impressive for a starter. The projections are realistic in a sense that they are paired with plans of actions. However, it is important to maintain good and proper monitoring for the plans of action to take effect. It is necessary for the restaurant to keep watch of both the ins and outs in terms of finances. The staff should also be required to observe plans for cost cutting, and plans for increasing revenues.
The implementation should be made as soon as possible as it will widely help in ensuring that the financial goals of the plan are met. At all times, it should be noted that the time frame is six months. The timeframe should be watched properly to ensure that the plan will follow the time set properly. The restaurant should be able to identify, as well, the worst case scenario for the program. As much as it is a key element to identify the possibilities, the improbabilities should also be opened. This will lead to a holistic development of marketing plan for the restaurant. The plan should be open to worst possibilities so that damage control can be laid out and implemented right away once needed.
All of these responsibilities are under the organizational movers. The organizational chart should be made as a guide to create a succession and line of duty plan. This should be used in case of informing and agreeing with each about who should be doing a specific task. It is important for organizations to identify the role of each member in implementing and monitoring the marketing plan. It is good that the restaurant is optimistic about its future position in the Japanese dining market. However, more than the expected numbers, it is more important to get down to work. Implementation is a key to meeting the goals of the plan. The mission and vision of the marketing initiative serve as pillar for the values that are incorporated in the marketing plan. With the pillar laid out, it is easier to stick to the plans because there are achievements to be met and tasks to be carried out.
The management should remain positive. This is a good start in viewing these developments that have been laid out in the marketing plan. However, full preparation requires checking both sides. The marketing plan in itself is good. All that the restaurant needs is proper implementation, periodic evaluation, and follow-through in its projects. If these are done, the 150% revenue increase is surely just six months away.