Sagebrush Sam's

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Steak Buffet Restaurant Business Plan

Services

Sagebrush Sam's will provide quality dining seven days per week. We will only close our locations on Christmas and Thanksgiving. All locations will be open for lunch and dinner. Selected locations will serve breakfast either daily or only on weekends. All meals will be self-serve buffet style offerings for a fixed price.

Competitive Comparison

Sagebrush Sam's will have broad customer appeal due to our casual family atmosphere, wide variety of food offerings, and low price points. We will not only compete with the casual segment restaurants, but also with the family value steak restaurants.

In competing against the casual theme restaurants, we will have the following advantages:

  • Lower price point for a complete meal. If our consumer is a steak lover, his Sagebrush Sam's meal is almost half what he would pay at a theme restaurant.
  • There will be no tipping at Sagebrush Sam's, since we are self-service. This will reduce the actual customer cost of our dining experience by 10-15%.
  • Speed of service will be instant: no waiting for a steak, salad, beverage, or dessert. Everything will be readily available: hot, juicy, fresh, and cooked as requested.
  • Our portions will be "just right." Since we are "all-you-can-eat" the portion size meets the need, rather than a pre-determined amount meant to suit the "average" person.
  • Variety is the name of our game. Guests will choose from over 100 different items prepared fresh daily. It is often difficult to meet the dining requests of each family member due to individual tastes. However, at Sagebrush Sam's, there will be something for everyone, every day of the week.
  • We will provide more entertainment than our competition. Our guests will view our meat-cutting cooler as they walk in; they will watch us cooking 70-80 steaks at a time on our mesquite grill; and they will see us preparing and cooking their hot entrees, desserts, and salads. We want our guests to feel a part of the "Sagebrush Sam's" dining experience!

In competing against the family value steak restaurants, we will have the following advantages:

  • We will serve better quality food than our competitors. Nightly, we will offer USDA-choice sirloin steaks that are hand-cut daily and aged for 21 days. With our higher dinner price points, we will feature better quality items on the buffet. Not only can we afford to do this, but it will also limit the amount of steaks that our guests will consume per visit. Even though some guests will eat 4-5 steaks, the average still remains at 1.2 steaks per guest.
  • We will offer a lower price point at lunch than our competition and feature a fresh Sam's Specialty Beefburger, hot and juicy off our display grill, plus the buffet! Our guest could pay the same price at a quick service restaurant, QSR, but only receive a burger, fries, and a drink.
  • Our surroundings will be more entertaining than our competitors'.
  • Our food will be fresher since we will close weekdays between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and shorter evening hours.
  • Our guests will not encounter service problems. Our competitors still feature servers who bring beverages, extra plates, and dinners if ordered. Their servers, which traditionally handle as many as 10 tables at a time, frequently have trouble being everywhere at the same time. With Sagebrush Sam's, everything is out front and ready for our guests. We will explain our service policy up front and, therefore, never let them down.
  • There will be no confusing menu board when guests arrive at our restaurant. One price will be stated, with everything included. Some of our competitors have 10-foot-long menu boards which are overwhelming to customers and difficult to read. Others try to up-sell and ask too many questions while reeling off specials of the day. After all is said and done, they sell 90% buffets and 10% dinners. We've made it simple: one price, everything included. And we've put steak back on the menu where it belongs -- right on top!
  • We will not need trays for guests carrying drinks, plates, silverware and napkins from the cash register at Sagebrush Sam's, everything is conveniently placed in the dining room near the food stations.
  • We will be able to staff our restaurant with 25% fewer employees than our competition. With no need for servers, only one cashier, shorter operating hours, and out-front servicing of our food bars, we can efficiently run with a reduced staff.
  • There is no tipping at Sagebrush Sam's, since we are self-service. This will reduce the actual customer cost of our dining experience by 10-15%.

Sales Literature

Currently, there is not any sales literature produced for Sagebrush Sam's. However there are plans to produce three different pieces once we open. All should be relatively inexpensive to produce and most will be accomplished in-house by using desk top publishing. Below are the pieces that we are planning to produce.

  1. Table Toppers -- will explain concept and differences between lunch/dinner, "Theme Nights," selling gift certificates, announcing job opportunities, and possibly mentioning franchise possibilities.
  2. Brochures/Handouts -- will explain that we can handle large parties, banquets, or buses; another will list our daily featured entrees.
  3. Direct Mail Piece -- will explain our concept, list prices, and show inside photographs of our restaurant. We will produce and mail this after our first quarter of operation.

Technology

Each Sagebrush Sam's will invest in a single high-speed computer to provide a fast and efficient connection to the Internet and also be a link to our cash registers. We will then be able to poll each restaurant nightly to our Corporate Support Center and be able to daily digest key financial information. We will also order online, email, and have a Web page.

Future Services

Sagebrush Sam's plans for slow and cautious growth during its initial start-up phase. We foresee no more than three units within the first three years of operation. Thereafter, we will never develop more units than we have adequate manpower to operate. A second principle in our growth will be to cluster our development. Our first three units will be within a short distance of each other (a three-hour drive). Afterwards, we will work with neighboring geographical areas for development. Thirdly, we will develop one ground-up unit and one conversion with the first three restaurants. This will then allow us to test which model will work best for future, long-term development.