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The street food market is one of the most rapidly developing areas that are represented by various offers. For example, McDonald’s and Burger King provide fast food that is bought by many customers all over the world. However, the recent trend is that more and more people think about what they eat and how their nutrition habits affect their health. Also, the idea of environmental protection becomes very popular, especially in developed countries.
Therefore, street food vendors try meeting these modern requirements and ensuring that customers receive what they want. Wil’s Grill case presents the story of John who manages to provide clean food sourced from the local farms. This report aims at analyzing the mentioned business, revealing its strengths and weaknesses, and concluding with relevant recommendations.
The owner of Wil’s Grill is John whose parents had a restaurant and ranch in Cave Creek, Arizona. The boy was fascinated by cooking and offering people healthy food. With his father, John opened Wil’s Grill, where they served fries, beverages, and burgers, working with the local suppliers. When John entered the Northern Arizona University, his father had to close the business. Furthermore, in cooperation with his friend, Karl, they opened a new street food vendor and targeted the so-called clean food. Among the services, there were street food events, catering, and individual sales.
The main goal of this business was to build a local supply chain and provide hospitality-driven services. It should be stressed that John was well-aware of customers’ needs in eating healthy food at a reasonable price. When Karl decided to relocate, John became the only proprietor of the business that added more responsibilities. The part of the work performed by Karl was to be made by one person, and John hired an assistant. With time, the business grew, and revenues grew, but insufficiently.
Currently, the main concern of John is how to extend the business and serve several events at the same time. One may note that there are various issues that should be taken into account. For example, one may note operational costs, promotion and advertising, cooking, partnerships with local suppliers, and so on. The restricted budget sets limitations on spending on employee salaries and innovations. Another problem is associated with investment options, which is critical to serve more events and attract more customers, both businesses and individuals.
At the same time, it becomes clear that some investment in equipment is needed to ensure a high quality of products and good taste. In terms of the local market, it is important to analyze competitors and monitor customers’ preferences to remain competent in the industry of street food. As for sub-issues, it is possible to state that the problem with promotion also exists since the ways of attracting more customers is vague. In addition, Wil’s Grill is yet not deep-rooted on the local market of catering and vending, which is the key problem of this business.
Analysis of the Global Competitive Environment
To better understand how Wil’s Grill should develop further, it is critical to pay attention to the global tendencies in the street food industry. In the modern world, obesity and overweight became the most threatening diseases worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight, of these over 650 million were obese” (“Obesity and Overweight”).
The key reasons for the mentioned health issues are junk food, overeating, and the consumption of energy-dense foods. At the same time, low physical activity and high stress levels play an important role. In this connection, food start-ups try to prepare more healthy food to improve the situation.
The concept of clean food refers to fresh food cooked recently from scratch and having high-nutrient content. Even though fast food remains the most desirable snack, it has a serious opponent. The clean food movement began more than 30 years ago, and about a million people around the world have chosen it as the basis of their diet (Marber). Currently, it continues gaining increasing popularity all over the world.
The principles of such nutrition are appropriate for organizing food during fat burning and, in general, for maintaining healthy lifestyles. In the philosophy of clean food, three key parameters should be followed. First of all, only fresh and tasty products should be selected to make sure that food is of high quality. Second, only safe and harmless to nature products should be used. Third, in terms of availability, fair prices should be set to make quality food accessible to everyone.
Following the mentioned principles, healthy street food vendors solve several tasks. If they cook foods in accordance with the seasons and using local farms’ products, they avoid dyes, preservatives, and other substances that make food s harmful (Marber). This is also an important step for the stable development of the local farms, which is likely to allow addressing the need for food in developing regions. In other words, the problem of the uniform redistribution of food is likely to be resolved. The development of local farms serves as the key to solving the problem of hunger on both local and global scales.
The global competitive environment is composed of various companies that operate either locally or worldwide. Nowadays, about 2.5 billion people buy street food every day at least once (Cardoso 18). The rhythm of life in the modern cities dictates the rules that require people to be fast and focused. Moreover, street food is not just a fast food system but a cultural phenomenon specific to any area or country.
It reflects the history, as well as the social and economic situation in it. Modern street food is a full-fledged culinary industry that is not inferior in quality to restaurants or cafes. This concept assumes the presence of an open kitchen, when a visitor can see how food is personally cooked for him or her. As a rule, many vendors can be found during the city holidays. Various festivals and other events are a very profitable time for street vendors. The purpose of such events is to demonstrate the culinary skills, attracting potential customers, as well as creating an environment for an interesting pastime.
