If you stay in the know with all things culinary, you probably saw that this week My Fit Foods, an Austin-based prepared meals company abruptly closed all 50 of their stores in five different states. All 259 of their employees were notified of the closing just last Sunday. Can you imagine their surprise? My Fit Foods has had a rough go around though.
Last October they closed their three stores in Chicago while at the same time Snap Kitchen, their top competitor was growing in the Chicago market and has six stores in the works. My Fit Foods was further under fire when their former CEO was arrested in 2015 and charged with the possession of a controlled substance. They had a new CEO take over the company but My Fit Foods failed to make changes with their company and keep up with Snap Kitchen, ultimately resulting in its demise.
The reason why I am taking the time to discuss this news with you, is because I think it presents some valuable reminders for us as culinary business owners:
- We must be willing to adapt and change with the times – Snap Kitchen had a much more aggressive marketing and ad campaign than My Fit Foods and they made a lot of updates and changes to their stores to appeal to their growing customer base.They updated their product labeling and made their stores look more modern and bright. My Fit Foods hadn’t made any wide-updates to their stores in years.
- We have to offer something special to set us apart – As you know, the food industry is extremely competitive and if your culinary business is going to remain relevant, you have to offer something special. Snap Kitchen had recently offered some unexpected, exotic dishes to their menu that really appealed to people. You can find things like Chicken Tikka Masala, Spicy Dan Dan Noodles or Crispy Scottish Salmon on their menu. Is your mouth watering? Last month I attended the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco and there is a big push for exotic foods this year. Research shows that people are wanting more exotic dishes and Snap Kitchen was able to adapt to the changing trend and offer what their customers wanted.
- We need to keep a pulse on the competition – When you are caught up in the day-to-day of running your business, sometimes it’s easy to forget to keep your eye on your competitors. Do you know who your competitors are? Do you follow them on social media? Do you know enough information about their target market? What kind of language do they use in their marketing? Where do they show up? (offline and online). If your business is going to be successful it is a necessity to keep the pulse of all of your competitors and know what they are doing at all times. Take a look at their website and see how it differs from yours. What makes you stand out vs. them? What do they do better than you that could help you know how to improve?
It’s always sad for me to see culinary businesses close because I am so passionate about food. However, while I think My Fit Foods had a great mission and intentions for providing healthy meals, they simply weren’t able to keep up with their competitors and in our free market, those who can’t compete have to throw in the towel. I challenge you to take a hard look at your business. Where do you fit amongst your competitors? How can you be better and create greater demand for your product/services?
If you find that you are struggling to keep up, I can help you take things to the next level with your business. Learn more about my coaching programs here.