I experimented with savory, sourly, or even sweet and not just the hot taste of Mexican Food during my first trip to Mazatlan, Mexico. I was full of joy to taste exotic flavor for about a week with cool breeze from ocean while listening to cheerful Mexican music. It was good enough to consider applying to Koreans who enjoys spicy and strong taste and sweet scent. I wished that I could bring this live and full atmosphere to Korea. Just imagine Burrito that wraps beans and beef up with Tortilla, Tacos with sweet and sour Salsa, and crunching Nachos with cheddar cheese and you could try these flavors and hear the music of Mexico right hear at Sookmyung Women’s University!
During the spring semester 2007, students in the Small Business Management class instructed by Professor Dr. Mbuh Rebecca, conducted research intended to study the environment of businesses around Sookmyung Women’s University. The study also included the purpose of finding new business opportunities through this research. Students interviewed entrepreneurs and Sookmyung students who are the actual major direct customers to these businesses.
It seems that students prefer low prices as opposed to higher prices, even when the quality of the product or environment of the restaurant is high. Forty-five percent of the respondents answered that they are willing to pay up to 3000 won, while the other forty percent replied preferring up to 5000 won per meal. Only three percent of the respondents indicated they would pay up to 13000 won for a meal. Those three percent were not only considering the price, but the taste as well in addition to regarding and balancing the price at the same time.
On the question of the most important factor in deciding where to eat, eighty-five percent of students surveyed thought that taste was the most important factor in choosing where to eat, but only ten percent put price first. Surveyors asked a question regarding a business’s location. Forty five percent of the respondents said that they were willing to go as far as around Bbanggumteo from school, about eighty meters from main the gate, and they wouldn’t consider the location in their decision-making if the restaurant is located this far. Forty percent said that they would go up to around Kim Bob Heaven, a closer distance from school as compared to Bbanggumteo’s proximity to Sookmyung. Interestingly, only twenty-five percent of respondents had an intention to try a new restaurant but seventy-five percent preferred to stick to restaurants they usually visit.
Students also handed out questionnaires to entrepreneurs. The questionnaire asked the owners the degree of their satisfaction with their businesses. Twenty percent of them were highly satisfied, fifty percent were somewhat satisfied, and twenty percent were not satisfied at all. The responses reflect the fact that not all businesses succeed in the big market of a college environment. Seventy-nine percent of the owners said that the most attractive business element is food. In addition, entrepreneurs answered the question that asked about the factor that causes failure of business. Fifty percent of owners thought that the lack of managerial skills was responsible for the failure of a business in the long run. To maintain the business stability in the long term, improved relationship with the customers and strategies for penetrating its market are required to be successful.
Based on this survey results and taking the environmental trend into consideration, students in the SBM class came up with the idea of a new restaurant that would not only meet customer’s tastes and needs, but also bring other unexpected elements to the table as well. They assumed that they are going to open a business and in order to accomplish this, students proposed a business plan for a Mexican traditional restaurant by offering not only exquisitely served food, but also by creating a whole new culturally exemplified environment to catch both the eyes, ears, and the mouths of the targeted customers. In our opinion, features of Mexican food with flavoring similar to Korean food, lower cost of materials, lower price, variety of food selection, ability to take-out food items (burritos and fajitas), and elements from the flamboyant and exotic Hispanic culture would meet the adequate taste of flavor of the customers at Sookmyung. This new introduction would certainly attract their interests to make them come once and come regularly.
Also, students thought that MUSUBI’s location would be the best place to position their restaurant. The place is centrally located at the two-way meeting point entering Sook-Dea station and Nam-Yung station. This means not only Sookmyung area residents living nearby the main Sookmyung Street but also customers coming from outside the targeted boundary would also contribute to the excellent reliable location of the business. To cover various tastes of customers and to fulfill the unique flavor of 20s’ and 30’, approaching them with a wide range of services would be necessary. Prices would vary from 3000 won to 10000 won depending on the various dishes; buffet, lunch special, soup, salad, appetizer, and entrees would also be offered. The restaurant would offer seat-in and take out services. The restaurant’s management team would entertain customers by putting mini live concerts related to Mexican culture and playing traditional popular Mexican music during business hours to attract the customer’s “eyes and ears with the happy mouth for the hot and spicy”, but deliciously prepared Mexican food.
It is our hope that current and future entrepreneurs would benefit from the report and that the business environment would improve for entrepreneurs to get bigger profits and for students to satisfy their appetite in an improved business environment. Also, we wish that the business environment around Sookmyung would be vitalized to be given wider publicity. We are hungry and we are still thinking about what to eat!
Small Business Management Students
Spring Semester 2007