Map your today and reveal your tomorrow. A restaurant industry example.

Map your today and reveal your tomorrow. A restaurant example.

Taking a look at where one is today is extremely important. In Blue Ocean Strategy, the As-Is Strategy Canvas is a great tool to gauge where you are in the context of key competitive factors. It’s hard to modify something that works. When a dish sells okay and makes money, it can be difficult to change it. 

It’s important to remember this extremely vital truth. Market share is a lagging indicator. Yes. Meaningful but not the entire story. Think of all the market leaders that existed in the automotive industry in the 60s. It wasn’t long before leading automakers were getting their butts handed to them. Kodak used to lead in film. So what right? In today’s market, market share leadership has been completely upended.

There has never been a more important time to review where your offering is in the context of vulnerabilities.

There are three Blue Ocean Strategy concepts that need to be explained. These distinctions will help you plot your offering or service in the right spot on the Blue Ocean Strategy tool called the Pioneer-Migrator-Settler Map.

Defined in the book, Blue Ocean Shift/Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth

  • Pioneers are businesses or offerings that represent value innovations. They don’t necessarily have customers; they have fans. They offer unprecedented value that opens up a new value-cost frontier. These businesses or offerings hold the key to renewal and future health of the bottom line or whatever your successful measure of success happens to be.
  • Settlers are the opposite extreme. These businesses and offerings deliver value imitation. They make incremental changes to an offering or its price. Their strategy mirrors the industry in which it lives. Unless the industry itself is growing and profitable, settlers have little or no likelihood of growth. Think cash cow with sacred cow bread into the mix.
  • Migrators lie in the mix of the two. They represent value improvement over the competition and perhaps are occasionally best in class. However, they do not offer innovation or innovative value.

Let’s take a look at an example. This particular example is inspired by an innovator in NY. Junzi Kitchen

   This Planet Money podcast details the Junzi story.

Junzi Kitchen Screen Grab

If you click their link or pay attention to the nav menu on their site, you’ll notice some immediate differences from the traditional restaurant site. Especially ones that are considered smaller operators. Junzi is in 5 locations. Ownership however has built its systems for scaling to 1000 locations.

Map your today and reveal your tomorrow. A restaurant example.

Look at the current offerings. To some degree, these changes were new innovations as of mid-March 2020. Listen to the podcast to hear the entire inspirational story. The owner isn’t saying it is easy but he had people on the ground in China telling him how things were going down and he ACTED on the necessary innovations. Now he’s expanding instead of retreating.

  • Share a meal
  • Distance dining
  • Family Meal
  • Online Ordering

In terms of Blue Ocean Strategy and the PMS Map, let’s take a look.

PMS MAP Junzi Kitchen

In the Pioneer – Migrator  – Settler Map note that the larger the object the more revenue is associated with that object.

Most establishments are in the settler area.

Why not. Up to this point they didn’t feel pressure to innovate. Or innovation was defined as technical systems, customer experience, menu and drink options, etc. Settlers offering classic value imitation.

Restaurants and bars are now being forced into delivery and take-out. Some have made the transition to take-out but they weren’t defining their value-innovation path with that offering. Now their hand has been forced. This is the migrator or value improvement arena.

Junzi launched with a ghost or take-out kitchen seeing the future of delivery. He has intelligence coming from China and knows the path virus forces companies to take. He seeks to leverage the Pioneer path and deliver value innovation in advance. He’s remained open in some of the most expensive real estate in the world and still sees a growth trajectory. This is the pioneer offering and in Junzi’s case the pioneer value-innovation arena.

Map your today and reveal your tomorrow. A restaurant example.

I’ve included what I see as a possible future of dining in restaurants. Private clubs or private dining buyouts where legislation allows the forbearance of social distancing as long as participants opt-in and sign hold-harmless agreements, digital of course. This could all be done online.

They pre-pay and for the most part, know they are in the company of like-minded patrons or diners. The dining out experience in the future will be far more planned, ticketed in advance, and scheduled.

When plotting your business or offering on the Pioneer-Migrator-Settler Map follow these steps. Map your today and reveal your tomorrow. A restaurant example.
  1. Identify the key products/services in your portfolio.  Choose some team members to participate. Open your mind and allow them to bring their colleagues or employees.
  2. Identify, HONESTLY, what offerings are pioneers, migrators, and settlers. Obviously, provide all participants with definitions. Don’t assume they know. You’ll find some haters defending pioneer status because their offering is the company’s most innovative offering. Sorry, call BS on that. It means you’re too inwardly focused.
  3. Plot your portfolio on a PMS map. I’ll soon be delivering a course on use of a specific software tool that makes plotting and facilitating Blue Ocean Shift much easier. You can schedule a complimentary 30-minute call with me and I’ll assist. 
  4. Assess and discuss your PMS map. The conversations may be heated. Remember, the goal is to bring balance. If you’re a company doing nothing by Pioneer work, you may be out ahead of your skies so to speak, and not generating revenue as desired. If you’re too heavy in Settler territory, you may be a cash cow ripe for destructive innovation by a competitor.

If you have any questions about this tool or process, you’re not alone. I’m taking several calls a week to discuss Blue Ocean Strategy and its tools with various companies. I’m doing free one hour calls discussing all things Blue Ocean. Hell, most of us have the time right! Schedule your time here. I’m truly interested in your business. 

Sherman G. MohrSherman G. Mohr is an Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute Certified Blue Ocean Strategist residing in Nashville, TN. He serves as co-founder of Shared Spirits Marketing, a marketing and tech firm serving the spirits, wine, and hospitality industries.