In all entrepreneurship projects the decision making principles ascribed to it will either make or break the potential business. Success in all ventures is determined by how well the venture is planned, what goals are set in the beginning, how it plans to run its operations and finally what are its plans towards mitigating risk.
For this venture, the Al Hallab restaurant chain, the chosen decision making principles is that of effectuation whose tenets are based on controlling the future through meticulous planning in situations where there is a certain degree of uncertainty. In this case the uncertainty is whether or not a restaurant that specializes in Lebanese food will be able to become a success in markets that are already inundated with various restaurants with the same theme.
The reason why Al Hallab is an effectuation entrepreneur can be determine due to these three factors:
Patchwork Quilt: The basic product of the restaurant is Lebanese food yet it had gained main stream popularity in various consumer sectors despite the availability of similar types of food in other restaurants. The patchwork quilt principle of effectuation emphasizes the creation of something new through existing means.
That is exactly what was done with the Al Hallab restaurant chain wherein the existing method of cooking Lebanese food was enhanced and brought into modern day mainstream consumption by modernizing its overall look and method of preparation as well as the ambience of the restaurant. As such the restaurant chain was able to discover a new way of achieving success by reinventing the way Lebanese food is consumed.
Affordable Loss: The concept of affordable loss can be described in terms of committing to a particular business plan with the intent of focusing on a particular consumer base and accepting that you will lose other types of customers. This can be seen is the emphasis of the Al Hallab restaurant chain on serving only Lebanese food. This means that it is forgoing the possibility of gaining other types of consumers by merely focusing on the type of consumers that enjoy eating Lebanese food.
Pilot in the Plane: The concept of the pilot in the plane revolves around the concept of people and service and being the prime drivers of business operations rather than trying to focus on external opportunities such as producing a particular product at time when it is in demand and continuously shifting production to different types of products as demand changes without ascribing to a particular type of product.
In the case of Al Hallab the focus is completely on the production and sale of Lebanese food despite the fact that it is losing consumers to other types of business with a more varied selection of products.
Problems that Need to be Addressed with the Venture
An investigation of the various areas near a particular Al Hallab restaurant reveals that on average the concept of a restaurant serving Lebanese food in locations such as KSA, Lebanon or Dubai is actually quite common. Al Hallab is not the only restaurant within a specific area that serves Lebanese food and at times it is not the most affordable.
There are various restaurants that serve the exact same type of food yet are able to do so at lower prices. While it can be argued that the ambience of Al Hallab is better than the other locations the fact remains that due to the recent financial crisis various consumers located within Dubai and Lebanon have started changing their buying habits into a more conservative route due to the economic uncertainty affecting local and foreign markets.
Combining the change in consumer behavior with the offerings of competitors near various Al Hallab restaurants presents a distinct problem that the venture must overcome in the near future if it is to stay in business.
In relation to changes in consumer buying behavior is a distinct change in consumer eating habits. As evidenced by recent reports on consumer buying behavior within the U.A.E. it can be seen that as of late consumers have been flocking to various fast food restaurants and establishments due to the convenience and affordability such types of food provide.
While it may be true that the areas such as KSA, Lebanon and Dubai have had a long history of consuming Lebanese cuisine the fact remains that due to pop culture influences people have been increasingly turning towards modern rather than traditional eating establishments.
What this means for traditional Lebanese restaurants such as the Al Hallab chain is that a growing percentage of its consumer base are starting to shift away from eating at the restaurant towards eating in other establishments that have a more “modern’ flare. Another distinct problem is the fact that as of late new generations of consumers do not have the same tastes as the older generation, as a result restaurants such as Al Hallab find themselves with an aging consumer base that may run out as time passes.
Poor Customer Service
While the quality of the food is unquestionable the level of customer service at Al Hallab leaves much to be desired. Various online restaurant review websites as well as general consumer opinion reveal that it is widely known that the customer service at Al Hallab is terrible.
This ranges from gruff unsociable waiters, inefficient staff, unanswered phone calls to a plethora of other similar types of behavior that are discourage people from continuously visiting the establishment. With other choices available in various other restaurants within KSA, Lebanon and Dubai the service at Al Hallab definitely needs to be improved otherwise the chain may lose customers to places with better customer service.
Possible Solutions to Indicated Problems
One of the first problems that the venture must overcome is the concept that an Al Hallab restaurant does not have good customer service. Various studies show that consumers pick restaurants due to a variety of choices however customer service ranks among the top reasons aside from ambience and the taste of the food. While Al Hallab does not have any problems in relation to the taste of its products the fact remains that its poor customer service skills is detrimental towards more people visiting its various locations.
Word of mouth goes a long way towards either promoting a business or causing it t close down due to bad press. Based on this one of the first steps needed to be done by the venture is to have all its employees undergo extensive customer services training in order to improve the quality of service of the restaurant and encourage more consumers to come to the restaurant.
The second problem that needs to be addressed is the changing tastes of the consumer market. Based on this what is needed for the venture is to possibly establish an extensive marketing campaign within a local area in order to encourage people to come and eat in the restaurant.
The third problem is the market saturation of similar restaurants offering the same type of food. In this particular case in order to properly establish a restaurant in a particular location a market analysis must first be conducted in order to ensure that there are few competitors within the general area and that if an Al Hallab restaurant were to enter into that particular area it would immediately become a success.