As the old nursery rhyme goes, the farmer in his dell veers course when a dog takes a cat and a mouse takes some cheese, and somehow in the end, the cheese stands alone – outlasting the volatility of life on the farm and beating the odds.
Loose interpretation, but you get the idea. Translating food purchasing from what happens in the grocery aisle to the out-of-home dining experience seems a similar progression.
You have consumers who need something out of their product and brand experience, operators who need to run a profitable business, chefs who need to create, and suppliers in the middle, positioning their goods to try and meet all these demands.
This makes for a confusing and highly competitive market, with more brands needing to grow in foodservice but in the dark about how to translate in-home kitchen viability to out-of-home kitchen performance.
Show the product’s viability as a core ingredient to a chef-centric menu.
For example, if your vegan dairy alternative is performing well as a spread in the grocery aisle, that’s great. However, for a product to be taken seriously in a commercial kitchen, it must be able to perform as well as its competitors. Can it hold up to high heat? Can it be used in multiple applications? Can it withstand the shelf-life or refrigerator-life needed to span the fits and starts of foodservice operations? Once you can answer yes to all of the above, let this drive the branded content you create.
Establish an ownable website presence specific to foodservice.
Including a foodservice offering as a part of your footer menu just makes it look like an afterthought.
Inspire the professional chef.
Cut out any notions of recipe development and/or scaling for foodservice unless it’s coming directly from another professional chef. Kitchen pros need inspiration and connectivity to the ways your brand portfolio can help them create more interesting and on-trend menu options.
Connect your offering to the business your buyer is in.
Profitability keeps their doors open, so giving them a sense of your financial we-get-it-ness goes a long way and can be the single most important conversation starter.
Dig deeper on the brand identity system.
You may need to reposition some of the brand elements to better communicate to the foodservice buyer. How? By mapping out for each buyer target what they care about most when it comes to making a decision around the product category. And then creating brand experiences that intersect – through visuals, voice/tone, brand stories, etc.
Operators can always use your help with pull-through on the consumer side. So what can your brand do to help the operator communicate better with their customer? Answer that question and bring them the solutions.