Should you open a mobile or brick-and-mortar pet grooming business?

Setting up a grooming business is something many passionate animal lovers aspire to do. There are two distinct ways the business can be started. Each type of business has its advantages in comparison to the other.

The advantages of a mobile pet grooming business

Lower up-front costs to make it easier to get started

One huge advantage a mobile groomer possesses is saving capitol. Buying or renting a space to groom these adorable creatures can put a big dent in the wallet. Maintaining those costs is where the payments really start to hurt. A mobile groomer needs their equipment and a van and they are ready to begin their journey as a small business owner. On the contrary, rent, electric, and water bills are a few costs that a brick-and and-mortar business must sustain on a monthly basis. This puts a much added pressure in consistent sales.

Pet owners crave convenience

Let’s face it; people are just busier and lazier these days. Maintaining a pet’s hygiene is a very difficult task to keep up with. I have a Pitbull named Ricky. I run around outside with Ricky every night for at least a half hour. After some time of playing fetch and horsing around, Ricky is covered in mud and dirt. By the time I get home I am too tired to give Ricky a bath. Now if I have the opportunity to sit on the couch, go on my smartphone, and find a trusted groomer to pay us a visit, that is exactly what I am doing.

Cover more ground – and a bigger market

As of 2015, there are roughly 80 million homes in the US who possess a pet. The market of a brick-and-mortar groomer is typically confined to the local demographic and a few travelers. The physical location may limit the reach of the business. A mobile pet service has the capability to travel, target specific markets, and work within a broader radius.

The advantages of a brick-and-mortar grooming business

coco the pup with groomers
coco the pup with groomers

Pet owners also crave legitimacy

Comfortability is one of the most important factors in choosing someone to take care of your dog. A dog is truly a man’s best friend and a member of the family. As a dog owner, I consider my pet as one of my closest companions. I would never put Ricky in the hands of a stranger whom I don’t trust. Having a brick-and-mortar business indicates that this person has put a lot of time and money into doing something they are passionate about.   As a pet owner, a groomer with a physical location gives me a greater sense of comfortability.

One location means a stronger online presence

Having a physical address is essential in establishing a successful online presence. A small business owner must have a brick-and-mortar location to give their business the best chance at being picked up by the sites where people are searching for pet groomers. Having a map marker can help a business get discovered in local searches, which have increased in frequency over 34X in the past few years. If a mobile pet service wants to improve its search engine optimization (SEO) and combat this disadvantage, it must ensure that their online presence is frequently kept up with and accurate.

The Internet: The new word of mouth

Acquiring customers through word of mouth or referrals by veterinarians were thought to be the only way a groomer could expand its clientele. Now it’s 2015. Referrals and word of mouth have evolved into online reviews and social likes & shares. Google did a study and found that 49 percent of local searches for a small business occur without a specific business in mind. This means half of your market is word of mouth and the other half is doing a blind search on various sites. People are getting new pets every day and moving around the country. This means groomers have the potential to constantly acquire new clients. The significance of an established online presence not only allows for these potential clients to feel more comfortable, but it gives your business the best shot of steady growth.

4 tips to increase restaurant sales this holiday season

With October coming to an end, it’s time for restaurants to start preparing for their busiest time of the year. Here are some quick tips to keep your sales up during this holiday season!

Boost gift card sales to add to next year’s revenue now

Promoting gift cards is a great way to extend holiday sales after the New Year. On average, 72% of customers spend more than the value on the gift card. Gift cards are a quick and easy purchase for a friend or family member that can drive someone back into the restaurant soon. Restaurants can promote their gift cards by keeping them on the hostess stand, marketing them through social media, or sending out newsletters.

Add seasonal menus

holiday menu board

The holidays are a time of indulging, and consumers have different eating and spending habits that restaurants can capitalize on during November and December. According to US Foods, at least one third of diners say they seek out seasonal menus during the winter holidays. Adding warm stews or fall spices is an easy way to make your menu a little more festive. Consumers are also more likely to treat themselves during the holiday months so don’t be afraid to add some delicious desserts and holiday–themed drinks!

