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Operators Need Something New

Operators Need Something New

Brands are missing the opportunity for incremental sales by defaulting to the familiar.

It can be cheaper to maintain a current customer than to find a new one. It can also become too comfortable, considering the market demand for innovation in foodservice. Focusing on newness is your chance to unleash significant revenue potential.

Just look at the numbers presented by Datassential at the International Foodservice Manufacturing Association’s 2023 Virtual Sales and Marketing Conference. They surveyed manufacturers about the sales landscape and found:


focus on selling to existing customers vs. new


focus on selling existing products vs. new

Only 36%

use industry segments to group sales territories/prospects

With most of the market focused on selling legacy portfolios to legacy customers, there’s great opportunity to reach new segments with new and highly targeted product solutions.

Operators are certainly asking for it. Now that doing more with less is the norm for most kitchens, product innovation plays a critical role in helping chefs and their teams streamline operations and improve profitability while maintaining a laser focus on the guest experience.

“We’re maniacally focused on the customer experience… We really need your help delivering value for the customers… We need to find ways to make the food supply more sustainable and more valuable to people.”

–Marshall Scarborough, Vice President of Menu and Culinary Innovation at Bojangles’ in a message to IFMA manufacturer members at the 2023 Sales and Marketing Conference. 

Let newness be your catalyst for driving pull-through demand with operators to force distribution. Consider this:

Build excitement with sales teams.

The path of least resistance is to default to the familiar – selling existing products to existing customers. Help break the cycle by equipping internal and external sales teams with compelling training content and collateral that defines the problem the new product solves, or educates on the unique challenges and competitive forces at play for a specific market segment to empower a more consultative sale.

Make segment-specific selling your superpower.

Build tailored rollouts for a c-store or healthcare facility or new segment of choice, based on your breakthrough product’s strengths and usefulness to that exact audience.

Showcase the ease of LTOs.

Operators leverage Limited Time Offers (LTOs) as a means to test new menu items and drive store traffic. Build a culinary strategy around your recently launched items that can be easily translated into LTOs by the operator.

Run a targeted ad campaign.

New products are inherently more interesting to talk about and more likely to have the stopping power your ad needs to convert prospects. Plus, newness opens up PR opportunities that are more difficult to leverage when promoting the same old, same old.

Sustain activation with content.

As awareness grows for a new product or among a new audience, leverage an integrated content strategy to nurture new leads. Consider your owned properties (website and email lists) as well as earned/shared channels (social, PR). 

Whether promoting the latest product or pursuing another segment – the revenue potential for newness knows no bounds.

Posted in: Thoughts
August 29, 2023

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