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Increasing Sales and Profitability at Pala Restaurant. Team F October 10, 2009. The Story. Point 1: Large number of companies to target in Central. Potential organizational customers for Pala. Source: HK Census Data. Point 1: The Local Workforce is Sufficiently Large.

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Team F October 10, 2009

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Point 1: Large number of companies to target in Central

Potential organizational customers for Pala

Source: HK Census Data


Point 1: The Local Workforce is Sufficiently Large

The population of people working in the is sufficient for supporting the restaurant.

Source: HK Census Data


Point 2: Pala can expand offering to attract more Customers

Desired offering for potential group customers

Source: Customer survey


Point 2: Pala can expand offering to attract more Customers

Desired offering for individual customers

Source: Customer survey


Point 3: Corporates have requirements when choosing a venue for events and Pala meets the criteria

What do you look for when considering a venue for a corporate event and how important is it?

Source: Consumer Survey


Point 3: Marketing materials should promote specific holidays that HK professionals celebrate with the office

The major holidays Hong Kong and the % of people who celebrates as an office:

Source: Survey of HK Working Professionals


Point 4: Customer expectations can be met by improving food quality and level of customer service

How Pala matches up to Customer expectations

Source: Customer Perception Analysis


Point 4: Respondents who have visited Pala will not visit it again in the future and would not recommend it to friends and family

“There are other restaurants to refer

before Pala like Al Dente”

“Was not that impressed.”


Point 5: Pala can add to their Menu selection to help them meet customer expectations of “an Italian Restaurant”

Source: Competitor Research


Point 6: Pala can improve the quality of quality of its food

“The Food was


“A chop does not

equal a rack of lamb”

“The bread wasn’t


The portions were far

too small

The Pizza has no

substance it needed

more cheese

Source: Focus Group


Point 6: Pala can improve its ambience




Photo PALA

Photo PALA

Photo PALA

Photo Competitor

Photo Competitor

Photo Competitor

Source: Competitor Analysis


Appendix: Interview Guide for Management

  • Interview with Joanne Leong at Pala restaurant, 6:30 pm, September 24
  • Build rapport, thank her for her time in advance, introduce new people to the team, explain that she is a very important resource and we would like to tap into her expertise and knowledge of the business.
  • Recap what we already know about their goals- to increase sales, build brand awareness…
  • Aside from the goals we mentioned, are there any other areas of improvement you would like to look at, any strengths you want to capitalize on?
  • Management Views:
  • On consumers:
  • Who is your target market? (there may be multiple potential markets) Please cite these and put in order of preference.
    • Could there be any tension between the different segments/demographics she is targeting?
  • In a few sentences, what is Pala’s UNIQUE selling point? Isn’t this their boutique Italian restaurant proposition? What is its competitive advantage?
  • Why do your customers choose to come to Pala rather than to your competitors?
  • Describe customer you would like to attract (e.g. businessman, family, age, local or expat, living close by,)?
  • Can you give us the stories of three typical customers that come in; name age background industry sector and the way the use the restaurant etc?
  • What is the profile of customer who currently come to the restaurant?
    • Do you see a lot of familiar faces?
    • Do a large number make reservations before coming?
    • Are they walk-ins?
    • How did they find out about the restaurant? (Was it through flyers? Word of mouth? Passing by?)
    • What %age of customers return after their 1st visit?
  • How do you think consumers perceive Pala restaurant?
    • How do you think they perceive food?
    • Location? Service? Ambiance? Price?
    • What has led you to think that that is how they perceive it?
    • Have you received customer feedback you could share with us?
    • Would you mind if we gathered separate independent customer feedback [at this stage perhaps seek consent in order to do the interviews etc?
  • Given that you would like to increase sales in the restaurant, what do you think are the best solutions?
    • Have you tried any before? if yes, did it work? if not, how do you think it will help?
  • On competition:
  • Who do you view as competition? (aside from restaurant across street)
  • Do you view competition as other Italian restaurants or all restaurants in the area?
  • How do you feel about restaurants in the rest of Central – Hollywood road or SOHO- do you view them as competition?
  • What are your competitors main strengths? In relation to these how do their customer offerings differ from your own?
  • How do you feel about location? Being on first or 2nd floor? What is advantage and disadvantage of being on 1st floor? What is advantage of being on 2nd floor?
  • What tactics are other 2nd floor restaurants taking to increase sales?

