Background Information and Mission Statement
Based in New York City’s Bronx, Friend’s Kitchen is a family-owned restaurant that specializes in a wide variety of cuisines from different corners of the world. The restaurant was founded in 2016 by an immigrant couple from Africa who were frustrated by the challenges in finding authentic African cuisines in local eateries in New York City. After saving for several years, the couple quit their jobs to establish a restaurant that offers cuisines that resonates with the city’s highly acclaimed cultural diversity (Gleason, 2019). The restaurant is currently under the management of the couple and their son and daughter. The son, a certified international chef, is in charge of production while the daughter who holds a first degree in marketing and branding is tasked with overseeing marketing and customer relations.
Friend’s Kitchen uses a business model founded on friendship. All meals are prepared with the customer’s taste and preference in mind. Therefore, the customer decides what goes into the cuisines and meals they order. Like a friend’s kitchen, customers have the freedom to choose the ingredients and toppings. Every meal is served with a friendly touch and a homely feel that allows customers including immigrants to enjoy home delicacies and cuisines away from home. Since its founding, Friend’s Kitchen has embraced technology and modern trends that resonates with various market segments including millenials. Towards this end, the restaurant has a strong social media presence which it uses for marketing, brand promotion, and communication purposes. The management has also endeavored to wire modern trends and technologies such as home deliveries and order placement and 24/7 operations within the restaurant’s DNA. The restaurant also has vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. These strategies converge to highlight the restaurant’s commitment to offer high quality services that resonate with the clients.
Friend’s Kitchen mission is: ‘To offer a homely touch in every plate.’ Drawing from the experiences of its founders in New York City and other cities across the country, Friend’s Kitchen sought to offer a friendly eatery where people from diverse cultures can come and have their favorite cuisines and meals can be prepared and served. Customers have the chance to reconnect with culture or savor delicacies from other cultures in a friendly environment; from the comfort of their home or the restaurant in Bronx.
Short and Long Term Goals
In the short term, Friend’s Kitchen is committed to expanding its customer base within the larger Bronx Borough. Additionally, the management of the restaurant is committed to improve its bottom line through increased sales, broadening of product line to capture more clients from different cultures and streamlining operations to cut costs. The achievement of these short goals while form a benchmark for the restaurant’s ability to achieve its long term goals. In the long run, Friend’s Kitchen plans to open new outlets in other cities across New York and other states. Moreover, the restaurant seeks to open a franchise option for other entrepreneurs. The management of the restaurant plans to transform Friend’s Kitchen into a global brand with outlets and franchises in other continents. Specifically, the couple plans on opening outlets in Africa where the restaurant with share with the African market other cuisines from different communities from Africa, Americas, and Asia.
The business environment in which Friend’s Kitchen operates significantly affects its daily activities and overall success. These situational factors determine legal, environmental, technological, political and ethical issues and challenges that the restaurant faces. Additionally, they present unique opportunities that Friend’s Kitchen can exploit to achieve its long and short term goals. In this analysis, the restaurant’s macroeconomic factors will be analyzed using PESTLE; an analytic tool that focuses on political, economic, social and technological factors that affect business operations. PESTLE also analyzes the legal and ethical factors that businesses face.
- Political issues
The political environment and policy framework that affect the operations of Friend’s Kitchen are predominantly found in the state of New York and New York City in particular. Additionally, the restaurant’s political environment is also comprised of policy framework and political issues at the federal level. New York City’s political environment is very stable which is suitable for business operations. The state and city has business-friendly economic policies that facilitate growth and development of businesses. There are few regulations regarding entry of new businesses in the industry which may led to other economic issues including increase in competition due to mushrooming of restaurants and consequent stiff competition. The state and city of New York also have strict laws governing taxes and food industry that Friend’s Kitchen must adhere to.
The state has labor laws that govern the employment of minors and minimum wages. According to New York State Department of Labor, businesses with a maximum of 10 employees are mandated by law to pay a minimum of $13.50 per hour in wages as of 31st December 2018. This will increase to $15 by the end of December 2019 which is the current wage payable by companies over ten employees. These policies and frameworks are reflective of national political factors (Department of Labor, 2019). With long term goal of expanding to other states and international markets, Friend’s Kitchen was also be bound by regional and international laws. These international, federal and state political factors could potentially increase Friend’s Kitchen’s cost of operation while failure to implement these policies could lead to license cancelation, costly litigations, and discontinuation of product lines among other consequences.
- Economic issues
New York City is one of the world’s leading economic hubs bolstered by high population, cultural diversity, and a thriving business culture. The city is one of the world’s most populous and culturally diverse metropolitan area (Gleason, 2019). The unique demographics that make up New York City make it a suitable hub for a restaurant business specializing with authentic and culturally-themed cuisines. With their customer-centric business model, Friend’s Kitchen is primed to win over clients from different backgrounds and especially immigrants who are looking for cuisines that identifies with their culture. Additionally, the restaurant can pull in clients who are adventurers in their eating options or those are looking for take-outs and home deliveries. However, Friend’s Kitchen must contend with business cycles such as inflation and deflation which affect buyer purchasing power, operational costs and overall profit margins.
