Change on the menu at Insight2Impact Foodservice Marketing Summit

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Change was the name of the game at VantagePoint’s first ever Insight2Impact Foodservice Marketing Summit in October.

The event brought foodservice marketing professionals together for two days of presentations and discussions with industry leaders and decision makers, who emphasized ongoing shifts in the industry landscape that will require marketers to continually adapt.

So, what’s changing in foodservice and foodservice marketing?

Changing audiences

Whether marketing ovens or faucets or ingredients, businesses seeking to reach decision makers in the foodservice industry must adapt to the changing ways those individuals find information — as well as changes to who that very audience is.

  • Marketers looking to tell their stories can no longer rely on traditional press releases. Content marketing is more important than ever, the landscape for it has vastly broadened, and the audience is as varied as the venues for reaching them, reported Andrea Simrell, VantagePoint’s public relations manager.
  • The generation whose name is on the lips of every trend watcher in nearly every industry is coming to dominate foodservice as well, both as consumers and as decision makers. From their tastes in food to how they consume content, Millennials will help to steer the conversation in foodservice marketing.

Changing priorities

Priorities, whether of the B2B customer or the eventual end consumer, are evolving in response to changes in the dining marketplace.

  • Who’s making the decisions about what food and equipment to buy — and why they choose what they do — was the focus of buyer journey research presented by VantagePoint research and strategy director Jon Schneider. Decision makers from chefs to CEOs are adjusting their expectations and processes to meet the needs of customers and their businesses.
  • The buyers’ priorities are informed in no small part by the customers’ priorities. Nancy Kruse’s 2017 trends report highlighted the areas where end consumers will focus their interest and their buying dollars in the year ahead.
  • Increasing real estate, labor and utility costs are driving a focus on efficiency and versatility in kitchen design. Operators are regularly looking for the tools and solutions that will help them run a lean but effective operation, according to members of VantagePoint’s foodservice advisory board during a panel discussion.

Changing industry

Apart from individual decision makers and customers, foodservice itself is constantly changing, as it has always done.

  • A changing governmental and regulatory landscape will impact labor costs, market logistics and more, and economic pressures have made access to capital more difficult than in past free-flowing years. Meeting these challenges will require constant adaptation by operators and those who supply them.
  • Technological advances and cultural changes will bring the big “D” — disruption — to foodservice in areas including food safety, supply chain and customer service, according to Mike Walpole, senior manager of supplier sourcing at Chick-fil-A and VantagePoint foodservice advisory board member.
  • But there’s constancy and success to be found in adhering to an organization’s core principles while adopting a willingness to meet the demands of the changing marketplace, said Denny’s CEO John Miller. Miller highlighted the recent resurrection of the once-flagging chain through a strategic framework that drew on Denny’s traditional brand with a decidedly modern understanding of its audience.

Learn more about the Summit and see some of the presentations at www.vpinsight2impact.com. Watch in the coming months for videos, blogs and other materials that can help your company understand and respond to the changes ahead.

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