Just 5 minutes away from the bustle of Nadi International Airport stands a car wash joint – but it’s not washing cars that makes it so special – it just so happens it also serves the best fish and chips in Fiji.
Now, had my father in law not taken me there, I wouldn’t have thought twice about pulling in to sample its delights, not only for logistical reasons but also because I would never have expected a fish and chip shop to live in such a location – it was covert, to say the least.
Initially, what caught my attention most about the place was the fact that they only served fish and chips. No salmon, calamari or oysters for that matter – just fish and chips. Pure simplicity.
For the price of $10, you can grab yourself a combo meal that comes with four succulent Walu fillets, a mountain of fries, a sprinkling of salad, condiments, and a drink – the only choice you need to make is whether you’d like it battered or breadcrumbed.
It wasn’t long before I was salivating: the fish itself was light, tender and cooked to perfection, and the batter provided a deliciously crispy casing (the perfect match). Unlike most batters I’ve experienced, this mix wasn’t too floury, it didn’t fall to pieces and the flavour didn’t override the freshness of the Walu fillets.
There was no messing around either. The food literally came out within 5 minutes, and we devoured it within 20 – quick, cheap and most importantly, it was tantalisingly delicious.
I was so blindsided by the quality, and indeed size of the meal, that I had to chat with the owner to find out what makes his fish and chips triumph over the many swanky resorts and high-end restaurants on the island.
His reply, “the secret is in my flour recipe” (watch out Colonel Sanders). Oh, and by the way, he goes through 400 to 500 packs a day!
So this got me thinking: why don’t more businesses focus on fewer things, or in the case of Fiji’s best fish and chip shop, just one thing – and do it bloody well?
Many businesses suffer from casting out too wide a net
You’ll have to pardon the pun, but it’s true – so many of today’s businesses spread themselves too thin, rather than specialising in a smaller, more targeted area of expertise. After all, you can’t be everything to everyone; that’s just a fact of life.
Okay, maybe if you’re a major player in your industry (a big fish), this is something you can come close to achieving. For most, however, offering too many choices can hurt their business in the following ways:
A Lack of Focus
With limited capital and resources, smaller businesses can only be exceptional at a few things. Sometimes business owners get carried away with not having a particular item when the odd customer asks for it, and as a result, will invest in making it available. Doing this distracts them from their core business.
For example, if you have the best pastry chef in town and a few patrons come through asking for fish, should you really accommodate these requests and compromise your brand?
The best way to grow is by selling a small number of related items and expanding once you’ve hit your desired profit levels. Besides, it’s easier to personalise an effective sales and marketing strategy when fewer products or services are involved.
Curbing the Sales Cycle
It’s simple. If you give your customers too many choices, you’ll end up confusing them (and possibly yourself in the process). Think about the last time you walked into a restaurant that offered pizza, Asian cuisine, grilled meats, sushi and pasta all under one roof. It’s not really the best concoction. In these cases, it takes the average customer a much longer time to order their food because of the wide variety of choice; they will also have a tendency to buy less when confused by all of the options – some of them may even decide against ordering altogether. Essentially, when a small business narrows down the choices it offers a customer, they will buy more quickly.
In today’s fast-paced world, consumers get stressed out by too many choices. Simplicity and specialisation seem to be the key to business success, and that little-known fish and chips shop near the airport is a fine example of that.
What about your business? Are you giving too many choices to your customers? You know, it might be worthwhile carrying out an analysis on the products with the highest sales and profit margins – once you have identified the heavy hitters, you can think about removing the rest to simplify your value proposition. By doing so, you will save both time and money while improving your bottom line.