I have been contributing to a branding program overat Restaurant Branding Roadmap which has been great fun since it combines two of my favorite subjects - branding and restaurants. My research has included lots of reading about the restaurant industry and documenting the details of my dining experiences from food to ambiance to service to unique concepts. This week, I was reminded about an exercise you can use to eliminate your competition - in any industry. You can draw a picture of a market and see a new opportunity.
The restaurant industry is filled with thousands of concepts. Some of these breakthrough ideas are pioneering at first and later become brand concept legacies (think Starbucks) while others become short-lived fads that start with one innovator, a hot new food idea and then quickly become a not so special restaurant concept that many will imitate (think your average yogurt spot). New restaurant concepts, trends and fads, often take a common path. They open, earn media buzz and lots of word of mouth chatter and soon copycats emerge and you find marrow-filled dishes and red bean ice cream everywhere.