How Go! Go! Curry! Overcame the Price Pressures of NYC
In the midst of the social and economic conditions of a pandemic, you may struggle with adjusting your business to the “new normal”. It’s the same here at Go! Go! Curry! America. But as I wrote in the past few issues, I believe we will find a way, if we don’t forget our principles: to be positive and caring. For those of you may wonder how to do that, I’d like to share one example of how we accomplished this in the past.
When I joined Go! Go! Curry! America in 2012, the minimum wage in New York was $7.50. It hiked to $15 by 2019. Rental fees in New York City usually rose by 7% every year. Since we were known as a fast casual Asian food franchise that served Japanese curry rice at an affordable price, we wanted to keep the price as low as possible. However, we would lose revenue if we didn’t do anything to adapt to this socio-economic change, and at the same time, we feared that our customers would leave if we raised our prices too much. It took a year and a half to introduce a new pricing system that made our customers happy. Here is what we did:
First, we gathered problem reports from each location, and we noticed that the amount of leftover rice on customers’ plates was considerable. So we decided to decrease the amount of rice in one serving. This worked perfectly so that we could cut costs and reduce leftovers. Even so, this was not a comprehensive solution. Second, we conducted customer satisfaction research and found out that they wanted a more flexible ordering system, rather than purchasing from the set options we offered. In other words, customers liked to design their own curry dish by choosing the amount of rice, type of toppings, and favorite sides, and the price did not matter as much for them as long as they could get what they wanted. Answering to our customers’ preferences, we changed our ordering system and increased our prices at the same time. With this ordering and pricing system, customers became happy, and we became happy, too!
However, our employees were still concerned with losing customers. We upgraded our uniform, revamped interior decorations, and introduced new containers in order to reassure our employees that our price hike was valid. As a result, our sales increased by 19%.
Next time, I’d like to go back to my Japanese curry rice talk and share some trivia with you. Until then, think wise and stay genki!
If your next move is a food franchise, we are a good partner to team up with. We are happy to share our experiences and knowledge to grow your business.
About The Author:
Tomoko Omori was born and raised in Japan. She came to the USA alone to become an actress, where she received an AA degree from college majoring in Drama. She received a scholarship to study music at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC.
After working for TV broadcasting and a publishing company, today, Tomoko is the CEO of Go! Go! Curry! America, a grab-and-go Japanese comfort food restaurant franchise. There are over 75 locations in Japan, and 11 in the USA. She says, “Our mission is to serve our tasty curry nationwide in the USA and Canada to enrich the lives of our customers, employees, franchise owners and the communities we serve. Our vision is to create millions of satisfied customers, contented tummies and miles and miles of smiles for everyone!” Tomoko received the Nikkei BP Woman of the year award in 2015.