Secrets Independent Restaurants Use to Win Battles with Big Chain Competition

If you own a successful multi-unit independent restaurant company, you can learn from the experience of Yumilicious, which beat chain Pinkberry in North Texas.

When Yumilicious opened their first tart frozen yogurt store in Dallas, I stopped by and talked to the owner, who told me he “had some relatives in California who have yogurt stores.”

How Pinkberry Won the Battle and Lost the War

A few years later, Pinkberry opened a location on the same block. By then, Pinkberry had been credited with starting the tart frozen yogurt trend, and were on a trajectory to 200 units worldwide.

Their location — on a major corner with a stoplight — was far superior to the Yumilicious location in the middle of the block on a side street.

Also, Pinkberry had dedicated parking spaces behind them, in contrast to Yumilicious, whose customers had to use the parking garage behind it that was difficult to find.

Things didn’t look good for Yumilicious.

But they do now. Flash forward a few more years and Pinkberry is gone at that location, having been replaced by a Sablon Chocolate Lounge. Pinkberry now has three units in North Texas. Yumilicious has 11.

The Three Reasons David Beat Goliath

  1. Menu Choices. Yumilicious offers guests more choices than Pinkberry. Pinkberry offers a few base toppings, but Yumilicious gives people a chance to sample at least eight.
  2. Quality of Experience. Yumilicious is participative. You make your yogurt treat yourself – however you want it. At Pinkberry, you direct people to do that for you, and limited options are more restrictive than what you can make yourself.
  3. Atmosphere. Pinkberry’s interior and signage are beautiful; their faux pebbled floor is gorgeous. Yumilicious is more comfortable and it is easier to adjust seating to suit the size of your party. The people watching is great. At the beginning, they even had a screen and game controller so you could compete playing your favorite game. In short, Yumilicious is just more relaxed and fun.

What can you learn from this? Here are things you need to know about your independent restaurant to maximize sales, profits, and net worth in the face of chain competition.

Three Most Important Methods Independents Deploy to Beat Chains

  1. Identify what is special about your independent restaurant that chains can never duplicate.
  2. Ask what do you know about and do for your guests that chains will never know or do?
  3. Determine how you will position your brand to take advantage of the fact that your restaurants are owned and operated by real people and not a faceless corporation