Talkback: Three foodservice professionals give their views on one question
First and foremost, it’s vital for owners to do everything they can to grow what they have before investing in more locations. In other words: build your core before committing. Having more locations doesn’t always end up being growth. If not carefully managed, it can sabatoge financial health.
A flagship location is often successful because the owner/operator has been very involved with the operation. They can’t be hands-on in every location. A solid infrastructure for growth needs to be in place – for example a robust POS system, a detailed accounting system, and recipe documentation and costing. Finaly, demographic and psychographic research, if not done carefully, can lead an owner to a location that’s inappropriate to brand acceptance. Success in one area does not guarantee success in another.
As a business owner, it seems impossible not to dream of growing. It’s the nature of an entrepreneur. We should always be seeking opportunities to expand. Yet this enthusiasm must be tempered by strict analysis, research, and financial planning.
If a location has maximized its capacity and there is solid financial and operational data to support expansion that will bring in a new wave of customers, I can see where adding more sites can accommodate a documented need. But all of the points previously stated must be pursued first: do your research and don’t get caught up in a dream of simply being bigger.