Cover of Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is no denying the fact that the food service industry is very competitive. So how can you stand out from the competition? It all depends on how well you are able to capture the imagination of the market with tantalizing promotions, filled with the tastes and sights that consumers crave. That’s a job that is best done with the use of professional food service marketing strategies.
The foodservice industry incorporates a range of food service operations including restaurants, bistros, coffee shops, snack bars, fast food outlets, and cafeterias. The aim of any foodservice establishment is to achieve customer satisfaction.
Professional foodservice marketing always looks at the customers’ view first, as that will provide answers as to where the focus of the marketing campaign should be. For example, if a restaurant notices that there has been a significant drop in the lunchtime crowd, then one of the first questions they need to ask is: ‘What is it the customer wants that we are not providing?’
The restaurant should then seek to develop a marketing plan that meets the needs of that lunchtime crowd, so that they will come flooding back. That means coming up with strategies that are able to satisfy customer demand. The goal is to implement strategies that will reach the target market, and get more of them through the doors of the establishment.
However, not only must the elements in the marketing mix be able to entice the customers to visit the foodservice establishment, but the customers must be satisfied with their experience there. For example if the venue is a restaurant, they should ensure that they offer tasty and attractive menu options, adequate portion sizes, quality service, and have clean surroundings, as well as an appealing décor.
Professional foodservice marketing involves the use of traditional marketing strategies that include the following elements:
Knowing and identifying the customer. That means learning about their demographics i.e. age, gender, etc. and understanding what their needs are. This step is vital, because it will determine the marketing strategies and plans that will come next.
Advertising in the places where your target group can be found. So if you are targeting the 18-25 age group, then you will have to use platforms like social media, and tools such as mobile devices, because that is how and where they communicate. Strategies will have to include setting up a website, creating a Facebook page and Twitter account, and writing a blog.
Engaging the customer. Keeping contact with the customer via the tools just mentioned is going to be necessary to develop customer loyalty. A database of loyal customers is just what is needed to add impetus to a marketing program designed to attract new customers.
A professional foodservice marketing plan is generally simple and easy to follow, as it incorporates traditional marketing strategies. However in doing so, it uses the communication channels of their target audience, and also seeks to engage them so that they can be converted to loyal subscribers.