Pivoting to a New Market

I walked into a small business (a restaurant) near my home yesterday, and was saddened to see that I was the only one there.

While the restaurant may have been going gangbusters during lunch – it kinda had the vibe that they hadn’t really seen a customer in a while.

I asked the owner about their specialties – and ordered one as I enjoyed an early-afternoon coffee.  The owner and I chatted more, and it was just a few minutes before the ‘business is slow’-laments came.

We talked about the loss of traffic, then the shrinkage of average spend, followed by more loss of traffic, followed by missing their rent last month, followed by a piling-up of bills.

They’re drowning.

Yet, the restaurant is bright, cheerful, and the food is good.  What can they do if their relied-upon foot traffic has tailed-off, and shows little signs of life?

Pivot to a new market.

The idea of pivoting to a new market is pretty simple: take your core strengths, and find ways to leverage them to benefit new buyers.

The core strengths of restaurants are (in no particular order):

  1. They have a production facility (kitchen)
  2. They have some degree of market awareness (former customers, passers-by,  etc).
  3. There is some demand for their product (in this case, food) in other sectors and by certain user-groups (eg: providing coffee and catering services to local offices)
  4. There is demand by a bulk-buyer of product for at least one item that they have a unique control over the quality process, and can meet (at least in theory) any level of demand from their existing plant (eg: restaurants can look to commoditize the production of a single item – a specialty sauce for example – and make it available for sale by high volume food retailers, high volume fast food retailers, etc.)

Thinking about a pivot?

Let’s talk!