Appendix: Interview Guide for Management continued


How did the name Pala get chosen? Any meaning behind it?

Strengths/weaknesses of Pala?

What do you think is the best way to create awareness for the restaurant? What options can you explore within the building to build more awareness? E.g. Can you put a bigger sign? Could you put someone at reception downstairs?

What elements of change do you think would be automatically ruled out in any recommendations that we made?

Who designs menu? Both food choice and design of menu? Has the menu changed since opening?

What techniques are employed for improving the quality of the food/dining experience?

How are waiters trained? Do you give out manuals?

What sales tactics are employed? Are your waiters encouraged to sell certain items? Any tactic employed to sell wine/alcoholic drinks in any way?

Are your waiters incentivized to maximize sales or paid fixed salaries? How does this compare to competition?

Have you tried to get listed on restaurant review websites? Guidebooks? Do you think this is important in getting the name out?

Have you had any English spoken restaurant reviews?

What events have been held at Pala in the past?

Would you cater to host business meetings at the venue? Has it been done in the past?


What are the major financial goals set for the restaurant? E.g. sales growth target for the 1st year, 2nd year etc?

How are the staff judged? Do they have appraisals? What are their KPIs?

What are your KPI’s?

Ask if she would be will to share specific financial data as below. A range is ok.

Number of sales receipts per month, Total Sales per month in $, Weekday Sales per month in $, Number of weekday sales receipts, Weekend Sales per month in $, Number of weekend sales receipts, Total food sales per month in $,Total Alcohol/Wine sales per month in $

 Gross Margin for Food Sales in %,  Gross Margin for Alcohol/Wine Sales in %, Total Advertising (posters/flyers) Expense in $

Total Number of employees, Number of managers, Number of servers, Number of chefs, Number of kitchen staff


Appendix: Interview Guide Food Critic

  • Restaurant Critic Interview Guide
  • Interview with Joanne Baker, September 30
  • -Establish rapport; recognition that they are the expert in the field. They can really help. Thanks
  • -Determine time limits etc.
  • Broad intro: What are the key elements of a good restaurant?
  • Taking me through the whole dining experience what do you look for at each step as a marker of quality?
  • Using a chronological structure I’ve attempted to map the dining experience best as possible.
  • What are the main drivers behind each section, what are the hallmarks of quality, please cite examples of restaurants that do a particularly good job.
  • Choosing
    • What elements do you look at when choosing your choice of restaurant for personal dining?
    • What resources do you use?
    • For a new restaurant what do you think are the low hanging fruit for getting ‘chosen’ by a customer in HK?
  • Getting Reservations
    • What makes for a efficient reservation system?
    • Any novelties when you’ve made a reservation that have made an impact?
  • Entering
      • The Facade
  • What grabs your attention about the façade of restaurant
  • When a restaurant is not on ground level what things resonate with you to try it?
  • How would you optimise the street presence of a 2nd Fl restaurant?
      • Welcome
    • What do you expect in a welcome?
    • Can you recount the last time a welcome in a restaurant really resonated with you? Can you recap the key elements of this?
    • For a welcome to be memorable what would you do if you owned a restaurant?
      • Ambience
  • Given that our target demographic is x x x x; what things would expect to see in the following categories of ambiance?
  • Given the nature of the restaurant as a boutique Italian restaurant what would you expect?
      • Music
      • Decor
      • Lighting
      • Crowd

