Gregor Cuzak

on marketing, business and philosophy

Rosins Restaurants

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I rarely vouch for anything on TV, mostly simply due to a healthy lack of viewing. Nevertheless, while resting in a hotel room in our family vacation I have seem a show that is even available on the net and I strongly recommend to anyone interested in marketing.

The show Rosin’s Restaurants airs on the german channel KabelEins. The idea of the reality show is taking a bust restaurant and transforming it into success.

The show that I would like to point to aired on January 17th. Even if you don’t speak German, see it here. Frank Rosin touches practically everything a real marketer should when looking for growth in a market.

The un-star of the show is Hardy who runs this lowly snack joint with a chaotic offering of kebab, pizza, sausage, frites, he even does catering, mixes hot sauces into his enigma, does steaks, and yet wants to be special. In other words: drab, confused, depressing.

I will not retell the story, see it for yourself, let me just count all the marketing moves Frank does to transform the business:

– market research – before transformation: he invites bypassers to test the food in exchange for their opinions. Besides taking open opinions he also asks customers to grade the snack-joint in quality, taste, originality, appearance and service.

– product testing: Frank tries Hardy’s main dishes and discusses the ideas and intentions behind them

– team leadership: Frank talks to two of Hardy’s assistants. His main focus stays with Hardy though. All the information Frank gathers in this preparatory phase he then uses to show Hardy how much off the track he is. He doesn’t let Hardy fall though, but only let’s him on fire for a while. Then, over the show, he picks up on some of Hardy’s and the team’s ideas, in order for them to feel a part of the new story and give them new motivation.

– financial analysis: Frank takes a detailed view of the balance sheets that Hardy can’t understand. Frank proves that in order to save the business Hardy would need to reduce the number of products, both to reduce costs and to refocus the perceived value of the shop. Besides, Frank shows how damaging to the balace sheet the catering activity is which results in scrapping it later.

– creative conceptualisation: Frank asks all three members of the team to decide on a single direction that the shop would take in the future. The result is that the joint scraps most of the dishes and only put their spicy curry wurst (sausage) front and center. He advises to keep the name of the joint, but have it subtitled with the newly found focus. The slogan becomes ‘all the best from the curry wurst’.

– product redesign: after deciding on the focus, as said ‘all the best from the curry wurst’, Frank creates four new sauces to accompany the wurst sausage. The team also realises that salads could complement the saucy sausages and frites, now the main stars of the joint.

– space redesign: far from expensive refurbishing Frank and Hardy’s team only focus on the cheap moves. They clear away a lot of the clunk that had gathered in the dining room over the years, repaint a wall and put up new signage, but all very basic.

– promotion: they decide to do an official reopening of the shop, so they sample the new sauces with wurst to bypassers and also give them flyers inviting them to the opening. Frank organises a radio interview with the local radio station.

– market research – after transformation: Frank repeats the research just as it was already done at the beginning of the process. Clearly customers give the new joint much better grades now.

Probabaly I have missed a point or two, yet I do hope you get the idea. And one more thing, Frank and Hardy’s team did most of the work on their own, save for the grafitti painter, the signage and the radio interview. And everything was done in only a few days.

What I really loved about the show was how far Frank as a Michelin star studded chef is prepared to go and work in the lowliest of the food joints. He is critical, but does’t destroy the poor owner outright, yet finds ways to build from the ruins. And for this he employs ideas before money. The transformation is no big stuff, yet the final result is so much more appetising. A pure small wonder.

So, just one question remains: how long will Hardy be able to keep up the new story? I do hope for a long time.

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