Home – New Forums Tell me straight… New member – review of my business idea?

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    Hi all, I am new here and looking for some guidance/feedback in relation to a business venture.

    1. What needs reviewing? (i.e. logo, website, idea etc…)
    Business idea/direction – my husband and I are looking at purchasing an existing pizza business and are not sure what direction/vision would work best (we have a few different ideas)

    2. What does your business do?
    Currently the business is a pizza shop that also has a bain marie where they serve 3 or 4 different meals each night (ie. pasta bake, curry, ribs etc). also do fish n chips on some nights (haven’t been able to work out which nights cos it varies) The business is branded as a pizza/casual trattoria. They do take away and also have tables to dine in. Overall, it seems a bit confused about what is and what they are marketing themselves as. They trade Thursday – Sunday 5pm-9pm.

    3. Who is your target market?
    The location is a smallish rural town; located about 15km from the main town. The main town services an area of around 40,000 ppl + tourism. The town where the business is located is on a main driving route between the main town and a major holiday destination in rural victoria.
    I believe the target market would be locals to the small town, as well as ppl from surrounding suburbs (either those driving through or specifically driving to business). There would also be the tourism market at certain times of year.

    4. What specific concerns do you have?
    Main concern is the direction to take business? I believe we need a clear, defined vision/identity for the business – at the moment I suspect the business started out as a pizza shop but then expanded to different hot dinners as a way of attracting more customers?

    My husband and I have thought about several directions to take business in and just keep going around in circles – I would love some feedback/thoughts from others.

    Definate changes required:
    We would need to repaint, declutter, improve feel of business. It has a very outdated early 90s italian theme complete with concrete torso on wall, fake plastic tomatoes and faded italy landscapes prints on the wall. There are quite a few tables to dine in but no take away area. But it feels like a take away shop. You are not sure if you should sit down at tables, there are no menus and tables are never set. The staff are always behind the counter and you don’t know if order at counter and sit down for dine in or if you sit down at table and someone will take your order. Its confusing.

    Possible directions:
    1. Dine in/takeway focus – which way do we go – what focus to we take or do we want 50/50. It it’s mostly takeway we need to let the customers know, if its dine in we need to change the counter/order section to reflect that.

    2. Bring it back to Italian/Pizza – stop doing the curries, ribs and make it clear what we are.

    3. Keep it similar to it is now – pizza + other foods

    4. Expand and incorporate my existing food business. My existing business is a retail food business that includes gourmet spice blends, pantry items like flavoured cous cous etc. We would like to expand this business into take home frozen meals (using the spice blends mostly). One option was to create a business that emcompasses all these things – pizza, fresh prepared colds foods like salads,fresh prepared hot foods like curries, tagines, roasts, frozen take home meals and then the pantry items like spice blends etc. (in addition to this hubby would like to sell his organic veggies that he grows on our farm). WOW – even typing this sounds confusing and this is what my main fear/concerns is. Is it a good idea to have a shop doing so much??? And if so how do you brand it in a such a way that it is clear to understand and connects. I guess the business would be more like the ‘local kitchen’ where you can stop for your dinner – either hot and ready to eat, frozen or raw ingredients? We would start with night time trade and possibly look at day time as it picked up.

    5. Do we ditch the bain marie? Either have the food cold on display (like you see in cafes) or even retain bain marie but have it BOH.

    Our dream business is a nursery/cafe/retail self sufficiency and education shop but the set up for that is pretty huge and we are thinking its a 5-10yr away plan. The pizza shop is an interim venture that could make us some money to help finance the bigger plan.

    We are just confused as to what to do with pizza business now? (assuming we buy it).

    • Total posts: 2,278

    The first questions that popped into my head were:

    What do you ideal customers want? Have you done any market research into this?

    Who are your competitors and what can you offer to make your business special?

    Answering these questions will probably give you the direction you’re looking for.

    Good luck if you decide to go ahead with the purchase !!

    Wendy :)

    Peter – FS Administrator
    • Total posts: 1,889

    Hi CaraTee,
    Thanks for joining and welcome. Sounds like you’re putting in plenty of thought before jumping in which is the way to go. We look forward to hearing the feedback on your venture.

    • Total posts: 536

    i reckon your questions are probably relevant 6-12 months from now.

    i think its extremely hard to change something around thats been operating the way it has for X amount of years.

    making decisions on a business without having run it first (for a considerable amount of time, i dunno, 6-18 months?) is highly speculative and in most cases could spell disaster.

    the other issues you face is that your idea may be what YOU want to do, but not what the people want.

    If i were in your situation, and had already made the decision to buy, I would run it as it for 6-12 months as is. get a feel for the place, the way it runs and the way it operates. youll probably make some running changes almost immediately but to get a better idea of what to do next or which way to head, id focus on the customers. the friendlier you get, the more comfortable theyll be, the more youll learn about their buying habits, to the point where you can ask them the strategic questions you want answers to.

    any major change to the way its run, could most likely see a drop in customers so i would take it slow with whatever you do.

    this has happened a number of times to my local fish and chippery where new owners come in and shake up the joint. the loyals customers, then end up going to the other local fish and chipperies due to the changes. and this is by keeping it a fish and chip joint, imagine changing it to something else.

    if its a smallish town, changes are probably even harder. if you want to run a sushi bar, but no one wants to eat sushi, then dont open a sushi bar. :)

    just my 2c

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