Boiled corn, hamburgers, hot dogs, waffles and cakes – these are the most typical examples of street food. It should be stressed that geographical and climatic features also identify street food characteristics. For example, in Vietnam, a mountainous country, street food is replete with spices and herbs, but not spicy compared to Indian foods. In Asia, street food developed quickly and got accustomed well (Cardoso 38).
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In China and Thailand, the so-called xiaochi are popular as snacks (for example, an oyster omelet, Chinese baozzy manty, ficus jelly and more) sold on the street or in small restaurants. In addition, walking through Beijing and Hong Kong, one can taste the kebabs on skewers as well as a variety of edible insects. In, in Paris, one can find roasted chestnuts and a variety of sandwiches with traditional French baguette. In central Europe, Berlin or Dresden, well-known German sausages, fried with curry or other sauces, are offered on streets by vendors. In the US, the most widespread street foods are hamburgers, kebabs, and barbeque.
Industry Structure Discussion
The American street food industry presents relatively cheap and healthy foods that can compete with junk food offered by corporations. The growing awareness of people of the need to support their health leads to the fact that great attention is paid to clean food. It means that the increasing number of people prefer eating more vegetables, fruits, and meats that were produced on the local farms without the use of pesticides.
The recent research shows that about 64,000 businesses are registered in the US as street food vendors. Even though the demand for the identified services is evident, related policies and laws are still should be developed to manage the industry risks and opportunities. Speaking of the global (foreign) street food industry, one should state that it also has competition among companies. The structure of both domestic and the global street food markets is similar and consists of catering and street food events.
Currently, one can observe the emergence of new directions in the field of catering since customer demand becomes more complex and requires an ever-expanding set of services. This trend is connected to the gradual transition of the world community from the industrial stage of development to the postindustrial one, which contributes to a change in lifestyles. The range of catering possibilities is quite wide.
For example, catering services can be used to organize official meeting for VIP-persons, a small private party, or an outdoor barbecue party. The catering market in the field of street food began to develop in the US years ago. Today, it is much easier to organize a lunch break. The review of the catering market segment shows that this area is not fully known to customers. At the same time, catering requires more staff, depending on the event. The cooperation with advertising or event agencies seems to be important to expand the business.
There are two major types of street food catering, including indoor and outside services. Customer service companies offer equipped rooms for various events. It can be event halls, banquet rooms, kitchens for preparing food, or rooms with refrigerators for storing food. Street food vendors can use personal places and equipment or rent them for specific events. Beverage storage, tableware and appliances, accessories for design of tables and halls, and table linen are required as well.
The advantage of this type of catering is saving time for preparing an on-site event. Delivery, installation of necessary equipment, and kitchen utensils are provided. Consequently, the number of guests and plates that should be prepared and served is known in advance. The disadvantage is that this type of catering incurs sets costs for leasing, insurance, and production costs.
Outside catering is most popular in the street food industry. It provides for services on the territory of customers in accordance with their requirements. A typical example is the activity of catering by street foods in organizing banquets for companies, individuals, and so on. While preparing a banquet outside, a customer should provide additional information on the nature of the meeting, the number and composition of participants, and duration. This type of catering is especially important for various celebrations and company presentations.
The second element in the structure of the street food industry is food festivals. It is usually an impressively large venue, in which many stations with a wide variety of foods are located. Food, which is prepared on site, is provided by vendors and amateur cooks who want to share their masterpieces with everyone in the open air. The event in the style of street food fest is a great opportunity to hold an event in a completely new and creative way full of gastronomic offers. Events in the style of street food fests are quite young in the domestic market of services.
Such an event with its variety of stations is the alternative to the classic buffet line, where everything is served immediately, so it is completely different from other holiday formats. Since it still cannot be attributed to the usual and standard ones, food festival is an opportunity to stand out for any event agency. The characteristic feature is frequent migration of guests from one point to another, which, in fact, takes a considerable share of the time at the event.
In addition, another feature of such festivals is the interactive cooking: guests are offered not only to try various delicious foods but also watch the preparation process. Therefore, the format of food festivals allows not burdening the event with an additional program to significantly reduce costs and achieve customer satisfaction.
The main firm level strategy of Wil’s Grill is the provision of locally sourced foods in combination with reasonable price. As a rule, the company works on events and offers catering services. The first alterative is product line diversification that means adding more foods to ensure that customers may choose from the menu. Currently, Wil’s Grill’s main focus is barbeque and smoked meats. Even though the existing customers like the mentioned foods, it is insufficient for the planned expansion.
Based on the revenues and costs of the company along with the review of the existing competitors, the larger menu is likely to attract more customers. It is possible to suggest that this alternative may target the strategy of providing seasonal offerings. For example, during the season of tomatoes and cucumbers, special burgers and kebabs with curry source may be provided.
