Giant Food Stores Opens 6 locations in 4 States

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“With the six new locations, Giant now operates 178 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The stores also include 132 pharmacies and 99 fuel stations.

“These multiple store openings align with our aggressive long-term growth strategy: entering new markets where it makes sense and expanding our offerings for our current customers,” Giant Food Stores President Nicholas Bertram said in a statement.

Giant’s latest strategic investments have focused mainly on its core Pennsylvania market.

In February, the grocer launched Giant Direct Powered by Peapod, an e-commerce hub in Lancaster, Pa. The company, which has four other e-commerce centers in Pennsylvania, said that banner will become its online grocery brand going forward. Giant also unveiled plans to open three more Giant Heirloom Markets in Philadelphia. The urban store format premiered in the city’s downtown in late January, and the next location is due to open this summer, with all the stores in operation by the end of the year.

A couple of new supermarkets are in the works as well. Giant said it plans to open new stores this year in East Stroudsburg and Walnutport, Pa. In November, the chain had opened a Giant store in Lancaster’s Willow Valley area that was acquired from Darrenkamp’s Markets.”

View more here.

4 Ways to Take Your Sales Strategy to the Next Level with a Video Presentation

“To maximize potential impact, businesses are upgrading their sales strategy to incorporate a video presentation. Not only does this put a face to your business, but it can also be individualized to each client, and can significantly help you stand out among the rest. Consider these steps to take your sales strategy to the next level with an introductory video.”

1. Introduce Yourself To Clients

Add a more human, and engaging, element to your pitch and introduce yourself to potential clients with a video. You can let them know what makes your products or services better from the rest, and give them an idea of what kinds of people they can expect to work with by choosing you.

A corporate video can be used as an initial means of contact or a unique way to send clients some information prior to a sales meeting – more than just a sales deck showing off products and price points, a corporate video can provide a platform to show off your merchandise and let potential buyers see them in action.

This is an excellent sales strategy that will get them thinking about your business, and help to take things to the next step.

2. Use Video Content During Your Sales Pitch

When you get the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with a client, having video content in your sales strategy can help a lot.

More than just presenting numbers, a corporate video enables potential buyers to see your products in use, and learn exactly how they’re beneficial. This is especially useful for those businesses that offer services or products which can’t be brought into the office for the meeting. Adding a quality visual aid to your sales approach allows you to show off the design process, manufacturing floors, your talented staff, and so much more.

(…)

Read more here.

Learn How to Get a Liquor License for Your Restaurant or Bar

bartender tricks for mixing cocktails

“Opening a bar is about a little more than choosing the perfect beer and liquor list. In fact, there are a number of restaurant licenses and permits that you need to get out of the way before you can open your doors for business. In getting caught up in dreaming about all the delicious drinks that a new restaurant owner plans to offer, many forget about the extent of the legalities they have to navigate first, legalities that can throw a serious wrench in your grand opening plans if they aren’t executed correctly.

Although alcohol laws will vary from state to state, attempting to open a bar without a liquor license is going to lead down a road of penalties, fines, and shut doors—all of which every restaurateur wants to avoid at all costs (…).”

    1. “How much does it cost to get a liquor license? The cost of obtaining a liquor license can vary greatly depending on the state. Full liquor licenses can range from $12,000 to $400,000. Beer and wine liquor licenses can cost as low as $3,000. The actual cost you can expect to pay really depends. The best way to estimate it is by chatting with bars and restaurants in your local area that are similar in size and scope to yours.
    2. How old do you have to be to get a liquor license? Like all things related to alcohol in the United States, a person must be 21 years of age to work in a bar or obtain a liquor license (…).”

View more information here.

