Here are two stories of business model innovation.

On one hand, the sports bar that has enough introspection to realize that the 2002 to 2008 philosophy of sports, gang and fun wasn’t going to work past the financial crisis. The story doesn’t tell when they realized this but their transformation is underway. The CEO even acknowledges that if you don’t reinvent yourself, you die. They state that baby-boomers were predictable and newer generations aren’t. Their approach is to focus on better quality food, fresher and healthier. They also want to redesign the place to bring everyone into a single space with just a few big screens.

On the other hand is the anti-café, that seeks a new revenue model for the newer generation to come and work on projects. Instead of paying for what you consume (overpriced coffee), you pay for how long you stay (4Euros/hour). Oh and the best part is that the food and beverages are “all you can consume”. The journalist reports that there is a special ambiance in these anti-cafes where spontaneous collaboration happens and more importantly, there is no bad feelings from the baristas staying without consuming repeatedly.

What’s special about these two stories? Well they go back to the age old disruptive innovation teachings. The incumbents aren’t doing enough to attract non-customers. What they are doing to remain relevant is fine. But it’s not the newer generation that they will attract with more expensive food and simply rowdier crowds. They should look into what could make non-customers want to be a part of the sports bar scene. And for me, the biggest non-customers are the ones who don’t go there on a weeknight. Sure Saturday night hockey will fill the place up, but how do you get people to go there on a random Monday night? Or a Sunday morning? My suggestion: Create unique themes that generate a special experience. For low attendance Monday night, host sports themed single’s night and organize a speed dating in between the periods? How about a stats night, where you fill out a simple form and get real time results on your predictions versus every body else in the crowd? The best form of the marketing for those kinds of special events has to be… social media.

And now what’s special about the anti-café? Well the’ll be off to a good start because they’re original and everyone will want to try the quality of a “free” coffee. They will attract non-customers but will they keep them? Their challenge for business model innovation will be to make sure this revenue model works. What other sources of revenu makes sense? What other service groupings can they provide?

As they say in the restaurant business: “you’re only as good as your last meal”.

Source: La Cage aux Sports fait peau neuve | Jean-Philippe Décarie | Agroalimentaire



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