Expanding to your second location is a different game than opening a standalone restaurant, mostly because a lot is riding on expectations. Otilia Kiss from Thrive Organic Kitchen says opening their first location was easy compared to her recent experience. She shares the lessons she learned in the process of extending the business.
Don’t make assumptions
When opening your first location, there is a lot more flexibility. After that, customers already have an idea of what they’re going to get from you. It’s important to know who your customers are, and what they really see in your brand. This will help you to meet and exceed those expectations the next time around. Something that can get overlooked is where your customers actually are. Figuring that out will dictate where you open the next store to best serve them.
Surprise your customers
Where you choose to locate your new store is going to have its own added nuances, which shape the experience with your brand. Your décor may be different, or you may try new menu items. Think of it as different flavours fo your brand.
An example that Otilia recalled when working on the new space is McDonald’s. The international menus are all very different from eachother. “This is such a powerful brand committed to consistency,” she says, but in the end, it was “still McDonald’s, they still had the same core principals”
You can’t predict everything
Thrive Organic ran into unexpected some surprises of their own. Otilia, half joking, mentioned that the biggest challenge was fixing the pipes in an older building. You’ve got to be prepared, and have an idea of how things are going to go. Some things just aren’t going to go to plan, but you do the best you can.
Otillia says she is not a stranger to expanding a business because she works as a health coach, and her business has evolved in stages. This, however, was a new experience and it was a challenge that solidified the company’s mission. “You really learn about your customers, and realize how many people you’re helping”