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Inside the Mind of Today’s Operator

Inside the Mind of Today’s Operator

Understand what keeps them up at night & act accordingly.

The recent Datassential webinar confirmed a new reality we’ve all been sensing. It helped quantify the mindset of the modern operator and added some insightful surprises, too.

Selling in foodservice today is about caring for operator concerns. Here are the top findings and how to adjust your marketing mindset to address them.

Buyer Demographics

Represent and communicate to your prospective buyer accurately and effectively.

  • Decision makers skew male overall (57%), but not for every segment.
  • Female buyers skew highest for hospitals (49%), Long-Term Care (61%), and K-12 (87%).

Know that your buyers have been there and done that.

They’ve been in the industry for decades, likely having worked as a server or line cook early in their careers. In fact, your target decision makers may have more industry experience than your internal teams. They know the language, so your brand should too.

  • The majority of foodservice buyers (68%) have 20 or more years of industry experience.
  • 40% having 30 or more years of experience!


Broadline distribution continues to be the leading source of product for operators, but supply chain constraints have opened windows of opportunity for other channels (like direct from manufacturer and cash and carry stores) as operators seek a reliable supply of their trusted products.

  • Consider multiple supply options to help customers mitigate supply chain fallout.
  • Show up where competitors aren’t and turn product trial into switcher opportunities for the brand.

Pain Points

And the top concerns are …

  • Managing Food Costs (90%)
  • Customer Satisfaction (90%)
  • Managing Labor Costs (83%)

No surprises here. Operators continue to toe the line between cost control and customer satisfaction. The need persists for operator-centric solutions that still meet evolving diner demands.

In a big jump from previous years, operators are more concerned about improving employee retention with 80% of operators saying they’re either having difficulty or are significantly struggling to retain staff. High quality speed-scratch items are still highly relevant.

Actions Being Taken

To address these pain points, operators are raising menu prices, reducing menu size, and reducing hours of operation. Streamlining continues to be the name of the game for operators.

Successful products and solutions will find ways to make their lives easier. 

For those operators who are managing staff effectively, the focus may be on product innovation and LTOs to drive new traffic, and establishing reliable product sourcing options to keep up with demand.


Posted in: Thoughts
Tags: marketing
July 20, 2022

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