I live in the Yardley, PA area in Bucks County, just North of Philadelphia. It is a convenient location as I have neighbors who commute to Philadelphia, other neighbors who commute to New York City, and others who work at home or in the general area.
In 2012 Yardley’s food and drink scene got a tremendous upgrade when the Cain brothers opened Vault Brewing Company. Vault operates out of a historic bank building (where it got its name). They brew their own beer and have a great menu built around a wood-fired oven. Vault created their own niche in Yardley, complementing two other establishments in Yardley with liquor licenses, the traditional bar/tavern (Continental Tavern) and the upscale restaurant (Yardley Inn). Upon opening, were immediately and continue to be packed. They established themselves immediately with good beer and food, but also a strong focus on service all within a great atmosphere.
When restaurants build a foundation like, this many owners decide that there is nowhere to grow. Their tables become constantly full, and if there is little competition, they begin to rest on their laurels enjoying the steady business. However, this is the opposite of what the brothers who owned Vault decided to do. Over the next five years, they set out and executed on three growth strategies that have enabled them to continue their growth beyond the limits of the number of tables they can turn. Specifically, they identified and executed on three key growth strategies: New Market Development, Market Penetration, and New Product Development.
New Market Development – Take-out Beer
Soon after they established the restaurant as a destination and people became fans of their beer, they made a pretty easy growth strategy decision selling their beer for take-out. While this decision could be seen as a New Product for an Existing Market (yes some of their local clients would buy take-out beer with their take-out food ) their big-growth came from tapping into the craft beer enthusiast market. With their reputation, and the reach of social media and craft beer websites they generated demand from craft beer enthusiasts around the region who would come to Yardley to buy their beer to-go (both in cans for their traditional selections and in refillable growlers, which are used for their rotating seasonal and special beers). They have even made an event out of the take-out beer with regular “beer release events” where craft beer enthusiasts line-up before they open to make sure they can get a growler of the new specialty beer. This focus on specialty beers has helped them grow enough affording them the ability to open a brewery facility outside of the restaurant to keep up with demand, ultimately enabling them to move into another market (the wholesale market).
Market Penetration – Restaurant Expansion
After years of consistent performance as a restaurant and bar, Vault had enough confidence to increase supply in their core product – the restaurant. Their former bank building was built on a hill, and the former bank's drive-thru lanes were on the lower part the hill. When they opened, and for the first few years, these drive-thru lanes sat idle. However, a couple of years back they started construction removing the drive-thru lanes and built a whole new bar with seating area that increased their capacity by 25%. Today, they also use it for private events, thus creating a New Market opportunity. With more capacity, they continue to be busy. There continues to be a wait on the weekends to get in, and private events often use the new space at times when it would not be full otherwise.
New Product Development – Artisanal Coffee
So, what do you do when you establish your restaurant with great customer service and atmosphere in a market looking for more options? You open another concept (product) that serves the same market. In the case of the Vault, they got into Coffee, which I now know is a trend with brewers (I guess the roasting and service aspects are similar) as evidenced by this NY Times article where The Vault and their new coffee shop Pretty Bird Coffee Roasters was profiled - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/dining/drinks/beer-brewers-coffee-roasters.html?_r=0
As you can see in that article, Pretty Bird serves Vault Customers, addressing a different need – coffee in the morning, beer in the evening. Just as there was a void in the restaurant scene, the only coffee options in the Yardley area were Starbucks, Wawa and Dunkin Donuts. For someone looking for an artisanal coffee or unique breakfast options other than the standard chain offerings, they had to settle until Pretty Bird came along. If your counting, Vault is three for three.
Just having the right growth strategies alone won’t make growth happen. In this story much credit must go to the Cain brothers as not only did they identify the right growth strategies, they had the ability to execute on them. As I live in Yardley and with the success they have had so far, I am excited to see what they do next.
Perhaps I should offer to take them through our Growth Strategy Action Workshop (https://www.inventisstrategies.com/gsaw.html) to help identify the growth strategies with the best odds of success, but for some reason, I think they are on top of this.
If you want to share an interesting growth strategy story with me, need help developing your growth strategy, or just want to talk craft beer and artisanal coffee with me, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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