Promote holiday catering orders

Whether it’s a work event or family get-together, consumers are planning parties in advance and it is vital for customers to be aware of your catering menu. The customers could be interested in purchasing a few menu items to compliment a home-cooked meal to a full service-catering package for an upcoming event. Whatever the case may be, posting your catering menu on all the top social media sites, as well as your own website, will help advertise the catering menu this upcoming season.

Plan Ahead

Remember, these upcoming months may be the busiest time of the year and we want to make sure your customers have the best experience possible. Be sure to plan according with the appropriate number of staff and preparing high-quality food. In order to keep people coming back, make sure they leave happy customers! SinglePlatform makes menu updates and social promotion easy for the holidays.

Infographic: Fit Food Guide for Local Restaurants

Just a couple days ago, I found myself in an all too familiar online ordering dilemma. My boss was holding a lunch meeting and put me in charge of ordering the food. Before I could even pull up my Yelp app, I was bombarded by emails with two types of requests: healthy and unhealthy. “Just order from the deli downstairs; they have salads,” my colleague non-nonchalantly suggested. He didn’t understand. As any health conscious consumer knows, a garden salad simply does not cut it today. While I commend any restaurant for offering healthy options to their customers, it’s 2015 and no one wants to eat a bed of lettuce or a plate of steamed vegetables. In order to cater to healthy eaters, it’s time for restaurants to get a little more creative.

Functional foods

Today, consumers are more educated than ever on what to look for when maintaining a balanced diet. A whopping 72% of consumers reported that they’re more likely to visit restaurants with healthy options on their menus. But what exactly are these consumers looking for? Today, healthy eaters are looking for functional foods. Functional foods are those that reduce disease and promote health and weight loss. Today, 36% of consumers are specifically interested in high-fiber foods like Brussel sprouts and black beans. 32% of consumers are interested in high protein foods like Greek yogurt, grilled chicken and salmon.

Functional Foods_infographic Functional Foods_infographic

Taste matters too

To the parents who have spent decades begging their kids to eat their green beans and restaurant owners who take pride in the flavors they serve, there is a tastier way to eat healthy. Here are a few food trends to pay attention to:

Breakfast & Brunch: There is nothing worse than finding that the only healthy option on a breakfast menu is a sad fruit bowl. Even worse, receiving a bowl full of tasteless fruit that isn’t enjoyable or filling. Smoothies and Acai bowls are a tasty alternative that allow diners to pick and choose their fruit combination. Take it a step further by offering veggie & protein additives (like kale & almond butter) and creative toppings like coconut & granola. Smoothies are also a great item to offer on a lunch or snack menu.

avocado egg sandwich_small avocado egg sandwich_small

Lunch: As I touched on earlier, healthy eaters are continuously disappointed with lunch menus that force us to choose between hearty calorie-packed sandwiches and dull lifeless salads. One solution: Avocado. America is obsessed with avocados and even better, they have endless health benefits. Try adding something like avocado toast to the menu: mashed avocado & olive oil spread on whole wheat toast with optional toppings like tomato or red pepper flakes. Also, adding delicious protein-heavy foods like avocado, hummus, or hard-boiled eggs are a simple way to bulk up a salad.

Dinner: High protein, low carb entrees are trending. Pair a protein like roasted chicken or grilled salmon with a low carb side like quinoa or lentils and you’ve got yourself a top selling entree. If you’re including veggies, stay away from steamed vegetables and basic side salads. Today, consumers are loving veggies like eggplant, beets and cauliflower, paired with low-fat cheeses or toasted nuts.

For more awesome ideas, visit one of my favorite blogs: Clean Food Dirty City, or share your favorite healthy food blogs on our Facebook page or tweet us @SinglePlatform. And for more stats on what diners are craving now, check out another of our great infographics.