Last week WE Vancouver published an article (by Andrew Morrison) in the Eat & Drink section deconstructing the demise of two high-end Vancouver restaurants. International celebrity chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurants DB Bistro and Lumiere will be closing.
The article does a fascinating job of discounting all of the typical and possible reasons for which these establishments have become a statistic – 90% of new restaurants fail within the first years of operation. Let’s go through the list of Morrison’s possibilities one by one:
- Victims of the HST? Unless your business is based on a miniscule profit margin – highly unlikely.
- The new blood-alcohol limit for drivers? Nope.
- The recession? People still have to eat!
- Fine dining has gone out of fashion? Doesn’t explain why other local fine dining establishments are still thriving.
- Bad location? Maybe. How often have you traveled to a ‘not so pleasant’ part of town because you craved a certain dish from a particular restaurant?
- Foreign chefs imposing their ideas bad for business? Not likely.
- Food not good enough? Anyone who’s dined at either of these establishments would beg to differ.
- People wouldn’t go there after the exit of celebrity Chef Rob Feenie? Unless you’re actually dining with the guy – who cares!
The truth? Not enough people dined at either restaurant more than once.
Why? “Because neither restaurant ever properly communicated who and what they wanted to be to Vancouverites.”
In other words, they didn’t have a clear brand message. Without a clear value proposition and without all of your marketing communications living and breathing the same message at all customer touch points, your key message gets confused. Confusion doesn’t drive sales.
Making a lasting impression on your customers should be one of your organization’s key goals. It is more effective and more efficient to spend your marketing dollars winning the business of your repeat customers over and over again, rather than always having to find brand new customers.