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5 Foodservice Marketing DON’Ts for 2021

The foodservice industry is gearing up for a major rebound—don’t let this opportunity go to waste.

After a year of restaurants serving fewer customers, streamlining their menus and experiencing day-to-day uncertainty, it appears that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the foodservice industry.

For foodservice marketers all around the country, this means that budgets are starting to look more optimistic in hopes that a year’s worth of pent-up enthusiasm will send consumers flooding back to support independent restaurants. This fresh start can be a huge momentum-gaining opportunity for you, so it’s important not to stumble off the starting block and watch competitors get ahead. As you navigate through the rest of 2021, here’s what NOT to do if you’re a foodservice marketer.

1. DON’T rely solely on your brokers.

Your brokers will rein in some great opportunities—but failing to incorporate any paid media or direct-to-operator marketing in your campaigns will have you missing out on a huge audience of potential partners. Also, look to 24/7 opportunities like social media to meet operators where they’re at any time of day.

2. DON’T be stingy with samples.

Operators are just like anyone else: if they’ve got a chance to sample before they buy, they’re going to leap at the opportunity. Make it easy for them to request a free sample, and provide plenty for your brokers to dish out.

One operator we spoke with actually switched distributors to get a product he fell in love with after getting a broker sample. Years later, it still has a starring role on his menu.

3. DON’T slip on cross-selling products.

Have your products work together by pairing them in your promotions. Also, try targeting existing customers (from redeemed rebates, for example) with a complementary product offering.

4. DON’T forget how busy operators are.

You may think that you’ve hit them hard with a new product offering or promotion, but operators are extremely busy and need to see the message multiple times in a variety of ways.

5. DON’T focus only on digital.

While digital media is great for driving to landing pages— and provides excellent opportunities for tracking and analysis—don’t overlook more tactile options such as print advertising and direct mail that operators can immerse themselves in.

In our 26 years of working with marketing managers in this industry, we’ve learned a lot about how to avoid common foodservice pitfalls. Have a food marketing question for us? We’d be happy to answer it.

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