Case Study: Two completely different restaurants, and why one is dying and the other one is killing it.


1. Restaurant Experience with "Something for Everyone"

The first is a beautiful restaurant with nothing but the finest: ingredients, furniture, location, cool decor, name and logo. It is huge and has about 6 businesses housed inside all under one name. Want take out coffee? Check. Want to sit down for a moderately priced lunch or dinner? Check. A $15 cocktail? Check. How about some locally made souvenirs?  Check. A sushi bar? Check.  Want to sit at a bar and watch the grill master make your dinner? Check. How about a very expensive dining experience? Check

Current Situation: The place has been pretty empty since it opened a year ago and is struggling to keep the doors open.

2. Wings. Beer. Sports.

Second spot was obnoxiously loud, with huge TV screens everywhere, horrible neon lighting, loud sports games on- it was a drain on all my senses I actually couldn't wait to get out. The salad was so terrible I couldn't eat it (they just took it off the bill when they saw it wasn't touched).

Current Situation: Worst Spot Ever (according to Pia) but the place is consistently PACKED every night.


The second place knew what it was and what it wasn't. In fact, the tagline is "Wings. Beer. Sports." and the place was filled with people who wanted just that. I like wings, and their wings were really good. Will I go back? Probably not. Does that mean they should work on their salads and turn on some mood lighting? Absolutely not, I'm not their target market! But they are successful because they have a very specific target market and they don't give a damn that I'm not it. 

When we say be badass, what we mean is a company that tells Pia if she wants a good salad "there's a spot down the street, see ya." Instead, you know who this business attracts? Everyone that likes wings, beer and sports. Not a bad sampling of the population.

The first place, while trying to have something for everyone, made it impossible to self-identify as a perfect customer, or even identify the perfect time to eat there. As someone who has had the pleasure of experiencing every part of it, I can tell you, each section is exceptional in its own way; decor, food, drinks. And the prices are reasonable when they should be, and expensive when they should be.  But if someone asked me what it was, I wouldn't know what to tell them.


Does restaurant 1 need to be like restaurant 2?

Perhaps not in decor or salad quality, but we say emphatically YES on clarity of message, having a clear target customer and catering to them. Make it easy for me, the customer, to picture in my mind the perfect occasion to eat there. What are you going to be known for? What are you the absolute best at? People hate choices, and you have so many choices I'm paralyzed at the thought of even walking in. I'm more excited to go to one of those top 10 Ramen spots even though I hate ramen because, hey, it's the best ramen in the city!

Wild Wings didn't look like my scene, but I do like a good buffalo wing and so I gave it a shot. And if someone tells me they are looking for great buffalo wings and to watch "the game," I, though not a fan myself, would be quick to recommend Wild Wings because that's a brand promise they definitely deliver on!


Don't fall into the common rut of trying to have something for everyone. People hate choices anyway, make it easy for us to love you for your specialty, and rave about you to our friends.