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3 Ways Manufacturers Can Stand Out to Foodservice Operators

The foodservice industry has shown tremendous resiliency over the last couple of years. Overall restaurant traffic may be down, but higher check averages have bolstered sales numbers.1 While challenges still lie ahead, there are plenty of reasons to remain hopeful, and now is a crucial time to lend your support as everyone regains their footing. Here are some strategies that can help you align with current marketplace needs.

1. Offer speed-scratch menu ideas that address labor challenges.

According to the National Restaurant Association, “As of April 2022, eating and drinking places were still 794,000 jobs — or 6.4% — below their pre-pandemic employment levels. No other industry has a longer road to reach a full employment recovery.”2 Showcasing how your products can be used in low- and no-labor solutions will resonate with operations dealing with this pressing concern. Consider revamping existing recipes or engaging your culinary team to develop new ones with labor shortages in mind.

2. Embrace direct mail to deliver ideas directly to operators.

As every operation is doing more with less, emails and social media posts become easier to ignore, especially as digital fatigue sets in everywhere. There’s nothing quite like having a physical object delivered to your door — it’s certainly harder to ignore. And it’s quite effective. The average response rate for direct mail is between 2.7% and 4.4%, compared to email’s 0.6% response rate.3 Yes, the price of physically mailing samples and rebate offers is higher than digital distribution, but it’s a fraction of the cost of an actual sales call.

3. Be liberal with samples and rebates.

Everyone is feeling the squeeze of inflation, rising costs, and labor market shortcomings. A recent survey of operators found that of 9 different areas of concern, the top 3 centered on expenses: high food costs, high labor costs, and high disposables costs.4 One definite way to rise above all these challenges is to offer your best deals possible whether through samples, rebates, or loyalty rewards. Being a thought leader is tremendously valuable in a partnership, but as this recovery is still gaining steam, prices and cost-savings will remain paramount.

Looking for more ways you can be a standout partner to your foodservice operators or needing to execute best-in-class strategies? We’re always standing by to discuss challenges and opportunities. Let’s start the conversation.

1 Foodservice Equipment Reports, “Restaurant Traffic Hits New Low, But Sales Trend Higher,” June 2022

2 NRA, “Restaurants continue to struggle filling job openings,” May 2022

3 Pedbblepost, “15 Statistics That Prove the Power of Direct Mail in 2022,” June 2022

4 Bar & Restaurant, “The Challenges and Trends Facing Restaurant Operators This Fall,” October 2022

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