Competing with the Chains

Do something crazy!


Cups of coffee in trashcan

Replace that Starbucks drink or Pizza Hut pizza!

Chains are a way of life. Starbucks, Caribou, Pizza Hut, Domino's - you name it, they will find a way to open in your town. There is a certain percentage of business that will be lost to them. Some people just like the mass produced food and knowing that they will get the same thing everytime. Even worse is that they will offer discounts and undercut your sales. They are bigger, better funded and able to swing their weight around more than you can. The one thing they can't do is move as quickly as you can or take risks like you.

People love to talk about buying local. We see it in the news, facebook, blogs etc. All of these "When you buy from a small business you are supporting. . . ." posts. Great - hold them to it! Make it so in their face that it's time to either put up or shut up when it comes to your hyper-local place.

Offer to replace any competitors drink or food for free for one day.
Even a couple hours if this scares you. Make a big show of throwing away the competitors drinks/food and giving your customer a replacement that is better. The key here is to plan it out and go really BIG with it. Call the news, local dining groups on social media, tell your customers, your friends and shout it from the roof top. You want EVERYONE to know that on TUESDAY you will replace every item brought in from a chain competitor completely free. Yes - FREE.

Can this be costly? Yes. Is it worth it? An even bigger YES.
You have to be smart about it. Get discounts on your products from your vendors to help offset costs. Market and advertise that as well. Drinks made with local milk or coffee. Food made with local cheese. From a marketing perspective, take pictures of every drink or food item being replaced. Make Tik Tok's, videos, Facebook posts etc of the whole event. Go on Facebook Live and ask people how much better your stuff is. You want to blow this up and be over the top. I'm serious about getting the news involved - 'Local small business bullies national chain' is a great headline!

Make sure you track the effectiveness through individual discounts - tracking those by brand in SelbySoft so you get data that helps you better understand the demographics of which competitors customers are more likely to jump ship the next time.
Is this a little dangerous? Pushing the envelope? Sure thing. Will it work? It has before. Besides, those pictures are social media gold.

Have something you have been noticing? Let us know.

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