Bringing Concepts to New York City

It’s not news that the New York City hospitality industry is unlike any other in the world. With over 40,000 restaurants, New York is a mecca for foodservice. While this presents a great opportunity for operators from elsewhere, it is also not to be taken lightly—the NYC market is competitive and volatile. As advisors, it is our responsibility to ensure your success. The following is a brief overview of the work we do to achieve that:

Fully Understand the Concept
This means going to the source. As advisors, it’s of utmost importance that we really comprehend the entire experience—from product, to packaging, to interior design, to the location, to the culture. We need to understand what makes your business work where it is in order to properly plan out how it will succeed in New York City. Whether you operate in San Francisco or Sao Paulo, we will come to you to do our due diligence. Last month we were in Mexico City! (Stay tuned for more details!)

Refine the Concept
Next, we identify where your concept fits in the current landscape—is it entirely new, or is there already direct competition? Based on this, we begin to refine the concept accordingly. Any adjustments we suggest are driven by what will generate revenue. We want to maintain the authenticity and soul of the enterprise but ensure that it resonates with the NYC market.

In the same vein, we want the concept to appeal to a similar demographic. New York City is not one large homogeneous pot; it is a stew of different neighborhoods with different characteristics. As such, a high-volume, fine-dining concept from Japan that is frequented by businesspeople with high disposable incomes won’t fare well in Red Hook. We’re going to make sure you open in the right place.

Plan Accordingly
Once we’ve defined the concept for New York, we can honestly develop a business plan. Now, we can put the vision on paper and tie it to financials and a timeline.

Capital and operating budgets come from cold, hard data. We analyze your menu, equipment needs, labor scheduling, sales mix, floor plan, goals and vision, like concepts, menu pricing, average check, traffic counts, and market rents to flesh out a realistic budget. A steakhouse requires drastically different equipment and seating types than a coffee shop.

New York City is known for moving quickly—but that’s not actually case with restaurant development. Finding the right space, getting Department of Buildings approval, getting ConsolidatedEdison to turn on your gas, getting a certificate of occupancy, sourcing the right ingredients and finding the right team, and getting a cooperative’s board to approve plans are just a few of the items that can dramatically slow down the pace of a project. We’re going to make sure you open on time and on budget.

No matter where you’re from or what your model, we’re ready to bring it to life in New York City. Our town is booming with opportunity for those properly prepared—we’re here to shepherd you to success.

Enterprise Insight: Launch Strategy

In this month’s Retail Spotlight, we discussed a single-product concept and how it is successfully operating in the city despite high rents and intense competition. In this month’s Enterprise Insight, we will discuss the strategy of launching and growing a single-product enterprise with specific case studies.

The benefits of launching a simple-product specialty shop are obvious: lower costs, less (slightly) to worry about, and a way to stand out in NYC’s crowded food landscape. But getting it done isn’t so obvious. Based on the most successful examples we’ve come across, the most effective path is participation in the NYC market scene.

The New York City food market scene started to simmer in 2011. That’s when the team behind Brooklyn Flea, which had been incubating some food vendors, launched Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. Since then, Smorgasburg has expanded to Dumbo and to a permanent facility, Berg’n, in Crown Heights. Across the river, UrbanSpace had transplanted from the UK and started the Grand Central Terminal and Union Square holiday markets around 2003. In 2008, UrbanSpace went food-forward with Mad. Sq. Eats just off of Madison Square Park.

These markets have become proving grounds for concepts looking to test the sharky NYC restaurant waters.

Take, for example, Dough, the wildly popular doughnut shop in the Flatiron district. Dough started in Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg long before launching a brick and mortar shop. Dough simmered in Smorgasburg, building a reputation, testing recipes, and earning real revenue. Then, this past fall, the company opened their first shop with lines around the block.

Likewise, Melissa Weller started selling bagels in Smorgasburg in 2013. Weller had been kneading and baking for the likes of Thomas Keller and Roberta’s before starting her own company, East River Bread, and selling at the market. Now, Weller has been tapped to team up with Major Food Group to bake those bagels for their next concept, Sadelle’s.

Entrepreneurs eager to start their foodservice business in a market have plenty of homework to do in advance. The most successful concepts have done their market research and crunched their numbers. The markets do not allow overlap between concepts, and each market has a different rental agreement. For example, the all-indoor Gotham West Market charges market-rate rents, while at Berg’n, vendors pay a percentage of their overall profits.

