You work to find a great spot. But what do you do. I got this question the other day, someone is taking my location – what do I do?
Ever had someone move into your location?
Well stand by. It’s bound to happen.
But what can you do?
If you’ve been following me for awhile – you’ve surely heard us talk about
setting yourself – APART.
By being better.
HOW TO BE BETTER
There’s a number of things you can do do to set yourself – APART.
- Unique signage banners and displays
- Super clean and neat setups
- Create a niche:
- only vendor with the footlong
- mini hot dogs
- largest selection of mustard or hot sauce
- Personality type (such as unicycle and bowtie like one vendor does – another is a mime)
- Pricing* (see below)
- Unique customer experience (some vendors have great personalities and make the entire experience a pleasure and fun)
- Super friendly (a must for any great vendor)
All these and others – build value. And thats just a few main things vendors do to set themselves apart.
THE VALUE IS NOT JUST THE MEAL
The value is in the entire experience – not JUST the meal. I frequent a restaurant – not because they make the best wraps in town – not because they have the best chicken salad
– but because – their staff are exceptional.
They are friendly. Like they’ve known you forever. They are attentive and keep the sweet tea and Diet Pepsi flowing. You can’t help but feel welcome and just like family.
We have vendors in our Vendors United Street Food Pro group who are the same.
Like this one. (Great American Hot Dog Stand)
There’s a rule in pricing. There’s never a value or benefit in being second cheapest.
If you can’t be the lowest price (if that’s your goal) – then be the highest.
Being lowest… doesn’t need to be your goal and although – pricing is important, it isn’t EVERYTHING.
Create pricing to fit with the economics of the folks you’ll be serving near. And make it a value. Not necessarily the cheapest – but a value nonetheless.
Jason Brown convinced me – finally – to raise my prices – years ago. I was busy trying to be the cheapest while even at double the price (the experience I offered) was a huge value.
BUT HOW DOES THIS SOLVE THE PROBLEM
Nothing will really stop someone from moving into your area. Of course if you have some kind of signed non-compete so that the property owner/manager can’t allow someone else in on you – that’d be great.
But I never went to the trouble. (plus it would be difficult to get from the free location your using)
Instead I just did my thing.
In 2010 I was set up at the flea market. Every weekend. My daughter called one day and said that someone had a cart directly across from her.
And to be honest, that vendor was smart. They saw where folks were eating and they figured they’d capitalize on the crowd.
Not something I’d do to another vendor, but I understood.
I told my daughter not to worry.
She thought we should lower our prices (which were already low) because this new vendor came in about $1.00 less on his “value meal”. (2 dogs / chips / drink)
I was already at $5. and wasn’t about to change that.
I have no idea how well that vendor did, but my daughter did over $800 in 5 hours.
Either way – that vendor wasn’t there the next Saturday.
VALUE! IS! KEY!
WHAT SET US APART FROM THE LOCATION THEIF?
He was cheaper. He advertised all beef hot dogs and the same value meal. So why didn’t he return? Did he have a bad day?
My daughter said the most people he ever had in line was 6 and it was when her line was around the corner.
Obviously folks not wanting to wait in her line – moved over.
So why weren’t they all saving a buck and buying from him.
Two things I know:
- we had Coke Onions (he didn’t)
- his setup was not nice and neat
That could have been all it took.
Don’t take your eyes off your goals.
Don’t change your methods on a whim in efforts to counter perceived competition.
Always be scoping out other location opportunities. Never put all your hopes into one location.
Whether from competition or a tornado, that location may not always be that great.
Be unique, be special, be an experience. Your customers will then – follow you anywhere and everywhere.