One of the first steps for any new business is to figure out its value proposition. In other words, they need to agree on how they are going to position themselves and the product or service they’re selling.
The value proposition is, by definition, different than a company’s mission statement. A mission statement talks about how the company is going to offer a product or service to a specific market segment, while a value proposition explains why the people/companies in that market segment should want to engage with that business.
Value is innately subjective. Different people value the same thing differently. For your restaurant, I encourage you to establish the value proposition that will best resonate with your target customer base. As an owner or manager, make sure that the value proposition permeates through each part of the restaurant. For example, if your value proposition is simply “great appetizers and the largest selection of beer in the city,” then all restaurant employees should focus on delivering that value proposition. The waitstaff should lead with this statement at each table they serve. The kitchen should have a consistent menu of popular appetizers, but should also try to add a unique, seasonal choice. The bartenders should do the same—highlight the wide selection, but suggest special “pairings” of beer with featured appetizers. Just as companies in the corporate world look to cross-promote their products, restaurants can do the same.
Deciding on the value proposition also helps with is focus. You might have a fantastic kitchen staff that makes great-tasting food, but you can’t be all things to all people. No single restaurant has the best steak, chicken, fish, wine, beer, appetizers and dessert. Any restaurant that tries to be the best at everything will find that they have spread themselves too thin. When you create an appealing value proposition for your restaurant, you are creating a reason for people to choose it over other options.
Keep in mind that your value proposition does not necessarily need to be food-related. For example, if you’re running a sports bar, your value proposition could be “sports trivia with a local sports celebrity every Thursday night.” Remember that different people value things differently. Some people won’t care about seeing a local celebrity for a trivia contest, but plenty of people will not only be excited by that value proposition, but they will consistently show up for those trivia nights. A consistent group of customers equates to a consistent revenue stream.