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How Brands Like Shuckin’ Shack Stay Afloat in a Saturated Market

In spaces as crowded as the full-service segment, brands need to do everything they can to stay ahead of the curve.

The full-service restaurant (FSR) segment is one of the largest and most prosperous industries in the country. With nearly 300,000 full-service restaurants in the U.S., FSR brands like Shuckin’ Shack are doing everything they can to stay afloat in a saturated market. 

Whether one is a new entrant to the industry, or even a brand that has been around the block, market saturation can prove to be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Still, a saturated market is a thriving market and business owners should look at it as an opportunity to tap into a flourishing demand. 

Here is how FSR brands like Shuckin’ Shack work hard to build their brand identities and cultivate effective differentiation to command a large share of the flooded market. 

Bring Something New to the Table

From the full-service segment to the fitness segment, brands need to focus on what advantages make them stand out against their competitors. 

“Differentiators are more valuable than ever,” said Shuckin’ Shack COO Bill Bartlett. “As branded content and social media reach more and more people, anything that establishes your brand as unique within a crowded market will position you for success. Customers need to have a reason to visit your local operation as opposed to the one down the street. ”

Shuckin’ Shack has prioritized the aspects of its model that makes it stand out, although, according to Bartlett, the seafood segment provides a built-in differentiator. “Seafood restaurants are unique within the FSR segment and oyster bars are even more up-and-coming,” said Bartlett. “Since that has always been a huge part of our business, we make sure to focus on providing the highest-quality product.”

While most brands have opted to utilize new innovations in restaurant technology, such as tabletop tablets and digital reservation managers, Bartlett explained that Shuckin’ Shack is more interested in honing in on its consistent customer engagement.

According to Bartlett, Shuckin’ Shacks’ strongest differentiator is its coastal atmosphere and lifestyle-centric approach. “Our customer engagement provides a more personalized experience, interacting with our guests in a relaxed, carefree way that is extremely rare in the full-service restaurant segment.”

Keep It Fresh

At a local level, the best way to penetrate a saturated market is to work towards customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers can be your biggest and best brand ambassadors, spreading the word and making sure the brand maintains relevance. Around 75% of customers claim that customer service is the truest test of a company’s success.

To maintain relevance and high customer satisfaction, Shuckin’ Shack is constantly upgrading its offerings and services. According to Bartlett, the seafood concept recently brought in a hamburger for the first time to ensure that customers have a range of lunch and dinner options. 

“Even with all of the experience of our founders and leadership team, we learn something new every single day,” said Bartlett. “Brands should be keeping up with the latest trends in their segment. Shuckin’ Shack looks to best practices when it comes to strong marketing and keeps an open mind when planning ahead.”

Maintain a Strong Franchising Opportunity and Infrastructure

Franchisors need to be able to provide their franchise candidates with industry-leading support, training and operations if they hope to stand out. By positioning franchisees for success, franchisors cultivate stronger brand awareness, streamlined operations and the opportunity for scalability.

“The Shuckin’ Shack franchising model sets itself apart by providing hands-on training for operators, emphasizing personality and passion over simple, paint-by-the-number rules,” said Bartlett. “We are not interested in telling franchisees exactly what to do, which allows each and every operation to adopt a specific, localized atmosphere. This process creates a differentiated model within the full-service segment as a whole and the local markets as well.”

While there is no guaranteed recipe for success in the full-service segment or any industry, all brands should be asking themselves how they stay ahead of the competition and stand out in the crowd. 

“The number one factor for me will always be consistency,” said Bartlett. “If a brand has proven to be successful in the past, or even if it is new, maintaining consistency in your product and service will help you stay afloat in the rising waters of a crowded market.”

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