While no one could have predicted such an epic disruption to our daily lives, I want to share something with each of you. This is something that distributors, manufacturers, and operators can take a little comfort in during these trying times.
Let’s start with some data.
1. Share the trends – The foodservice industry was already experiencing a shift in consumer habits
The advent of online ordering, 3rd party deliveries, and curbside pickup over the last decade has given rise to a new dynamic in Foodservice. Foodservice business is not simply made up of ‘Food Away from Home’ anymore. Foodservice also encompasses what I will characterize as ‘Food Away from the Restaurant or Marketplace’. This new dynamic includes meals that are prepared in a professional kitchen or establishment that can be taken off-premise to be consumed at home, the office, or elsewhere.
You were already preparing for it. It has just been accelerated. You’ve got this!
Technomic and the National Restaurant Association had released a white paper in October of 2019, well ahead of the impacts felt by the nation during this global pandemic. This paper describes some interesting shifts in the habits of consumers, as well as the restaurants who service them, as the decade was coming to an end.
4 big takeaways:
- 60% of restaurant occasions are now experienced by consumers off-premise
- 90% of consumers drive-through or pick up their food from restaurants
- 53% of off-premise dining is via 3rd party delivery (apps, such as GrubHub, DoorDash, or Uber Eats)
- Overall, there has been a 34% lift in how often consumers are experiencing food away from the place it was made.
There was one slightly concerning statistic that indicates one of the greatest opportunities for the Foodservice industry to rally around: Nearly 30% of the operators surveyed admit that they’re not doing enough to keep up with consumer’s demands to offer customizable online orders, ordering via app, or 3rd party delivery.
You may be asking, “Why wouldn’t a restaurant have their menu available online or for delivery?” Seems mundane, considering the world we live in today.
One major reason cited in the report, which may seem laughable now, was described as ‘not enough consumer demand.’
Now would be a good time to start, wouldn’t you say?
2. Help your Customers get online
So, what’s that one thing you, as a foodservice distributor, manufacturer, or broker could be doing? Pick up the phone or send an email to offer your assistance to help them with a streamlined, online menu. A menu that is easy for those consumers to find and enjoy. Pull your sales teams together and start hammering home the opportunity in front of us all!
Start with the low hanging fruit – help your restaurant customers by creating profiles on UberEats, Doordash, Grubhub, and EatStreet.
Once these profiles are set up, encourage them to email/text customers they know to leave reviews on these 3rd party delivery apps.
Yes, this is a difficult time for all. However, consumers don’t have to miss out on their favorite meal due to social distancing. This is the time for the favorite meal to be of comfort and a sense of normalcy. What are you doing to help restaurants continue serving their loyal fan base?
3. Give them your expertise – You’re the experts
What items do you carry that support off-premise dining? Create a short list to send with ideas of packaging and placement.
Do they have signage or messaging in front of their businesses alerting potential customers about takeout or delivery?
Can you help them review their menus to feature or create to-go-friendly offerings? How about family meal packs?
Do you have additional resources to get them hooked up with an online ordering system or 3rd party delivery service (step 3)?
Distributors and manufacturers have an array of unique challenges in front of them right now, whether it’s concerns about inventory, payment terms, or delivery schedules. The reality is, though, that these were all daily interruptions that put distance between us and the operator before a global pandemic.
You can do this right now. Today. You can extend your expertise and resources to at least one of the millions of talented operators out there who need us, the leaders of Foodservice, right now…
If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.
Jason@attribytes.com | 602-206-6313
HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY TO DRIVE SALES OFF-PREMISE
The white paper, released in October of 2019, is a collaboration between Technomic and The National Restaurant Association, offering insights from more than 400 restaurant participants and the consumers they service. It puts a very fine point on some things happening in Foodservice that, perhaps, we have all been feeling, but may not have had all the facts around.