The biggest barriers to entry in the foodservice business are capital and exposure. Focusing on one product allows you to keep capital costs down and increases your chances of getting into a market such as Smorgasburg, which increases your exposure.

Home Cooking to Home Business

On Saturday, February 7th the Institute of Culinary Education will be teaching a strategy session on how to convert your home cooking into a home business. If you are feeling the urge to turn a culinary passion, hobby, or avocation into a business, this three-hour session will be a quick way to strategize and help get things started for you. You will cover the following much-needed information to help get you started:

  • Define Your Concept: What are you selling and how are you selling it?
  •  Relate to Your Customers: Who will buy what you sell? – Check Out the Competition: Learn from others.
  •  Legal Dos and Don’ts: The regulations, laws, and rules, health department, company structure, dealing with landlords, etc.
  •  Where to Begin: What steps are needed to get going? – How to Find Help: What can you do and what help do you need?
  •  Determine a Budget: What are the profits? How much can you make?
  •  What Will Life Be Like Afterward?

This is an invaluable class and a unique opportunity to get the perspective of ICE’s Director of Culinary Management, Stephen Zagor—a veteran restaurant consultant, educator, and former entrepreneur who has helped numerous students get into the business of food. The course tuition is $90, and will be hosted on April 25th as well as next Saturday. To register, click here.

The Hedgehog Concept and Foodservice Businesses

In Jim Collins’ seminal book, Good to Great, he outlined what enterprises have done to go from a good company to a great company. One of these principles, the Hedgehog Concept, can be perfectly applied to foodservice businesses in any stage—whether just starting up or expanding.

The idea is simple in concept but trickier in execution. It consists of three parts: being the best in the world, being passionate, and knowing what drives your economic engine. In this Enterprise Insight, we’re going to look at the three parts and how they apply to a foodservice business.

Being Passionate

This is the easiest for some and hardest for others; you have to be honestly excited and in love with what you’re trying to achieve. The type of restaurant an owner operates is largely driven by what they’re passionate about—whether that’s a great hospitality and a café, high-end cuisine and a fine dining restaurant, or coffee and coffee shop. If you’re not passionate about coffee, your coffee shop won’t be as good as it can be; you’ll never get to be the best without passion for what you’re doing.

Being the Best in the World

“Best” is subjective and someone’s world is tied the context of what that person has experienced. So, what we mean here is simply doing what you’re passionate about better than anyone else in your market. The goals for a local-favorite, third-place café are drastically different from a restaurant like Noma. However, they both are executing on what makes them great; warm service and familiarity with the café and cutting-edge, locally-driven cuisine at Noma.

Knowing What Drives Your Economic Engine

This is the integral third leg on the stool because all the passion and expertise in the world won’t guarantee that you turn a profit. Jim Collins explains the economic denominator as the “Profit per X”—the metric that would have the greatest, most sustainable impact on cash flow over time. In the foodservice industry, the most obvious economic metric that comes to mind is average check, and this is certainly valuable information. However, you can understand and drive your business in a more specific direction by choosing the metric that best reflects your ability to make money, because your average check is limited to your type of business.

For example, a coffee shop that’s focused on being the best in a given market would want to capitalize as much as possible on repeat guests. The average check at a coffee shop is not going to be able to increase drastically over time simply because of the product category. However, you could drive more sales per repeat customer per, say, week, by focusing on quality and service, thus compelling more customer visits. So, in this case, the average sales per repeat guest.

In a fast food or quick service restaurant, again, average check won’t rise over time. A better metric to push might be profit per labor hour. Limited-service restaurants need to run lean in order to be profitable, so finding the balance between maximizing sales while minimizing labor could drive you in the right direction. Meanwhile, a full-service casual restaurant should consider profit per seat, because it needs to maximize the number of turns per shift.

Applying Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept to your foodservice business can help to define or reposition your strategy. It is important to remember that the three items are reliant on one another: being passionate, being the best, and knowing your economic denominator, and when applied simultaneously, can be a powerful tool.