Last week I was out doing the rounds, visiting my venue partners to catch up on the successes and challenges they face in driving visitation and spend at their venue.
During one meeting I received an interesting insight from one venue manager.
Discussing a competitor just down the road from his venue he said, “their meals are fantastic; we’ve got work to do to get to that level.”
I was struck by his positive attitude when dealing with a difficult reality. Quite simply his competitor was besting his venue. But he saw it an opportunity to improve.
When was the last time you walked into a competitor’s venue?
If you’re taking your role seriously and always willing to improve, no doubt it was recently.
The hospitality industry is enormously and increasingly competitive. Most pubs and clubs are generally surrounded by a multitude of other businesses targeting a similar customer base.
In many cases venues are competing with bars, restaurants and even local cafes. I’ve even heard some managers talking about the effect of Materchef and other cooking shows have had on patron’s expectations of dining offerings.
Competition is fierce but the best venues are seeing it as an opportunity rather than a threat.
Knowing what the competition is providing allows you to ensure your offer is better or different in some way. It also allows you to keep up to date with industry trends and other venue offerings.
You may find it worthwhile to create a written competitive assessment on your local venues. Put some time into analysing:
- Food and beverage offering
- Target customers
- Entertainment and promotional offerings
- Membership program
- Marketing strategies
- Strengths and weaknesses
Analyse the above indicators at your own venue then compare them to those at your competitors to see where there may be gaps at your pub or club.
As always, it’s important not to lose sight of your own business and the goals you are trying to achieve by constantly being reactive to competitors.
However, keeping an eye on what their strengths and weaknesses are and conducting an assessment every now and then is a great habit to get into.
Just remember, it’s worth keeping a positive spin on whatever tactics your competitors are taking. Like the successful venue manager I visited last week, it’s always advisable to the competitive nature of the Australian hospitality industry as an opportunity rather than a threat.