The team of three students consisting of Robert Edwards, Hardy Anderson, and Larry D. Stephney visited Belle Napoli restaurant on November 15, 2012 as part of the MK 351 Principles of Marketing class, coordinated by our instructor DR. Blaugrund, Erin Baca. The purpose for our visit was to conduct detailed observation at a local restaurant to assist us in writing a seven to ten page summary of our findings. Our team selected Johnny Carino’s restaurant located 675 Sunland Park Drive, El Paso, TX to compare to Belle Napoli.
Both restaurants brand is Italian food, Bella Napoli and Johnny Carino’s are located three miles apart. Johnny Carino’s is located less than a mile from the Sunland Park Mall, while Bella Napoli is three miles away from the Sunland Park Mall. Another Italian restaurant is the Olive Garden located at 740 Sunland Park Drive El Paso, TX. Olive Garden was not selected for comparison because its menu was not comparable to Bella Napoli and each of the members of the team has frequently eaten at Olive Garden.
The team spent the majority of our time observing Bella Napoli, however, we did focus enough time and energy researching Johnny Carino’s to make a constructive comparison. We divided the comparisons into four factors, Location, Exterior Atmospherics, Interior Atmospherics, and the four Ps (Place, Product, Price and Promotion). Bella Napoli is a good Italian restaurant with tremendous opportunity to become better with improvements in the Exterior Atmospherics, Interior Atmospherics, and a focused promotional effort.
The location looks to be a typical business area with some residential housing within the area. It is located on a main street (North Mesa) which is good for visibility to potential customers. The location is in the area that has other business establishments such shopping centers, fast food restaurants, and other markets. It is approximately 2 miles from the nearest interstate (I-10), however there were no signs on the interstate showing the directions to the restaurant. The traffic for the time of day that we arrived was flowing without any congestion or delays.
The volume of traffic was heavy because it was around 5:00 P. M. the time people commute from work to home. The heavy volume of traffic provided the restaurant an opportunity to be noticed by potential customers that may not be familiar with Belle Napoli, however, the restaurant position on the road is not easily noticed by people passing by in heavy traffic. The sign located on the side of the road is effective in gaining the attention of drivers or passengers in busy traffic. The neighborhood has a tremendous effect on whether a person dines at Bella Napoli.
There is apartment building to the left of the entrance that overlooks the Bella Napoli and a house/apartment building to the right of the parking lot which looks to be in disrepair and spilling over to the restaurant parking lot. Bella Napoli entrance and parking lot is nice but the surrounding area looks to be unsafe. Unsafe was initial though the group had about the immediate neighboring apartments to the left and right of the restaurant. The overall neighborhood appeared to be a typical business area in the city.
The team’s long term recommendation is that the restaurant erects some type of fence to separate view of their restaurant from the two apartments. We further recommend that owners of the restaurant talk with the apartment owners about improving outside appearance of their facilities. There may be an opportunity for a joint venture to improve the appearance of the whole neighborhood in 3-5 years. Exterior Atmospherics Upon arriving near Bella Napoli off of Mesa Street coming from either direction, nothing stands out to prompt people that they have arrived.
Their sign is situated very low near other signs and the color of the sign blends into the surrounding background. People that do not live on the Westside of El Paso may have a hard time navigating to this restaurant due to low visibility of the sign and small enclosure of the parking lot. There are no other signs visible on, or near the street prior to arriving to Bella Napoli that will prompt someone to slow down, stop and make the turn into the parking lot. The parking lot itself is both paved and gravel. It has a slight downward slope in the direction of the restaurant that could become hazardous in the event of rain.
There are some areas of the parking lot that are uneven and worn that would constitute a hazard, and that will continue to deteriorate if it is not improved. Other possible deterrents that may cause people to not come to Bella Napoli are holes in the walls and water damage by the water fountain. From the parking lot all the way to the courtyard area in front of the entrance, should be re-modeled in order to appeal to a younger crowd. Considering how long Bella Napoli has been open, it appears to that very few improvements have been made to the exterior of the restaurant.
Many restaurants in El Paso, including Johnny Carino’s have transitioned through some type of exterior revitalization plan to appeal to more generations of, and the diversity of people in El Paso. Interior Atmospherics The walkways were adequate for foot traffic in both directions. The staff was able to conduct their business without any congestion within the walkways. Due to the amount of tables and the way they were positioned, customers that require wheelchairs for movement would block the walkways within the establishment.
This would also create a hazard for the staff when they are serving patrons. Our recommendation is that an area be designated within the establishment that would cater to those with disabilities while maintaining the freedom of movement for others. The lighting that the restaurant had was perfect for the type of establishment that it is. The dimly lit lights coupled with the authentic Italian scenery create the right atmosphere that is appealing for all types of patrons. It was not too bright or too dim.
In saying that, we feel that the right lighting within the establishment helped with the meal presentation. It did not distract from the presentation and it was bright enough to accent the fullness of the meal. The staff could conduct their business and the patrons could see their menus without additional lighting. In addition to the lighting, the noise level was average for a restaurant. The staff communicated with one another without having to raise their voices, the patrons communicated at a normal tone, and the music in the background was at a good level.
The tables that we were seated at were placed in the middle of the room to accommodate the amount of people that were dining/observing. I believe that the owner stated that the area where we dined was the secondary area for special occasions/large groups. Because of the size of the tables the staff had limited movement behind the customers. In the event of an emergency, movement would be degraded. The tables within the other areas were well placed and covered to reflect the authentic Italian restaurant. Cashiers station was easily accessible by the staff. It is well placed and out of the way of the consumer.
