Belle Epoque Dinner Theatre

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Dinner Theater Business Plan

Market Analysis Summary

Our main target market is quite simply the well known vacationing family or vacationing friends, lovers and fun-seekers.  A smaller sub-section of locals will visit us as well.

The local winter season resident population is 250,000 people (Source: U.S. Census). 

  • The summer season visitor attendance is 4.5 million visitors of which:
  • 75.5% are families with two or more children
  • 17.6% are single
  • 2.6% are senior citizens
  • 78.3% are between the ages of 28 and 54
  • 56.34% earn more than $50,000 per year
  • The average stay is 4.6 days
  • Spending per day varies between $78 to $300

Tourism dollars generated in Bigsmalltown are $3.64 billion (Source: Rovelstad & Associates, Longwoods International)


  • Restaurants generate $1.006 billion
  • Retail generates $675 million
  • Lodging generates $1.183 billion
  • Automobile generates $449 million
  • Recreation generates $303 million
  • Transportation generates $30 million

Bigsmalltown at a Glance as of 2003 - The Official Border County Government Report


  • 102,326 year round residents with an estimated summer population of 614,261
  • 5% of the people are under 5 years old
  • 22% percent are under 18 years old
  • 20% are over the age of 65 years old
  • Per capital income is $24,172
  • Median household income is $41,591 and is increasing
  • There are 91,000 housing units consisting of 46% year round residents and 54% used for seasonal and recreational


  • Encompassing 256 square miles of land area located at the southern tip of Upstate
  • Made up of 16 municipalities
  • 30 miles of white sandy beaches and islands with thousands of acres on the mainland preserved for open space, farmlands and natural conservation
  • With over 70 square miles, Village Township is the largest geographically of all the municipalities
  • Bocage Township is the most populated with almost 23,000 people


  • Tourism represents the number one industry generating over $3 billion a year in revenues
  • Total labor force of 49,201 people
  • There are 3,693 private establishments
  • The Services sector of the economy employs 37% of the labor force followed by the Trades that employ 36% 
  • Government employs 10% of the labor force

4.1 Market Segmentation

We use this topic to explain the Market Analysis table and chart, below.  Our analysis is based on a list of potential customer groups, each of which is a market segment. 

  • The family segment looking for fun while on their week of vacation.
  • The local residents included in the summer population looking to see something new or to take guests in town out to a great, proud place.  Local residents are increasing with condominium ownership and increased building.
  • Long distance drivers coming in especially to experience our dinner show.  This last geographic segment will normally travel one driving day or up to 300 miles for a short weekend stay. 

There are two specific sub-groups of clientele within each of the listed segments:  the lunch crowd, casual drinking (wine specifically, market encouraged), and our nightly "Admiral's Table" crowd.  Both of these segments (especially wine drinkers) are slightly more sophisticated; average bar drinking age is about 25 to 34-plus years old while the dining room averages 35 to 54-plus.  Household income is upper middle, in the $75,000 and up range.  We hold these specific two groups to be similar to McCormick & Schmick's - a close match to our offerings (data as reported in Market Watch, October, 2003). 

Some of the more recent trends include correlating behavioral patterns and so-called psychographics, which produced the famous classification of, "yuppies," as young urban professionals, and of course the, "baby boomers," with certain buying patterns.  We believe both of these segments will frequent Belle Epoque.

Teenagers sort themselves into marketing groups with names like, "preppies, dudes, gothic, jocks, and skaters."  Each of these labels actually stands for certain sets of behavior patterns, and has some value in segmentation.   These segments will attend our offerings in groups for class trips and major events.  They also will attend with their parents for general dining and we plan on marketing directly to their segment.  An example of successful teenager marketing is the offering of bottled sodas instead of just fountain service.  Teenagers are highly ranked for their liking of bottled soda over all other categories - due to its extra pep and fizz. 

Marketing one simple item to a specific segment generates sales across the board.  Especially when teens encourage parents to "go to Belle Epoque tonight."  This is only one, direct example of techniques to be employed for market domination via segmentation understanding.  We have other areas and methods scheduled.  Many are based on award-winning experience, financial success, and published books by noted experts.

Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Weekly summer population 5% 225,000 235,000 245,000 255,000 265,000 4.18%
Weekly winter population 5% 4,808 5,008 5,208 5,408 5,608 3.92%
Long distance customers 2% 5,000 8,000 12,000 15,000 20,000 41.42%
Total 5.47% 234,808 248,008 262,208 275,408 290,608 5.47%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

We cannot survive just waiting for customers to come to us.  Instead, we must focus on the specific market segments whose needs match our offerings.  Focusing on targeted segments is the key to our future.  We will attract customers with live performances and distribution of  brochures.

Therefore, we need to focus our marketing message and our product offerings.  We need to develop our message, communicate it, and make good on it.  The Marketing Strategy topic contains the details of our tactics and programs.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

The restaurant and entertainment show business is dynamic and fast paced.  It offers exciting food and dining experiences with high profit margins.  Interested owners who have extensive multi-decade experience will almost always do well.  Those who have theater and acting experience, combined with 20 to 30 years of business success, will do extremely well in profit, employee and customer happiness.  This service business provides rewards via customer satisfaction surveys.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

In one part of the restaurant market competition depends on reputation, advertising, and the dining experience of the customer.  In another, competition centers around location and parking.  In most cases the restaurant industry strongly relies on word-of-mouth recommendations over advertising. Word of mouth is the secret in retaining long-term satisfied customers. This, combined with changing drama shows each year, and other side acts, will ensure that diners return.

Customers will choose our business over others from the first time they see our actors dressed up in the mall handing out brochures or in parking lots staging mini-shows.  We have extensive experience with free publicity.  For instance, Chef Joachim recently appeared on the Today show. He has also filmed many other shows all over the world and in a number of different languages.

Appearances on the public boardwalks, streets and anywhere that is free - such as at huge events, competitions, conventions and more, will attract the public.  Customers will definitely choose us due to our personal and face-to-face interaction in a dining experience.  Host and serving staff will dress in period costumes, and those with a yen toward acting and performance will be encouraged to play the parts of denizens of Montmartre, during the Paris' cultural heyday.  Staff will regularly portray famous members of Parisian high society including Impressionist painters, theatre doyens, writers, philosophers, etc.

All too often the problem with today's restaurants is that they look great, have waterfalls or beautiful physical decoration, or great motifs and themes, but are missing the human element...the host or server who is unpredictable and physically shakes your hand. The dining experience should not be another video simulator or Nintendo game. Even serious businessmen and businesswomen can get excited over a corporate event held in our Belle Epoque restaurant where they can talk with actors who believe that they are back in that era (called first person acting).  What might someone say and what answer might come back? Something snappy or robust?  

The buying patterns of our customers will be repeat patterns. Our pricing for food, taste, and product delivered will exceed local expectations.  We rely on the world tastes and travels of Chef Joachim and team - difficult to equal or duplicate.