Pita Pal will be serving the Washington, PA lunch time and early evening crowd. Two distinct market segments will be targeted: students of Washington and Jefferson College and "towners." The students will be attracted to Pita Pal as a better alternative to their on-campus meal plan. The towners will appreciate the selection and change from the more traditional offerings currently available on Main Street. Main Street has been chosen in Washington because of the recent renaissance of the downtown area. Currently, there are lots of different businesses that have hungry lunch time workers.
The competitive environment that Pita Pal faces is not too stiff. Most of the lunch time fare in downtown can be categorized as traditional offerings, diner food. While this might appeal to older residents of the town, this does not appeal to many college students and to a growing population of people who are in search of more healthy food, Pita Pal should be a big hit.
Pita Pal has segmented the market into two distinct segments:
This group is primarily from Washington and Jefferson College, a liberal arts school, a tenth of a mile from downtown. The students are looking for food vendors for two main reasons, the first is the desire to get off campus, the second is to have an alternative to the on-campus food service. Demographic data and behavioral traits for the students is as follows:
This information pertains to the Washington and Jefferson students. There will be a few community college students who will trickle in, but since their campus is six miles away, there will not be a significant number of community college students.
This group is the people that live and work in Washington, primarily in the downtown area.
The two different market segments that Pita Pal will be going after are distinct enough that there will be two different marketing campaigns, one for each group. This is necessary because the two groups respond to different forms of communication. Students spend the majority of their day on campus, but typically venture off campus during the day for lunch. The marketing effort to reach the students will be based on their forms of written media, The General, student newspaper.
The towners can be reached through different sources of communication. These are people who work downtown and tend to patronize the other downtown businesses. These people are more in tune with the different business organizations that exist downtown. Pita Pal will attempt to communicate with this group via the local newspaper.
Pita Pal exists within the general restaurant industry. There are many different categories within the restaurant industry. Pita Pal fits within two different niches within the industry, fast food and fast casual. Their offerings are similar to fast food in that orders are placed at the counter and served within a few minutes, and the menu is somewhat limited in selection. It is also similar to fast casual where the clientele tends to spend more time at a table relative to a fast food restaurant. The food is more expensive than a normal fast food restaurant and there is a larger product offering.
For the restaurant industry, it is normal for a venture to reach profitability by year two. If they reach it any earlier it is likely that they are cutting corners and that profit is unlikely to be sustainable. If it takes more than two years than it is quite questionable whether they will ever reach profitability.
Pita Pal's competition exists in many forms: