Moving Boundaries

Gastronomy is not a Generic Concept

The burger shop in the trendy district is flourishing, while the tables at the competition just three blocks away remain empty. Bernd Luxenburger, a business start-up expert in the hospitality industry, uses 5 facts to explain how instrumental the location and opening times are for the success of a hospitality business and that vegetarian delights are not a question of age.

Gastronomy is a fast-paced business. Concepts change, interests shift. Where a particular gastronomic concept works is not just a matter of chance. Many factors play a crucial part, including the location.

A 5-point checklist on the location

1
Knowing the requirements of the location really well

Each location has characteristics that match a particular type of gastronomy. For example, high-traffic locations with many shops require fast, uncomplicated food service. Concepts such as fast food, casual dining, bistros or all-in-one restaurants are promising in such locations. A ‘neighbourhood spot’, i.e. a place in the hood, requires communication and target group concepts. By contrast, conservative concepts do not fit into such a bustling centre. In a historic section of town or trendy districts, successful concepts introduce something new or add something that has been missing. And restaurateurs who want to survive in a large area either need an extraordinary gastronomy concept or a smart infrastructure idea.

2
Knowing what the guests want

The mentality of local people also determines the concept at the location. People who live in the city go out more frequently. Changing menus or ‘special offers’ can make a real difference here. People in rural areas, on the other hand, value consistency with minor changes. A good standard menu is essential here. Country and city people are simply triggered by different gastronomic concepts. In other words, the concept of a trendy location in Düsseldorf's port can fail in a mid-sized city in the Eifel – and vice versa.

3
Reaching the target group

Target group analysis by age, gender, marital status, occupation, and income is no longer a tool that fills tables. A guarantee for success: Targeting the lifestyles, interests and opinions of the desired guests. Technically savvy guests are not limited by age. Organic food and sustainability as well as health and nutrition are topics that interest all generations. Younger guests are not the only ones looking for vegetarian concepts. Special ethnic concepts evoke certain travel memories for some people, and curiosity for others.

4
Opening hours – being there when the guests are there

Steal with pride – by looking at nearby retailers, because they analyse very thoroughly what the best opening times for the location are. No rest day or even 2? Is the public particularly active during the day, for example in an inner city area with many office buildings? Or do the guests come out more in the evening? Are the weekends of particular interest or is it dead because the offices are closed? Ideal opening hours are the heart of the business management concept, because they have a direct impact on staffing and costs – the major challenge of the industry sector.

5
Being able to afford the location

Even well-frequented businesses can fail due to monthly fixed costs for rent or lease. These are contractually agreed and determined based on sales. This makes the location an elementary criterion.

About ... Bernd Luxenburger

Bernd Luxenburger is Managing Director of DEHOGA Beratung GBS, a hospitality consulting company based in Neuss. It prepares feasibility studies, helps with business start-ups, analyses existing businesses, and develops or fixes timely concepts. It also brokers purchase and lease properties. As an author, Luxenburger is also active in periodically recurring intercompany comparisons for the hospitality industry in NRW. DEHOGA (German Hotel and Restaurant Association) is an employer and trade association. In NRW, approximately 11,000 entrepreneurs from the hotel and food service industry are organised through DEHOGA.


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