Appendix: Interview Guide Food Critic continued

  • Dining
  • Service
        • What are the main contact points between you and the waiting staff?
        • Go through these individually
        • Waiting staff knowledge 
  • Menu
        • appetizers, entrees , wine list, desserts 
  • The Dining Experience
        • Presentation
          • Table Layout
          • Wine glasses
          • Cutlery
        • Preparation
        • Freshness
        • Variety
        • Originality or conceptualization
  • Paying
        • Price
        • Value
        • Presentation of the Bill
  • Considering another visit
        • What are the key drivers and factors?
        • How have restaurants effectively managed to bring you back in?
        • Are there any restaurants that you’ve been to and were unimpressed yet returned to regularly? If so, why?
        • What makes good VIP card etc?
        • Other meals served--lunch brunch
  • Special events
        • What events that you know of are currently put on by restaurants?
        • Which have most impact?
        • Why are these successful?
  • Italian Restaurant Specific Questions
      • What specific elements things in all of these categories would you look for in an Italian restaurant?
  • Have you ever been to Pala Restaurant? If so go through the above…

Appendix: Interview Guide Person on the Street

  • Person on the Street Interview Guide
  • Interview with Random People in LKF, September 30
  • - purpose is to get insight what factors he/she considers in choosing a restaurant by walking by? Also to test awareness of Pala and get some suggestions.
  • -Establish rapport; introduce as a student conducting a study and that it shouldn’t take much of their time. Thanks
  • Choosing a restaurant
    • If you were looking for a restaurant to eat at in Lan Kwai Fong, what elements would you consider in choosing the restaurant?
  • If responses are not rich or specific try to probe as follows:
  • Does cuisine matter?
  • What would grab your attention about the façade of restaurant?
  • Does location matter? 1st vs 2nd floor? How?
  • Does price matter? How?
  • Does menu selection matter? How?
  • Would having a server call you in matter?
  • Would you respond to promotion i.e. discount coupon?
  • Pala Specific Questions:
      • While walking by did you notice there is a restaurant called Pala there?
      • What type of food do you think they serve?
      • Would you try it?
      • What would make you want to try it?
  • Ask if HK resident or not.

Appendix: Interview Guide Competition


Acquire a multi-angle picture about the restaurant industry in the area.

Learn how Pala’s main competitors operate and differentiate their business

See how other restaurant look at Pala

Interviewee candidate:

The restaurants located around Pala, especially Italian foods:

Tutto Meglio Sapore Fiorentino

Tuscany by H

Il Mercato

DiVino Wine Bar & Restaurant


Bistecca Italian Steak House




Make an appointment with one of candidates available

Introduce ourselves as MBAs undergoing marketing survey

Directory conversation

Ask for questions and suggestions

Thank-you note

Targeting issues:

Background and picture of the restaurant

The overall situation dining industry in LKF

Its marketing and business strategies: positioning, customers, promotion and strength

Who are their competitors and how to compete them

The prospects of LKF dining industry


Appendix: Interview Guide Consumers

Age: Gender: Occupation: HK local, Expat, Tourist:

How often do you eat out? ____ days a week ______ meals a day

What day of the week do you eat out? Have you eaten at Pala Italian Restaurant? 

When choosing a restaurant, how desirable is good customer service?

Undesirable -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Desirable 

When choosing a restaurant, how desirable is good food?

Undesirable -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Desirable 

When choosing a restaurant, how desirable is a nice ambiance?

Undesirable -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Desirable 

When choosing a restaurant, how desirable is a good location?

Undesirable -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Desirable 

When choosing a restaurant, how desirable are low prices?

Undesirable -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Desirable 


How likely is it that Pala’s food is good?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely 

How likely is it that Pala is in a good location? 

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely 

How likely is it that Pala’s has low prices?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely 

How likely is it that Pala’s ambiance is nice?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely 

How likely is it that Pala’s customer service is good?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely 


How likely is it that Tuscany’s food is good?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely

 How likely is it that Tuscany’s is in a good location?

 Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely

 How likely is it that Tuscany’s has low prices?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely

 How likely is it that Tuscany’s ambiance is nice?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely

 How likely is it that Tuscany’s customer service is good?

Unlikely -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 Highly Likely  


What resources do you use to pick a restaurant to eat in?

When you think of an Italian restaurant, what do you think of? 

When you think of an Italian restaurant in Hong Kong, what restaurant do you think of first?

How did you learn about Pala?  

If you had to choose between eating at Pala and eating elsewhere, where would that be? 

Would you recommend Pala to your friends?