How brand consistency and a comprehensive plan for growth
positioned a Muskegon staple for long-term success.
After managing the family’s iconic Pizza Tavern for several years, Ted Fricano opened his own restaurant, Fricano’s Muskegon Lake, in 1999. The award-winning family recipe for pizza and old-world charm proved to be as successful in Muskegon as it was in Grand Haven and Fricano’s Muskegon Lake became a staple in the Muskegon restaurant scene.
After 10 years of success, Ted Fricano increased his investment in Muskegon by purchasing the building in which Fricano’s Muskegon Lake was located, the Hartshorn Center.
…the new businesses were fragmented,
offering a wide variety of services
to diverse target audiences.
The four-story building offered the opportunity to greatly expand the Fricano business footprint. By 2011, two new rental venues were launched on the second floor – the Fricano Event Center and Stewart Hartshorn Suite. Commercial office space on the third and fourth floors was updated and leased to new tenants. Meanwhile, Ted was ready to renovate the first floor and open yet another new business.
The challenge Ted faced was the lack of an organized plan for moving forward. Although they were located within one building, the new businesses were fragmented, offering a wide variety of services to diverse target audiences. Staff members were engaged and regularly offering many ideas to spur business growth. Ted knew he needed a plan, but “didn’t know where to begin.”
Ted was aware of Paula Kendra’s expertise in strategic planning, branding, and marketing. He also wanted to leverage her years of corporate experience at Herman Miller to help him create a solid staff structure to manage the increasing workload. Together, Paula and the Fricano team employed the following process to create a strategic plan that addressed all areas of the business.
First, Paula met with key Fricano’s Muskegon Lake team members to assess the current situation and identify the target markets and competitive sets for each of the Fricano businesses.
VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT DEVELOPMENT
Next, Paula and Ted developed the organization’s vision as well as a mission statement for each business, identifying its purpose and how it supported the overall vision.
STRATEGIC PLAN DEVELOPMENT
Last, the full Fricano team met to identify, analyze, and prioritize potential growth strategies within a strategic plan. Meausurable goals were established to drive growth and operational efficiency. The primary goal was to rebrand the Hartshorn Center in order to leverage the Fricano brand more effectively. The plan also included a new organizational chart which identified staff structure and reporting relationships with the goal of improving efficiency.
The comprehensive strategic plan brought focus and structure to the organization. The team now had a vision for the future and a roadmap for making that vision a reality.
“I feel like I have [a] cohesive business with very successful branches. Expansion is much easier because I have the foundation that has been laid so well.”—TED FRICANO, FRICANO PLACE
With implementation of the plan, and ultimately rebranding of the building as Fricano Place, sales increased significantly. Coordinated marketing efforts led to customers patronizing multiple businesses throughout the building and developing a deeper connection to the Fricano brand.
Ted and the Fricano team have continued to use the structure established in the strategic plan to continue to grow the reach of the Fricano brand. According to Ted, “We still use the tools introduced in 2012 today. I feel like I have [a] cohesive business with very successful branches. Expansion is much easier because I have the foundation that has been laid so well. Opening Ted’s (a Spring Lake restaurant) was so much easier than Fricano’s Muskegon Lake.”
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