UPer Crust Pies will penetrate the commuter and captive consumer markets by setting up stores in highly visible and accessible locations. With the proliferation of coffee and fast-food chains across America, customers expect product consistency. Although our unique products will initially captivate a curious market and compete on a consistency level, it will be our fast and cheerful customer service that will differentiate us from competitors and keep our customers returning.
UPer Crust Pies has identified its market as busy, mobile people whose time is already at a premium. This market desires exciting, new-tasting products with familiar ingredients for lunch time or while commuting to or from work or school.
Every resident in the greater Yubetchatown area is a potential customer.
Each location gives us an opportunity to increase customer awareness.
Marketing to our target segments will expose us to additional new customers.
6.1 Competitive Edge
UPer Crust Pies' unique products and focus on the customers experience will give it a significant market edge and differentiate the company from its competitors.
The company has several distinct advantages over its two leading competitors; its authentic products, modern baking and presentation equipment, and the latest operating systems and technology.
A fast and unique food alternative: We offer our customers a completely new experience through our pies, pastries, salads and desserts. The look, feel and taste of our products when compared to the competition will initially establish a sense of curiosity, followed by a value for money reputation and eventually a loyal following of pie lovers and connoisseurs.
Products are made from the finest quality ingredients and are low in fat and free of genetically modified foods. Many products, such as the authentic Upper Peninsula pies, will not be available anywhere else.
Our products will be served fast and ready to consume and will be an alternative to the usual fast-food options available in today's market.
The importance of the experience: With so many fast food restaurants and prepared foods being offered at grocery markets, the customer experience becomes extremely important as an effective way of distinguishing offerings. It is this experience that remains in the customer's mind well after they have consumed their food. This memory is what is communicated to their friends and colleagues.
We realize that our business is a lot more than just pies. It’s our pies, our people and the experience the customers have in our stores. The store environment will play a major role in a positive customer experience. The cleanliness, smoke-free environment, color scheme and nostalgic Upper Peninsula/Great Lakes images will create a completely new experience.
6.2 Marketing Strategy
The focus of our marketing strategy will be to attract new customers, educate those customers and create a loyal base. Our goal is to be known as a unique food experience with superior customer service.
The following marketing strategies will be employed in the first year of business:
Signage: Highly visible, eye catching and recognizable signs and logos at each store.
Print media advertising: Weekly and monthly food and dining out guides will be used for print advertising.
Flyers: Distributed to local businesses to create customer awareness, accompanied with buy-one get one-free coupons during our Grand Opening.
Entertainment book coupons: Create initial customer awareness and economic incentive to try our products. The effectiveness of these books diminishes after approximately eight months and UPer Crust Pies will turn to more cost effective marketing.
Word of mouth: Unsurpassed customer service and our unique products will help develop strong word-of-mouth advertising and in turn help extend the company brand.
Alliances: Although the company is primarily in the fast-food industry, it's unique products and cultural origins could be used as a tourism vehicle to promote the Upper Peninsula through a strategic alliance with Michigan Tourism.
6.3 Sales Strategy
We intend to succeed by giving our customers a combination of delicious food in an appealing environment with outstanding customer service. Once a customer enters our store, it is our job to make sure their experience with us is enjoyable. To establish a loyal customer base, it is vitally important we develop repeat business.
Our pies will be cooked throughout the day, ensuring they can be served with confidence while guaranteeing our customers supreme freshness and taste. We will also offer fresh baked samples free of charge to those who enter our store for the first time.
We need to offer fast service at peak times. To speed up customer service, at least two employees will be servicing customers. One employee will be preparing the customer's order, the other one will be taking care of the sales transaction. All sales data logged on our computerized POS system will be analyzed for marketing purposes.
We will offer punch cards, meal deals and weekly menu specials and keep accurate track of what types of pies and associated foods sell well through a customer feedback program. With this information we will be able to streamline our food line to match local tastes and encourage more people to eat at the pie shop.
We need to sell the company as well as the product. All employees will go through a comprehensive training process on how to offer customers the finest experience. Employees will be empowered to resolve issues and are encouraged to seek assistance from managers for any conflicts they are unable to resolve.
Part of our mission is to educate our customers about pies. However, this must be done in a respectful fashion. Our knowledge is a resource, and must never be used to make a customer feel uncomfortable or ignorant.
In the first year of business we will implement a Point-of-Sale (POS) computerized cash register system that will make tracking and managing receipts and charitable contributions more robust. We will seek a professional who has experience in how to tie in POS systems to the Internet and inventory controls. This individual's knowledge will also help establish technology guidelines for the company.
Our sales strategy requires consistently high quality food and fast service in a relaxed atmosphere. We can accomplish this by:
Hiring employees who appreciate our unique products.
Continually assessing the quality of all aspects of the business and immediately addressing any issues.
Interacting with our customers personally, so they know that their feedback goes directly to the owners.
Evaluating food choices and keeping favorites on the menu as we rotate weekly and seasonal specials.
6.3.1 Sales Forecast
Our sales forecast shows modest estimates for the first year of operations beginning in July 2005. Cost control is a critical focus for UPer Crust Pies. Because we are importing our product from Michigan, we will negotiate a flat purchase price for the first three years of business to compensate for fluctuating economic conditions. We have projected a 60% gross mark up over the first three years of business. Keeping costs low while increasing sales will be vital to the company's profitability in subsequent years.
UPer Crust Pies envisions the first three months of sales to be fairly slow due to limited product awareness, the competitive nature of the market and existing customer loyalty. We have therefore forecasted a 5% growth rate over the first year. In the second year, UPer Crust Pies will add two more stores and in the third year, an additional two stores. The addition of these stores will nearly triple the gross revenue in the second year and increase half again as much in the third year. Compared to industry standards we have taken a very conservative 10% growth rate over the first three years of operations.
Not projected in this sales forecast is the possibility of additional revenue generated from shipping via an e-commerce facility to be added to our website in year two. Based on current market research, shipping could be a significant profit center. We would sell frozen products that could be shipped overnight via DHL or FedEx to customers throughout the U.S. Shipping would also become an integral part of the company’s marketing plan to help develop brand recognition and build product awareness.
We understand product sales will also vary according to the season. Dessert and salad sales in the summer months are expected to be slightly higher since more people will be having barbecues and picnics requiring ad-on products. Pie and pastry sales should be higher in winter because of food oriented holidays and pies tend to be viewed as a comfort food. It is anticipated that sales of sodas during the summer months should be substantially higher.
Please note that the sales forecast for the first year reflects store number one at a 5% growth rate. In the second year, the forecast reflects the combined sales of three stores at a 10% growth rate, and in the third year, the combined sales of five stores at a 10% growth rate.