Pho Eater Behaviors - What Pho Restaurants Can Learn From These Polls

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Pho Eater Behaviors - What Pho Restaurants Can Learn From These PollsI have a couple of polls running on this site for some time now. It's time to take a closer look.

If you haven't done so, just click on "Vote" link below the poll results to add your 2 cents.

Poll No. 1: Pho Addicts

The first poll asks Lovingpho.com readers how often they go out for pho in a typical week. Here are some results at the time of this writing:

  • Almost 2/3 or 64% go at least once per week,
  • About 1/3 or 32% go once per week,
  • About 1/5 or 20% go twice per week,
  • About 10% go three or more times per week.

Pho addicts: How often do you have pho at pho restaurant per week?

  • Once per week. (34%, 33 Votes)
  • Twice per week. (20%, 20 Votes)
  • Thrice per week. (5%, 5 Votes)
  • 4+ times per week. (5%, 5 Votes)
  • Less than once per week. (36%, 35 Votes)

Total Voters: 98

Vote

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The takeaway if you're a pho restaurant operator

If you're in the restaurant business, it's a well-known fact that repeat customers play an important part to make your business successful. If you're selling pho, then you need to take a look around your dining room over the next few days, few weeks and even few months; preferably you do this every day you're in business. Look at all those people eating your pho and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many of them are new customers and how many are repeat customers?
  • Of the new customers, how do you turn them into the someone who'll come back at least once a week, thus increasing the 32%?
  • Of the returning customers, how do you maintain their loyalties and then influence their decision to visit you even more often?

Poll No. 2: Favorite Pho Restaurant(s)

This poll asks whether a pho customer has found a favorite pho restaurant that he/she visits all the time. Here are some results at the time of this writing:

  • Eighty percent (80%) frequent 1 to 3 pho restaurants all the time.
  • Twenty percent (20%) still haven't found their fav pho restaurants yet.

Have you found your favorite pho restaurant(s)?

  • Go to same 1-3 all the time (80%, 371 Votes)
  • Can't decide between 4-10 places (5%, 22 Votes)
  • Still searching (15%, 71 Votes)

Total Voters: 464

Vote

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The takeaway if you're a pho restaurant operator

This one is simple to understand but also carries some very important hidden messages. The poll seems to indicate that, for a given market, 80% of pho eaters prefer to frequent a very small numbers of good pho restaurants (1 to 3 or maybe more if you're in a huge metro area like Los Angeles, New York, San Jose, etc.).

The rest (20%) are still looking for their 1-3 favorite places.

So with all the competition to feed an increasingly demanding marketplace, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I one of those 1 to 3 pho restaurants that 80% of pho eaters prefer to frequent?
  • If I am in this top group, do I maintain continuous effort to make sure I stay in this group and possibly get to top of the group, or maybe even create my own new group?
  • If I am not in this top group, then do I know what's keeping my pho restaurant from joining the group, or do I even have the desire to play in that league?

The Bottom Line

Between these two polls, we can draw some important observations and conclusions. To operate a successful pho restaurants, an owner/operator needs to understand the following:

  • Regardless of market size, pho addicts (um... I mean good customers) prefer to go to only a few really good pho places. It's to your benefits to be one of these places.
  • If your pho restaurant is in this group, then you reap the following benefits:
    • Large number of repeat/loyal customers
    • Lower marketing cost (or customer acquisition cost)
    • Snowball effects or indirect positive side effects: higher food turnover/served (higher freshness and lower inventory levels), lower employee/labor cost (high efficiency and always busy labor force), satisfied customers (resulting in free word-of-mouth advertising, lower marketing cost as already mentioned, etc.), plus many more.
  • If your pho restaurant is not in this group, then you may be paying the following heavy prices that can compound in working against your restaurant's success:
    • Very small or nonexistent repeat/loyal customer base (because they're in the 20% group who are still looking for their favorite place, and it's not yours)
    • If you spend on advertising or marketing at all, you may attract first-time visitors but they don't come back as repeat customers. This results in a big waste of your already limited marketing budget, and it's very hard to come back from this position
    • Snowball effects in the negative direction, including low staff morale and high labor cost (high turnover, high cost to constantly hire and train replacements, low or no customer service, etc.), lower food quality (thus lower sales resulting in high inventory, high food cost, etc.), low or no word-of-mouth benefits, among many others.

To find out how I can help you open your own pho restaurant, or improve your existing operation, please use the form on the Pho Restaurant Consultation page.

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