The second alternative refers to employee management, starting from hiring constant employees and preparing workflow charts for all job positions. Indeed, the presence of temporary employees allows making working hours flexible to meet the business demands. At the same time, it causes challenges and impedes the growth of overall effectiveness. Namely, when the limited number of employees has to perform all tasks, everything is made in a rush, and there is no opportunity to structure processes or standardize them. Therefore, based on the case analysis, one may suggest that John should hire more employees, develop processes and visualize them, and monitor progress in this area.
Serving events and festivals differs from the working methods of traditional cafes and restaurants. From a marketing point of view, a separate catering menu should be developed. John can start working in this direction by considering the strategies applied by competitors, while the menu should be specific and preferable by customers. To make sure that new foods will become popular, it is important to survey them by asking questions and receiving anonymous answers.
Not only food preferences but also the overall level of customer satisfactions, suggestions, and any other comments may be received from customers to adjust marketing strategies based on them. John should think about the formulation of the competitive advantage for his company based on the analysis of competitors, including the content of menu and marketing strategies. To differentiate from others, a specific feature should be found and presented to customers. It can be special taste or food, as well as the mission and vision identifying future goals and development areas.
Advertising plays an essential role in street food business, providing consumers with products or services, helping them to choose this option over others. The basis of advertising is information that should be provided in a transparent and timely manner. The main activities for the revitalization and improvement of promotional activities should be considered. For example, the identification of products most in need of advertising, the creation of modern advertising and graphic means, and the use of marketing approach to planning the production of promotional products.
To solve this problem, press responses, TV promotions, sponsorship, the participation in exhibitions, and development and maintenance of corporate identity should be targeted. Degustation can promote advertising of any products or services as it allows testing new foods and receiving valuable feedback from customers. The purpose of advertising is to cause the interest of a consumer to contact the company and create loyalty, shaping an image of a reliable partner to other companies.
If one approaches the matter creatively, the company’s promotional actions may cause a vast positive response in society. Taco Bell, the Mexican restaurant, can be noted as a vivid example. In 2001, when the Mir space station was returned to Earth, it was expected that the wreckage would fall in the South Pacific Ocean somewhere between Australia and Chile (Leadem). Taco Bell launched Off the Coast Australia vinyl raft area of about 120 square meters. This raft was a target consisting of two circles with a company logo in the form of a bull’s eye. On the outer border, the following words were written: tortilla taco – free.
Taco Bell has promised to give out to every US citizen a taco rolled tortilla stuffed with minced meat, onions, cheese, and beans if at least one piece of the space station falls into a bull’s eye drawn on the raft (Leadem). It is estimated that if a station wreck fell into a raft, then such a support campaign could cost the company $ 10 million. While the wreckage missed, Taco Bell gained wide international popularity, spending a tiny amount on vinyl.
The main task is to make the customers of Wil’s Grill also visit the website, Facebook page, and the mobile application. One of the ways to attract them is to place attractive pictures there and change them often enough.
One can use a digital camera and take photos of staff, events, decorations, and visitors (with their permission). Customers will have an extra reason to visit the website again, especially for those who hope to see themselves in one of the photos. In addition, the mobile applications may be used as another means of creating customer loyalty through special promos and codes. Likewise the website, the mobile application may contain food contents, the names of suppliers, and other information that proves cleanness of foods. Thus, such online marketing mix is likely to help in covering more customers and keeping them loyal in a long-term period.
To conclude, Wil’s Grill is a modern street food vendor that provides healthy and clean fast food sourced from the local farms. The key idea of this company is to ensure that customers have healthy nutrition that can be easily accessed during the day. Two main areas of interest are catering and food festivals, where the company can participate and provide food services. The main problems of Wil’s Grill are a lack of constant employees, a lack of a wide variety of foods, and poor analysis of competitors. Therefore, it was suggested that John should focus on hiring more people who will assist him in expanding the business.
At the same time, the collaboration with such partners as event and advertising agencies was proposed as a way to integrate several services. The above decision is likely to provide the opportunity to grow significantly and create greater customer loyalty. In addition, it was assumed that advertising strategies should be implemented via the website, mobile application, and Facebook page.
Cardoso, Ryzia et al. Street Food: Culture, Economy, Health and Governance. Routledge, 2014.
Leadem, Rose. “20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Taco Bell.” Entrepreneur, 2016. Web.
Marber, Ian. “Clean Eating: The Diet Trend Everyone’s Talking About Explained.” The Telegraph. 2016. Web.
“Obesity and Overweight.” WHO. 2018. Web.