Let me tell you a cool story of What Ifs… (Simple HLD type StartUp/Biz Guide)
I assure after reading this you might feel capable of starting your own startup, realizing super powers of applying what you already know!!!
Before that, I want to share thoughts on how
Optimization is intuitive to us humans!
that’s what our logical, creative mind does to us, constantly thinking of improving or solving things, it’s in our nature, even though not knowing the exact vocabulary terms for it.
Here’s an example of how simple things we observe in surroundings help us optimize & come up with logical steps to achieve our goal taking the form of intuitions.
[First Half TLDR]
Imagine if you've been given vacant land to build a restaurant on, how will you proceed?
- If I’m getting a chance to build/design it from scratch, I will analyse/survey the local population (avg age, % distribution, lifestyle) there first understand the need of my target audience
(market research/ segmentation/ deciding niche)
- & then decide the theme: ambience, type of food, sitting arrangements, etc of the restaurant.
eg: if it’s an urban city & people love fast food, I’ll design a mixed modern layout with dishes including western cuisines, fast food: for ones with young, dynamic lifestyle, organic stuffs: for health conscious.
(strategy, sourcing, making feel special)
Offering special discounts- (crowd sourcing, customer first principles) | for eg: girls, student’s pass, etc. strategies & festival discounts (mvp timings, gaining traction, building for end users)
& decide specialities as per the topology of the place- eg- in Kashmir, inclusion of apple in most dishes, would give it a home like feel to consumers, if that’s what we’re aiming for, plus due to easy availability.
(knowing target audience inside out)
- if our target audience includes eminent & affluent people, then we try to serve exotic dishes (with rare/ seasonal/ imported commodities) or if they’re looking for more authentic feel with focus on org stuff along with more focus on hospitality services unlike a take-out restaurant.
Okay, assuming you've it built & theme decided, what would be your next step to make it operational?
- To hire a chef, & auxiliary staff like waiter, hospitality mngt & have demands (orders & raw materials managed) to ultimately be able to serve dishes to the consumers.
How will you invite consumers/ let them know about your restaurant?
- Through different marketing channels
- Targeted advertising on social media, local stores, etc & arranging an opening with some discount schemes.
What will you focus on initially? How do you decide the prices of dishes?
- Quality of dishes would be a priority, that’s how more people will visit us, Mouth-to-mouth marketing, with retention in mind.
-Prices should be at a par, a bit less than the competitors, so more customers would be attracted.
But pricing it less, would make you incur losses, how do you plan to cover that?
- Thinking of it in long run, it would generate x times ROI, also, we could cut out a little in terms of quantity, as there's not much of a concern as far as taste & quality of the food.
[Second Half TLDR]
Ok, so now you've your restaurant up & running & your strategy worked. Huge fleet coming in & current resources aren't able to meet all the orders, what could be a probable solution?
If we aren't able to serve all the dishes in required time,
- if we want to increase variety of dishes, then we can think of either bringing in a more skilled chef
- or if we want more dishes made quickly, we can hire more number of chefs to share the workload
- Thinking of keeping ingredients semi-ready in off times during non-peak hours
- In case our current sitting arrangements are inadequate to accommodate all, we could start a reservation system or promote take-outs.
Cool, what if amidst all this a pandemic breaks out, & you've very less number of customers coming, what will be your immediate measures & action steps to minimize losses?
(context: thinking from a business owner perspective of a start up in covid time)
- I believe that in such a situation, I would see downsizing & pay cuts only as the last options, since I care about my loyal employees & understand that its a sad, unpredictable situation for them too.
(Adapting, cost cutting, 80-20% principle)
- Instead I see adapting as per the need of hour to be a wise strategy, & think we could cut down the operating charges, by not serving the dishes that are least ordered, will only sell our best-sellers
(revaluating market demands, upskilling)
- retrain the staff involved in activities like cleaning that will be least required now in skills such as delivering packages to different healthcare facilities & homes which would have increased demands
- for those who can afford it, & try to give out a % for free, to raise the goodwill of the company, those could be happy future customers (when lockdown stops), spreading the news of our good deeds through mouth-to-mouth marketing
(understanding need of the hour)
- Product/ menu changes as per the need, adding simple healthy dishes instead of the spicy ones served
(opportunistic, optimal resource usability & investment)
- for a temporary basis we can also deliver medicines along with food takeouts, also try to raise funds out of depreciating assets like furniture
(Inspirational Context : A friend of mine (his interesting Journey Post here) recently got asked this abstract question in final cultural fitment round of a Tech company for SDE-2 role, & above is an interpreted version (with added spices) how the conversation looked like & it seemed so intuitive, isn’t it? )
The prime objective to share this was understanding fancy terms through simple practical examples.