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How Should I Analyze a Market?

I am looking to start a fast food restaurant. However, I don't know which type would be most profitable in today's market (ethnic, casual, etc.). Is there any way I can get an expert to assist with this decision? Or, how do I do this on my own? I would like to avoid spending money on an idea that is not going anywhere.
An easy way to do this is to look at all the categories of quick service/fast food restaurants in your area and see what isn't offered. Then, find out why.

Or, if you are offering something similar, determine what you are doing different so that you can create your own niche in the market.

Food service and restaurants can be tricky in terms of margins and profitability, and dependent on a number of factors including location, overhead, the systems you have in place to guarantee "quick service/fast food" delivery and the price points you can offer in your area.

There are a number of restaurant consultants who can work with you to see what could be possible in your particular market, however be wary about chasing the latest trend or "taste," as those concepts can fade as quickly as they seem to grow.

You can also test your ideas by starting small. Depending on what you're looking to do (and your background in food service, which I presume you have), you might be able to partner with a catering service to offer sample cuisines, or you may even be able to set up a food booth at a local outdoor market or similar type venue (depending on your local codes, laws and regulations) to see what types of food people want to eat and are willing to buy.

Whatever you do, never pay retail for your restaurant set up -- unless you are looking to buy into some type of franchise system -- as you can find great deals in this category for those who have gone before and who didn't do the type of legwork, research and market testing you need to do to see if your ideas are indeed viable.

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