Single item eateries. How do we feel about them? Is it really a sustainable business venture? Well unfortunately for those of you that have that one baked good or dish that nobody can top, like Nona’s Christmas almond cookies for instance, that she should totally like venture out into the business world with, it’s future is not looking too promising. Time and time again food novelties that turn into a one product business (and one hit wonder, if you know what I’m saying) have eventually failed and closed its doors.
Crumbs, for example, an adorable little bake shop that solely offered cupcakes for sale, went into bankruptcy auction back in 2014. You know what else I found? That the cupcake fad had died in 2014 (RIP cupcakes, you won’t be missed). Let’s be realistic here. How many cupcakes can one person buy when stopping by this shop? I mean mom likes cupcakes, dad likes Danishes and the bro likes donuts. But wait, I can only get cupcakes…at a bake shop. I need something for everyone! Exhausting (cue eye roll). Alike with Crumbs, the list of soup eateries in New York had also died down and were forced to close their doors because, surprise, the restaurants only offered soup. (Do these restaurants even count as restaurants if they only offer one type of menu item?)
These risky business ventures have a marketing strategy based solely to satisfy a mere fad. If a place is offering one item and one item only the business loses out on so much possible revenue and growth. Why didn’t Crumbs expand the product line into other deserts? Or why didn’t the soup eateries offer specialized breads or sandwiches? Remaining true to its main business endeavor of offering one specialized product can only satisfy or entertain consumers for a limited amount of time.
For this type of strategy to work I only see it being successful when the product or service is needed. Do I need cupcakes? (My waistline is saying no.) But really, I may want to peep inside the shop but will I return for more cupcakes after I saw what all the hype was about? Probably not. I dug a little further to see which one product businesses were successful and I found Michelin Tires, the mattress business, and Spanx. You can argue with me on this one but I find all three pretty necessary for life (Spanx is up for argument). Depending on the person, you probably use tires, a mattress, Spanx, or even all three in one day. Although consumers aren’t purchasing these products every day of the year, they are investments that may need to be replace 3-6 times in a lifetime. Are cupcakes and soup considered an investment? I hope not.
I basically see one product business failing unless it’s a necessity or investment for life. As a native Philadelphian I tried to relate to this article and all I could think was soft pretzels and cheese steaks (typical, I know). But even those businesses, that focus on one item, offer different options at its eateries. As for marketing strategy, product expansion is a must here. Skip the fads and focus on the real trends! Are the Salad Days Over for Single-Item Restaurants Like Crumbs? R.I.P. Cupcakes: The 6 Most Exciting Food Trends for 2014 Companies Built On A Single Product