Consumers want it all. The reaction almost everywhere in the world has been an unprecedented demand for value at the cash register. Hunting down a bargain and getting the best buy has become a sharpshooter’s medal to be worn proudly.

Being cost-conscious is no longer a source of embarrassment, eve among the relatively affluent. But at the same time, people are reluctant to give up quality and service to which they become accustomed to better times.

I’ve noticed the growing tendency of the same smartest marketers to move beyond the unique selling proposition into gaining market share with an extra-value marketing a key to success for many of the businesses on my stellar performers list.

With businesses outdoing one another in pushing a cut-price value strategy, the way to drive the competition crazy is to develop an extra-value strategy of your own that shifts the focus to a totally different playing field.

But there is no such thing as a free lunch. How do you keep prices at a rock-bottom low, operated on a paper-thin margin, and still offer services, amenities or rewards? The answer is that you don’t have to be the lowest-priced competitor to win in today’s value-driven marketplace. Happily, most consumers seem to be willing to pay a little more in order to get a lot more.

One of the country’s best restaurants in Baguio City, Forest House Bistro and Café, follow its strategy. Keep prices low but not necessarily the lowest and find ways to offer value extras that the reasonable-price competitors can’t match.

In other words, it’s time to defy the famous dictum of the fitness fanatics: “No Pain, No Gain.” Offer your customers “Gain without Pain”- value pricing without demanding undue sacrifice. And then sweeten the deal with unexpected extras.

In a recent interview with this columnist, Ari G. Verzosa says Forest House doesn’t compete on price alone. “Instead, our plans have been to create a position that’s sufficiently attractive for all masses. We do this by adding value- through convenience, reputation, promotions and image.” In fact, the discerning readers of Philippine Tatler have acclaimed Forest House among this year’s best restaurants for its exceptional service.

Even when unique and spectacular local culture, along with Baguio’s breathtaking tourism hubs are being portrayed in each Forest House location, the ambiance created at the restaurant remains undeniable true to the brand’s core value and its core excellence, all communicated through its consistent branding efforts, all word-of-mouth promotional ads and public relations efforts.

“Looking after the marketing aspect entails quite a lot. I look at developing new products that can bring in revenue for the restaurants and work to evolve the brand in order to increase brand awareness and value to the brand,” Verzosa adds.

Forest House has traditionally held its greatest strength in owning a great history. In order to maintain its competitive edge, Verzosa highlights the fact that Forest House has been very focused in not losing its identity that bespeaks Baguio. “People know of the regular Session road, the Mines View (and what they still know of Baguio), but there’s a homey place in Loakan Road where they can dine and relax.

True enough, some of the guests have traveled far and wide just to dine in Forest House. “I’m even surprised that we have more Manila guests that the Baguio people,” he says.

Being one who prides itself in delivering the promise of what the brand stands for, Forest House has also put together all individually trained staff, and then groomed to act as the very ambassadors of the Forest House. As a result, regardless of which country the customers of the restaurant are residing in, they are promised that exclusive Forest House treatment attached with a familiar warm, fuzzy feeling.

Fascinated by its own cabin-like interiors and country-themed décor create a homey atmosphere for this restaurant. Cozy and intimate, this is an ideal place to simply relax and enjoy your meal. On chiller nights, a roaring fire is lit in a fireplace located in the center of the room. The menu offers a wide array of dishes, from Italian pastas to the standard Americans burger to the more familiar Filipino entries. The pumpkin soup is hearty and a comfort to eat during colder nights. Fried to a golden-brown, the homemade bagnet manages to be crunchy without being too greasy. The accompanying condiment- a mixture of tomatoes, onions, ginger and bagoong- succeeds in bringing a new dimension to the dish.

“It’s very exciting, “I was told. “ It was told. “It’s a good way to get Forest House focused o customer service. “All jovial and charming, Verzosa’s attitude toward work and life is so full of zest that it’s almost contagious. So yeah, Forest House is definitely good stuff!

Business Mirror

Baguio’s Forest House Wins Hearts With A Prized Service Formula

Tuesday, October 2, 2007 c3

Marjorie Teresa R. Perez