In a fast-moving and highly competitive business environment, how do business survive through these challenges? Rachel Cooper and Mike Press answered that, ‘well-managed strategic design is correlated with good company performance’ (p.137).
This project involved rigorous research to investigate how design strategy can be implement in a newly established Thai fine dining restaurant located in Lancaster, United Kingdom.
Understanding the business:
- Desk research to a brief understanding into the restaurant, and its environment.
- Attain knowledge into current eating trend in the UK and food service sector.
- Gather customers online review about the restaurant.
- Face-to-face interview with the restaurant owner, waitresses and business competitors.
Understanding the needs of customers:
- Observe customer who dine in the restaurant
- In-depth interview with new customers, loyal customers, as well as customers who have drawn negative insights about the restaurant to recognize their dining experience.
SWOT Analysis was used to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the restaurant from the insights gathered.
Due to the nature of the business that highly involves interaction with the customers, Service Blueprint was used to draw and in-detail service interaction. From the Service Blueprint, the weak and fail points throughout the service interaction between customers and the staffs of the restaurant was recognized.
By using the competitor analysis, the Thai restaurant was put into comparison with other restaurants in Lancaster.This analysis reveals the gap – potential opportunities, in the market where the restaurant may be possibly position.
Based on the analysis the future direction of the restaurant was clearly defined.
After the insights were analyzed, the information was clustered.
Challenge 1: Weak service touch-points
Challenge 2: Highly competitive market environment
Potentials: Customer experience as part of the business offerings
The strategic goal of this project is to position the Thai restaurant as an upscale and fine Thai Cuisine restaurant that provides quality and the true taste of Thailand in Lancaster.
Personas were created to concentrate on the needs of customer and to establish empathy when designing.
Design strategy phases
Understanding the fact that the restaurant is newly established, the plan of action was spread out into 3 stages in the time frame of 5 years. This is due to the lack of resources while introducing new elements to the business requires – time, money, staff training and etc.
Phase 1: Service delivery with higher effectiveness
This stage aims at solving fundamental service faulty to improve service effectiveness, reduce customer complaints and to gain popularity in Lancaster.
Phase 2: Stronger market positioning
Enhancing its brand identity will help the business to create strong brand presence in the competitive business environment as well as bringing coherence to the business identity.
Stage 3: Delivering the true taste of Thailand (experiential)
The purpose is to reflect their exclusivity and at the same time building brand loyalty among the customers.