Suzanne Drolet – Marketing Perceptions Critical Essay

Introduction:
Suzanne Drolet is the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in a city with a lot of senior citizens. These senior citizens have become regular customers at the restaurant. They come in for the senior citizen breakfast special and stay till late afternoon, with coffee refills being free. So, even though they stay there from breakfast to lunch, they only order the breakfast special and get refills of coffee. Suzanne likes them, they are all very friendly and clean customers. The restaurant isn’t facing any crowding issues either as there is more than enough room for them and the other customers. However, Suzanne is worried about the future of the restaurant.
Problems:

In my opinion, Suzanne is right to be worried about the future of the restaurant. First and foremost, her fears that the restaurant might be labelled as an ‘old people’s’ restaurant by the younger generation is correct. If they younger generation starts to percieve the restaurant as a place for old people, they will stop dining at it and look for substitutes. Secondly, although the senior citizens are nice and friendly to the customers that come and go, the ambiance of the place is severly misleading for the younger generation. If the place has an old person home feel to it, then less and less people will go there.
Simply because the restaurant itself is positioning itself as a place for older people to hang out. Thirdly, the restaurant will lose a great amount of its sales in the future if the seniors keep doing what they are currently doing. This is simply because they don’t order food the same way ordinary customers do. They come in for the breakfast special and get free refills of coffee. Furthermore, if the group of seniors that come in keeps growing in number, it might lead to a crowding issue. The restaurant might sooner or later run out of space to accommodate everyone. People might start to avoid the restaurant because of that.
In addition, the employee and customer relationship might become stronger and stronger as more time passes by which would make taking a drastic decision harder in the future. Even if Suzanne does make a tough choice, she will become unpopular with the rest of her staff. This can result in the drop of the worker’s morale.
Solutions:
Suzanne can manipulate the promotions to dictate when the seniors come in to the restaurant. She can change the breakfast special from everyday to weekdays only. This would reduce the number of seniors that come in on the weekends which is when the majority of the younger generation goes out. Whereas on the weekend she can put up special discounts for students to bring them in to the restaurant. She can also remove the free coffee refills or limit them somehow to reduce the time the seniors spend in the restaurant. Suzanne can also hold special events for the younger generation to attract them to the restaurant.
She could turn up the ambiance of the place by holding karaoke nights or open mic nights. This would attract customers and change the feel of the place. If these simple steps do not help, then Suzanne will have to take drastic steps to save her restaurant. She may have to completely get rid of the senior specials such as the breakfast special and put a restriction on how long people can sit at the restaurant without ordering food. These would make the restaurant and the employees very unpopular with the senior citizens of the area.

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