A ‘new menu’ in the landscaping industry

August 17, 2020 -  By
Chinese takeout box and fortune cookie (Photo: Kreinick/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Photo: Kreinick/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

I have a strange history with Chinese buffets, and it is possible I take them far too seriously. Just two quick examples: When my wife and I got married, I convinced her that we should have our rehearsal dinner at my favorite Chinese buffet (yes, it was amazing, and yes, I am classy!). And several years ago when that same Chinese buffet announced that they were dropping their buffet (whaaat?!?), I somehow ended up in the local newspaper under the headline, “Customer makes video urging local restaurant to keep buffet.”

(That video still exists, but I’m not sharing it. And no, the Chinese restaurant didn’t take my advice. And yes, they eventually went out of business.)

So fast forward to this weekend and I’m in the parking lot of my new favorite Chinese buffet — which now, thanks to the pandemic, is also no longer a buffet — waiting for my takeout. I mask up and go inside to pay. After completing the transaction, the friendly cashier thrusts a piece of paper in my face and says, “We have a new menu!”

I race the food home and the Joneses have their own makeshift buffet. (It’s amazing.) I reach over for the menu to see what’s new. Did they branch away from the regular Chinese buffet fare? Or better, did they branch out to new Chinese buffet items?

It turned out, neither. Instead of saying they have a “new menu,” she should have said they have “new prices.”

Hmm. It’s 2020. If there ever was a time to up the menu prices, this is the year … I just hope one day they can bring back the buffet.

In this issue of Landscape Management, we take a look at a few companies that really did change the menu, and have successfully implemented new services into their already successful businesses. We share the stories of how landscape companies added tree care, golf course irrigation installation and watering services. Elsewhere in the issue, we have a story on how a company added native species assessment and a page on how three companies added holiday lighting to their buffet.

Of course, adding these new services aren’t for every company. When I asked Kelly Elder, co-owner of Omaha Organics, if her company had looked into any new revenue streams lately, her short answer was, “Why?” The business is booming, no need to add a new service to complicate a formula that’s already working. And one of our sources even acknowledged that his first attempt at adding a new service was a disaster.

Along with those stories in this issue we also have snow + ice features; tips for fall cleanup; some expert advice on Poa annua control; and a page on how design software can help companies win clients. Indeed, our “branching out” issue hits on many branches of the industry.

Let me know if you’ve added a new service to your business in 2020, what it is and if it’s working for you. I just hope that new thing doesn’t include shuttering the most basic element of your business, like my old friends at the Chinese buffet — I know where that got them.

This article is tagged with and posted in August 2020, Editor's Note
Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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