Foundation for Success

Foundation for Success

Restaurateurs Building Business on Marketing’s Four Ps

Restaurateur Jim West paces the floor at Party @ Jo’s, a new quick-casual dining concept that he and brother/partner Phil will open in Eugene this winter. Between now and launching Westraunt Concepts’ latest foodservice brainchild, he has a lot to think about, including marketing the full service dinner house. The restless Wests are no strangers to building brands. Since firing up West Brothers Barbecue in 1992, they have successfully started, reinvented, and shuttered more restaurants in Oregon than Jim has time to count.

Today the brothers’ Westraunt Concepts umbrella company creates and operates quick-casual restaurant brands, among them: Mucho Gusto Mexican Kitchen, Dickie Jo’s Lucky 1952 Burgers, Dickie Yo’s (frozen treats), Party @ Jo’s, and Bill & Tim’s, a barbecue concept that is still under construction. “We’re into the three Bs: burritos, burgers, and barbecue,” chuckles Jim.

West is also focused on the four Ps, the foundational framework that he applies to building restaurants. “The way I was taught in business school, marketing is the four Ps: price, promotion, product, and place,” he says, adding: “I’m really working on products and place. I’m redefining distribution networks, messing with the product itself, pricing it so it makes sense, then I need to figure out how to promote it.”

“We’ve tried to create innovative products,” he emphasizes. “When we do that, it sells itself.” For example, “Party @ Jo’s is a very innovative dining experience that will leverage the core brand, the meal of convenience, which is Dickie Jo’s Burgers. That’s something that we try to make extraordinary – different than all of our competitors.” Right down to cooking the patties, which West insists is part of the story that attracts guests. “It’s a very challenging technique where we smash the burger, get it to stick to a chrome griddle, and release it with a paint scraper,” he explains.

Combine irresistible products with value, and you answer many customers’ needs. “Price everything appropriately, so when they eat your product, they’re overwhelmed with indisputable value,” observes West. “It’s, ‘I’m going to have a burger, and I have time to not go through a drive-through. I’m prepared to drive a little bit further than to one that’s more convenient.’”

Transforming that scenario into a trend will require connecting with target audiences. He has a plan. “We’re going to use video to tell the story, build awareness and try to create greater gravitational pull to get you to go try other burger joints, other Mexican joints,” explains West. “You create raving fans. Those raving fans are loyal, and they talk about you.”

John Lenz, co-owner of Jasper’s Café with his wife Janet, has grown a very successful business by getting people to talk about his gourmet burgers. Those conversations include everything from word of mouth to online reviews, but it all started with an ages-old marketing platform.

“We’re just a tiny little café, an old fashioned hamburger stand,” he notes. Lenz first carefully considered the region’s demographics, then developed a strategy. “Who is going to know about old fashioned hamburgers, other than a more mature audience?” he asked himself. “Where am I going to find them?

“I honestly went down the road of a conservative talk radio program,” recalls Lenz. “In Medford, we’re the red zone, and everybody listens to the conservative talk radio program, and all these folks, they pay attention to these shows. So, I went to that demographic and said, ‘You know, they’re going to be more affluent, they’re going to be more articulate, they’re going to be more discriminating. They’re going to be a real tough sell, but if I do it right, they’re going to be loyal, and they’re going to tell their kids and their grandkids about it, and I’ll build my base off of that.’” continue →