There was someone always monitoring it and when I went to pay for desert there was someone immediately available to take the payment. There were several displays within the establishment. They were well placed and in good taste. There was a display near the entrance with promotional information on it and one within the primary dining area with pictures of the family/business. The vines that were hanging from the ceiling were good. It also created the atmosphere of being in an authentic Italian restaurant. There were 2 fish tanks within the establishment. In my opinion both of the tanks need attention.
Our team had an opportunity to visit the establishment’s restroom. The restroom was small for the amount of people that the restaurant could hold. There was little room to move around if more than one person occupied it. Also, we believe the restroom did not have railings or room for handicap people. According to Restrooms Requirements for Restaurants (Haring, 2012), the minimum requirement for medium restaurants is one toilet for every 30 men and 60 women (including staff). Our recommendation is that the room be expanded to accommodate multiple users and handicap patrons.
The staff at the restaurant was available at all times to assist with menu questions and to provide condiments/additional dishes upon request. They were very courteous and knowledgeable of menu dishes that were served. The Four P’s of Bella Napoli Place: Making goods and services available in the right quantities and locations-when customers want them (McGraw Hill, 2012). Bella Napoli is located at 6331 North Mesa Street in El Paso, Texas, known as “The West Side” for local residents of El Paso. The Sunland Park Mall is located approximately two mile away or a six minute drive by car (Map, 2012).
Italian restaurants competitors in the area are the Olive Garden about one and a half miles away and Johnny Carino’s located almost three miles away (Map, 2012). With the Sunland Mall and other major retail outlet located in the area, Bella Napoli’s placement is very competitive. The one drawback to the placement is the actual location of the restaurant. Product: Is the need-satisfying offering of a firm (McGraw Hill, 2012). Bella Napoli is attempting to provide a total product offering to satisfy the needs of El Paso’s West-side community in the form of great homemade Italian food at reasonable prices and excellent customer service.
The owners intent (mission statement) as defined by the original owner of the restaurant “were not to serve gourmet food, but great homemade Italian food at reasonable prices that the entire family could enjoy” (Napoli, Bella Napoli, 2012). There is no indication that the restaurant has changed or modified the mission statement or reviewed the mission of the restaurant, even with new ownership. The restaurant has over fifty different menu items appetizers, soups, salads and house specialties. The restaurant is not limited to Italian cuisines it also provides seafood options to its customers.
My personal favorite is the Piccolino Pizza, a small 8 ounce pizza with pepperoni topping reasonably priced at $6. 95 (Napoli, Bella Napoli, 2012). The overall menu was appealing to variety of diners, even though it was an Italian (Carino’s, 2012)restaurant in namesake. The mission statement targeted family oriented customers, however, is more suited for a romantic dinner for a couple. The restaurant would be ideal for a family meal after church but not for a family meal during the week. Children might find the atmosphere boring and the menu too limited for a quick dinner during the week.
Price: The amount of money that is charged for “something” of value. Bella Napoli prices are prominently marked next to item on the menu (McGraw Hill, 2012). The prices for items on the menu are reasonably priced between $6. 95 and $20. 00 (Napoli, Bella Napoli, 2012). Bella Napoli prices are competitive with its largest competitor; Johnny Carino’s located almost three miles away near the Sunland mall. For example, the price of a traditional Italian restaurant dish (Spaghetti and Meatballs) is about three dollars less at Bella Napoli $8. 0 per person (Napoli, Bella Napoli, 2012) than at Johnny Carino’s $11. 99 per person (Carino’s, 2012).
Promotions: Communicating information between seller and potential buyer or others in the channel to influence attitudes and behavior (McGraw Hill, 2012). Belle Napoli has a Web site located at http://bellanapoliristorante. com/ (Napoli, Bella Napoli, 2012). On their Website is a link for promotions, however, the actual Web page has no promotional information. During the class visit to the restaurant the manager/part owner indicated that Bella Napoli will celebrate its fifth year of business next year.
The date the restaurant was founded is located on their Websites Home Page, (Napoli, Bella Napoli, 2012), however, a thank you note to loyal customers is located on the last page of the menu in small print. (Napoli, Bella Napoli page 5, 2012). With Ft Bliss growing military population (Active Duty, Family Members and Retired) Bella Napoli’s Website did not show a military discount. The manager/part owner stated that the offered a military discount but without advertising the military population will remain unaware of the restaurant’s discount offer. The only medium I found information on Belle Napoli was the internet.
Conclusion Bella Napoli has been in business for forty-nine years, the primary source of business is loyal customers that are senior citizens. The restaurant is dependent on the weekend diners and after church customers for the majority of its business. Johnny Corino’s appears to be garnering all the new customers from the closure of Jaxon’s restaurant on El Paso’s Westside. While the Sunland Park Mall, Super Wal-Mart, and Target all bring a large number of potential Italian cuisine to the area, Belle Napoli appears to be missing out on its market share of dining customers.
Areas we identified that will improve Bella Napoli’s operation and business, dedicate recourses to improve the interior esthetics of the building (remove hanging wires, repaint the bathrooms, change the water in the fish tanks), improve the exterior esthetics (fix the hole in the wall in the outside seating area, conduct routine maintenance of the parking area, remove of fix the restaurant sign), promote the restaurant to the military communities (advertise in the Fort Bliss Monitor, advertise the military discount on Website, and make a big deal out of the restaurant’s fifty year anniversary of the restaurant (make a special Webpage, advertise the anniversary on TV, radio and newspaper. Bella Napoli could be the best Italian restaurant in El Paso but it does not bring in profit if no know it exist.