With consumers’ attention spans and loyalties shifting increasingly often, it’s vital to adapt your product range to attract their interest and loyalty. Don’t change for change’s sake though – any innovation needs to achieve a balance between understanding what your clients (and their clients) want, and producing it for a cost and sale price that makes sense (and cents) for everyone involved.
Understand the client – and their client
In our work with some of South Africa’s leading restaurant brands, it’s been very clear that one size or flavour certainly doesn’t fit all. Each brand has its unique value proposition, and South Africans, fond of the franchise model, have clear expectations from each of their favorite food outlets.
We’ve learned that some restaurants have better equipped kitchens than others, for example, and that they offer differing levels of training to their chefs and baristas. For this reason, we would never propose a drink that is complicated to make to a business that expects its staff to produce food very quickly – we would rather craft a more sophisticated drink for a restaurant that encourages its patrons to linger a little longer, and suggest a quick and simple solution to the fast-food environment.
Similarly, we research and design drinks that will align with a brand’s character and promise – so we create brightly coloured fun drinks for a family-focused restaurant, for example, and more sophisticated drinks for upmarket bistros.
Understanding portion (or product) size is very important too – a client is more likely to come back for a drink that they have enjoyed, but finished, than a drink that they enjoyed initially, but found too rich or sweet to complete. This means the customer is unlikely to order that drink again, as they will feel that they didn’t enjoy the full value they expected, and possibly may not return to the restaurant, seeking something that matches their tastes and expectations more closely.
Balance the budget
One of the most important parts designing a product is understanding what it will cost to produce, and what your clients will be able to sell it for in their own environments. While freak-shakes hold universal appeal among children of all ages, for example, they’re costly to make in terms of ingredients and production time.
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For that reason, we would never propose a freak-shake to a client that positions itself as affordable – we would be more likely to offer such a product to an aspirational brand like Mugg & Bean.
Finding the perfect balance between product, price and people is sure to keep any business in touch with its clients and able to offer them the products and solutions that will in turn keep their businesses in touch with their consumers.