- Social factors
As a specialist in international cuisines drawn from different cultures in Bronx, New York City, Friend’s Kitchen operates within a social environment where multiculturalism plays a vital role. Cultural diversity is an important opportunity that the restaurant seeks to exploit. The cultural nostalgia experienced by immigrants offers the restaurant a unique avenue to develop and market their brand. The restaurant’s product line of international cuisines directly seeks to meet this need for an authentic, culturally-themed cuisines that are unique to different cultures. Moreover, diversification to healthy foods, take-outs, home deliveries, and vegetarian and non-vegetarian product lines is a strategic move aimed at tapping into the growing popularity of healthy and non-vegetarian eating habits and lifestyle. However, Americanization of eating habits especially in economic centers such as New York post significant challenges when it comes to uptake of international cuisines and healthy foods. It is not uncommon for a significant proportion of the population to opt for fast foods.
- Technological factors
Innovative technologies and technological advancements play a significant role in determining the profits margins and overall operational success of Friend’s Kitchen. In particular, new and emerging technologies such as social media platforms, supply chain management system, and payroll management systems all shape the restaurant’s operations on a daily basis. Menus can be accessed online in addition to making payments. These technologies offer new opportunities to streamline operations and cut cost through effective and efficient communication, human resource management and advertisement and product promotion. Order placement and delivery have also been digitized through an app and Friend’s kitchen’s highly interactive website. However, advanced technologies have inherent challenges including risk of information security breach and hacking. Such technological factor can lead to costly litigations and reputational damage in addition to paralyzing business operations.
- Legal and ethical factors
Some of the legal issues and developments that Friend’s Kitchen has to contend with is regulations and policies regarding health and safety, patents, employment, and competition. The restaurant must put in place measures and procedures regarding human resource management including workplace discrimination, equal opportunities and wages. Additionally, ensuring food safety is an important undertaking that builds reputation. Authenticity is critical in any restaurant business. Therefore, safeguarding patents and avoiding patent laws violation is a critical step towards ensuring competitiveness of the restaurant.
Legal factors also raise important ethical issues that build or damage the reputation of Friend’s Kitchen. Operating ethically will give Friend’s Kitchen a social license whose value will extend beyond Bronx or New York City. With aspirations to expand to others and incorporating franchising strategy into its model, ethical reputation will play a vital role in the restaurant’s expansion goals.
New York City boasts of a growing population immigrants drawn from all over the world. According to population estimates, the city is home to over 3 million immigrants speaking over 800 languages (Gleason, 2019). Additionally, the city is home to close to 20 million people making it one of the world’s most populous metropolitan areas (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d). This cultural diversity and large population offer Friend’s Kitchen a large market to sell their culturally-themed international cuisines. Affordability, diversified product lines including different cuisines and meal options such as non-vegetarian and vegetarian menus and use of technology are key strengths of the restaurant.
Friend’s Kitchen sources raw materials from different suppliers due to specialization in international cuisines. Without a centralized supply system, the restaurant has been forced to pay significantly higher prices for raw materials which increases their overheard cost. Such a supply system also comes with the inherent danger of last minute cancelation or unavailability of raw materials which can lead to operational challenges. With thousands of restaurants in the city and other areas focusing on cuisines, Friend’s Kitchen runs the danger of product duplication. A lack of uniqueness and authenticity is a turnoff while in cases where it infringes patent laws, it can lead to litigations.
With a customer-oriented approach to meal and cuisine preparations, Friend’s Kitchen has a unique opportunity to expand its product lines. Specializing in international cuisines provides a platform for endless possibility to give the clients an eating experience beyond their cultures and tastes and preferences. Moreover, the restaurant can expand its menu of non-vegetarian and healthy meals whose popularity is on the rise. Such market movements and operational model offer growth opportunities for the restaurant. Friend’s Kitchen is a relatively new brand with new products. This offers the restaurant an opportunity to improve product quality and expand to product lines to reach new market segments including an ever-growing middle class and millennial populations.
The relatively free entry into the market pose a competitive threat to Friend’s Kitchen. The restaurant business is already overcrowded. Coupled with increasing push for quality of meals and professionalism in the industry, Friend’s Kitchen faces a growing competition from new entrants and established restaurant chains. Uncertainties in future diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and other countries with large markets such as China can pose a threat to the restaurant’s expansion goals. Additionally, security risks associated with modern technologies including online order placement and payment post a threat to the business operations of Friend’s Kitchen.
In conclusion, Friend’s Kitchen is a new player in Bronx’s restaurant industry. The restaurant has sought to set itself apart from the rest of the competition through product differentiation, affordable pricing and product authenticity. The business environment in New York City, New York State and the United States in general is characterized by political, economic, social, technological, legal and ethical issues that provide challenges and unique opportunities for growth and development.
Department of Labor. (2019). Minimum Wage. New York Department of Labor. Retrieved from: https://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/workprot/minwage.shtm
Gleason, W. (2019 Mar. 11). “Citing its diversity and culture, NYC was voted best city in the world in new global survey”. TimeOut. Retrieved from: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/new-york-voted-best-city-in-the-world-in-massive-worldwide-survey-031119
U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d). Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2018 – Combined Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico – 2017 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk