Monday, November 24, 2008

Market Research

My Mom was in town over the last 10 days. While she was here, I had her teach me how to make the items that I will eventually be selling. In addition to that, I had a bunch of friends over to do a taste test. I didn't tell anyone that this was a taste test or that I planned to start a business selling these dishes.

We cooked standard white rice. The way my Mom has always cooked it and of course the way I like it. The rise is moist unlike most of the dry rice you get at a Chinese food place. I'm not saying the dryer rice is bad, it is just different.

Next we cooked spicy chicken, then spicy ham and then spicy Pak Boong (Chinese Spinach). We didn't cook the spring rolls until my friends arrived, we wanted them to be crispy.

As far as I could tell, everyone really liked the food. Everyone that was present can handle spicy so none of them thought the food was too spicy. My plan was to offer both a mild and a spicy version anyway. I wasn't sure how well the Pak Boong would do, but it rounded of the dish well. The (not so) surprising hit was were the spring rolls.

I had an open discussion with my Mom and a couple of the friends that lingered. I asked their thoughts and what they thought of the whole idea and also for advice. The discussion mostly centered about what the "meal" i.e. the meal deal, would be and how much it should cost.

My initial plan was to have the meal be rice topped with meat and a drink for $7 and that's it. After the discussion and with the way I served the meal to my friends I think I will go with this:

Rice topped with either (chicken or ham) and pak boong will be the rice bowl. This will be $6.50 including tax. Customers can make it a "meal deal" by getting a drink (canned soda or bottle of water) and a spring roll and it will be $8.00 including tax. I think this is a fair price and we talked about the food costs and the numbers seem to "line up" i.e. covers costs and nets a profit.

There was also talk of a vegetarian version, but I'll hold off on that because I want to keep this thing as simple as possible. I know it is a niche market and when it happens, the vegetarians will be some of my most loyal customers.

Like I've said in my other posts too, this will be a boot strap operation, starting very small at a flea market "weekend only" venture. I have plenty more work to do, like deciding on which equipment I want to buy vs. what I need, I STILL need to check out the venues, but I've found some good information on 3 different places, plus I need to cook these dishes myself and find out how much I can actually have prepared before they are cooked. I think all of the prep work will be key when I first start selling these rice bowls.

I've also decided that I will take the jump and actually DO instead of just plan and talk about it in March. The last weekend in March will be my dead line to BE at venue selling my rice bowls.

No comments: