I recently walked into a fast-food restaurant in Toronto that specializes in roti and dosa dishes.
But they aren’t a “roti and dosas” restaurant. They operate under two distinct brands, My Dosa Place and My Roti Place, even though they serve food from the same retail space.
The ingredients in dosas and roti are very similar. They both have lots of curry flavours and originate in India.
At the location I visited, there is one door but inside there are two separate cashiers, two separate food stations where they prepare your food, two separate menus, and two separate eating areas in the same retail space.
It makes you wonder why they didn’t just open a “roti and dosas” restaurant if that’s what they end up serving anyway. Why go through all the trouble of setting up two separate food stations and hiring more people if you own both businesses and operate them from the same place?
There’s a lesson about marketing here: when it comes to marketing, specialization is power.
People like knowing that the thing they are buying is high quality. In this case, customers are not buying from a generalist fast food place that makes everything. They’re buying from either a roti or dosa restaurant. They’re buying from specialists at each.
It’s not hard to imagine a fast food restaurant being able to make two good dishes under one brand. But there’s nothing remarkable about a company that sells roti and dosas.
It’s more remarkable to be a roti OR a dosa restaurant.
One is specialized, and therefore probably good at that specific category, and the other is generalist, and probably mediocre at both. Even though we know they’re the same company, the trouble they went through to create two brands and distinct experiences makes sense to me.
So my final takeaway is this: it’s okay to sell multiple things or to serve multiple markets, but it can be smart to do that under different brands if you can manage it.
Brand consolidation and diversification may seem more efficient, but to the customer, it can make you seem unremarkable at any one thing.
P.S. I discovered later that they also have My Meatball Place and operate it alongside My Roti Place at a different location.
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I recently walked into a fast-food restaurant that specializes in roti and dosa dishes.
Under separate brands.
In the same retail space.
There are marketing lessons in this.
A thread: 👇👇
— Kevin C. Whelan (@kevincwhelan) October 21, 2019