26 Part 1 The Role and Value of Marketing Research maRKeTinG ReseaRCH in aCTIOn Continuing Case The Santa Fe Grill During their senior year at college the owners prepared a business plan in their entrepre neurship class for a new Mexican restaurant concept. They initially intended to start the restaurant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they were at college. But a demographic analysis of that market revealed that Lincoln did not match their target demographics After researching the demographic and competitive profile of several markets, they de cided Dallas, Texas, would be the best place to start their business. In examining the mar kets, they were looking for a town that would best fit their target market of singles and families in the age range of 25 to 50. The population of Dallas was almost 5.5 million peo- ple, of which about 50 percent were between the ages of 25 and 60. This indicated then ere a lot of individuals in their target demographic in the Dallas area. They also found that about 55 percent of the population earned between $35,000 and $75,000 a year, which in- dicated the market would have enough income to eat out regularly. Finally, 56 percent of the population was married and many of them had children at home, which was consistent with their target market. The new restaurant concept was based on providing the freshest ingredients for their menu offerings, complemented by a festive atmosphere, friendly service, and cutting-edge advertising and marketing strategies. The key idea would be to prepare and serve the fresh- est “made-from-scratch” Mexican foods possible-everything fresh every single day. In addition to their freshness concept, they wanted to have a fun, festive atmosphere and fast friendly service. The atmosphere would be open, brightly lit and bustling with activity Their target market would be mostly families with children and generally individuals aged 18 to 49. Their marketing programs would be ahead of the pack, with the advertising designed to provide an appealing, slightly off-center, unrefined positioning in the market. The Santa Fe Grill was successful, but not as quickly as the owners had anticipated. Their restaurant is located on an outparcel near the main entrance on the east side of the Cumberland Mall, which has 75+ stores in it and is considered very successful for the area. Another Mexican restaurant that has been in business longer and appears to be more suc cessful is on another outparcel on the west side of the same mall. The owners believe thi other Mexican restaurant, Jose’s Southwestern Café, is their primary competitor. In recent weeks, the owners have observed people standing in line waiting to eat there during both lunch and dinner hours. They have also eaten at the restaurant to observe the menu, taste the food, and develop a feeling for their competitor’s operations and atmosphere To improve business at the Santa Fe Grill, the owners have decided they need to better understand what aspects of restaurant operations drive customer satisfaction and loyalty Some of the questions they have come up with include: Are our customers satisfied with the restaurant? Are there problems with the food, the atmosphere, or some other aspect of restaurant operations (e.g., employees or service)? Is the target market correctly defined or do we need to focus on a different niche? What are the common characteristics of satisfied customers? What do the Santa Fe Grill customers think about their dining experiences mpared to the customers of Jose’s Southwestern Café? Answering these and other simi lar questions will help the owners to focus their marketing efforts, improve operations, and be in a position to expand their restaurant concept to other markets. Marketing Research in Action Continuing Case: The Santa Fe Grill What kind of information about products, services, and customers should the owners of Santa Fe Grill consider collecting? Is a research project actually needed? -Is the best approach a survey of customers? -Should employees also be surveyed? Why or why not?
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