Thursday, August 30, 2007

USFS' future - predictions

  1. "Putting manufacturer brands in the back of the book"
  2. "Reducing commissions on manufacturer brands to their DSR's"
  3. "Marketing their brands as the same as..."

Just three of the insights in this Strategic White Paper from The Hale Group - making it imperative that you know who your existing customers are, how much they are buying and how often, plus have the promotional levers Foodservice Rewards provides to retain them.


Monday, April 23, 2007

NACUFS Member Concerns - Survey

Motivating and retaining staff has always been a central Foodservice Rewards theme. Now, additional validation from the latest NACUFS survey asking members to list their Top Challenges. Unsurprisingly, the #1 operator worry is finding and keeping qualified foodservice personnel - exactly the challenge Foodservice Rewards addresses.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

What IS Foodservice Marketing Anyway?

If you haven't discovered Franklin Foodservice Solutions, Dave DeWalt is an expert at maximizing the manufacturer/distributor value exchange and his writings are incisive.

In his January newsletter, he asks the question "What IS Foodservice Marketing, Anyway?" and prompts a debate of the two tradtional approaches:

"There are Foodservice Marketing people at large, national branded, retail-driven companies who go about their business very much like their Retail counterparts. They think big thoughts about the big picture, focusing on building their brands. They spend a lot more time with operator research and even consumer research, looking for that magic that will pull their products through distributors. They steadfastly refuse to get sucked into the day-to-day haggling and dealmaking that keeps a lot of our distributor business working at the transactional level.

And there are Foodservice Marketing people, often at smaller, foodservice focused companies, who know how the foodservice game is played. They behave as if their brand has little power, focusing on countless pricing and promotion spending schemes to seize whatever volume becomes available that day. These Foodservice Marketing people function, for better or worse, in the realm of Sales Support, which some would argue is not Marketing at all."

At Foodservice Rewards, we'd argue that both approaches miss the point. The most important function of foodservice marketing, in our view, is to help management to think of their company not as a group of products or services or functions or territories, but rather as a portfolio of customers. This requires a fresh mindset that:

1) Recognizes that customers are the only source of profits

2) Understands that each customer's profitability or unprofitability - and the reasons for it - are critically important to creating winning value propositions

3) Realizes that obtaining and analyzing this information (which used to be overwhelmingly difficult) is now practical

4) Champions a marketing and sales approach that organizes around customers and customer segments

Today powerful computing systems can track customer purchase behavior segment by segment (even operator by operator) fairly straightforwardly. E-mail and print-on-demand are bringing personalized communications to the foodservice industry. The result is tremendous pull through, especially when paired with a local distributor's brand (see Ginsberg's or E.G. Forrest examples).

We believe the coming revolution in foodservice marketing will occur as technology empowers manufacturers to transform into customer centric organizations delivering anticipated, relevant and personal benefits to their most valuable customers/customer segments.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Corporate Blogging, for better or worse

Companies that employ well thought out blogging strategies encourage community goodwill, marketing and sales gains according to this white paper.

However, the ease of publishing and promoting blogs also creates pitfalls - as evidenced by Inspect SYSCO, recently launched by the Service Employees International Union.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

The World's Most Respected Companies

We're excited to announce that Kraft Foodservice has become the latest company to join over 75 national brands participating in the coalition.

"Foodservice Rewards is an important addition to our marketing mix," says Tom Sampson, SVP & President, Kraft Foodservice North America. "Customer intimacy is increasingly becoming a key competitive differentiator for branded manufacturers and Foodservice Rewards gives us some great tools to connect directly with operators who believe in added value."

Participating brands include much of the Nabisco crackers foodservice portfolio along with all of the Kraft, Open Pit, and Bull's-Eye barbeque sauce foodservice offerings.

Note that Kraft is ranked among the world's most respected companies, and the second with that distinction to join Foodservice Rewards.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Food Fights

Working in restaurants has never has been for the faint of heart, the weak of stomach or the thin of skin. Long hours, demanding customers and difficult co-workers are generally accompanied by middling paychecks...

Read about the backstabbing, burnout, and perhaps even burglary that might be unfolding in the kitchen while you're nibbling seared scallops at your local high end eatery.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Amateur Gourmet, hi-larious

This laugh-out-loud blog post about Alain Ducasse was sent to me by Guy Kawasaki, an investor in Boomerang Marketing, the venture that preceded Foodservice Rewards. If you've ever had the pleasure of over-eating at a restaurant like Tru or Cosmos you'll relate :-)


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Don't get stuck in the Shrinking Middle

1) Be the low cost producer or 2) differentiate with product leadership or 3) focus on customer intimacy or die.

This article succinctly illustrates the dilemma facing today's marketers. Just replace the name "SYSCO" for Wal*Mart when reading.

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 12, 2006--Despite significant investment, innovation among foodservice manufacturers has been increasingly ineffective. "Foodservice manufacturers have relied too heavily on 'copycat' items, line extensions and package modifications and have not focused on real innovation," states Bob Goldin, Technomic Executive Vice President and Co-Director of Pacesetters. "There is a clear need for fresh thinking and new approaches."

So, if you are not differentiating on product innovation and are not the low cost producer (playing the distributor private label game) the only option is to focus on customer intimacy:

1) Identify your best street customers. 2) Communicate regularly and cost-effecitvely. 3) Reward their new purchasing behavior with something other than discounts. Sound familiar?

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Global foodservice to grow by 1/3rd in 5 years

This global forecast in the UK's Catersearch explains why we'll continue expanding the Foodservice Rewards program in Europe and shortly thereafter, Asia/Pacific. Sponsors, don't hesitate to introduce us to to your international counterparts :-)


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New York Times makes it official: Reward Code Programs are Popular

When the New York Times covers the popularity of reward code programs, they've finally gone mainstream.

With over 20 million reward codes redeemed (that's one every 30 seconds) we've known their value since the first Foodservice code was redeemed for a Schwan's Chalupa in September of 2002.

Here's how Distributorships and their DSR's are learning about it via their program newsletter.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Advance acquires Quik-To-Fix Foods

Congratulations to Advance Food Company on their purchase of Quik-to-Fix from Smithfield Foods! Read the rationale for the Acquisition in the Enid News.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Not your average press release

Admire the creativity behind Advance Food Company's latest press release: Within a day it had earned a mention in Pizza Marketing Quarterly. If you are submitting your releases online, PR Web, WorldAnnounce, and Pressbox are all excellent submission sites.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Best Customer Marketing

BCM (Best Customer Marketing) is largely misunderstood, yet separates marketing winners from losers. Learn how to use this important principle to your advantage.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Five Loyalty Mistakes to Avoid

This Harvard Business Review of loyalty programs is worth a read as it effectively illustrates how Behavioral Economics impacts program participants.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Reaching Restaurant Owners, Managers

"Trade shows will always be a focal point, but the strongest marketers in the industry - such as Tyson, McIlhenny, Kikkoman and FoodService Rewards - are in front of restaurant operators daily with a variety of messages aimed at different segments of the market. The opportunity to quickly change their promotions to deal with trends or new competitor products is vital" according to Jack Fordi of the National Restaurant Association SmartBrief (circulation: 51,000 vs. our 62,000). Read the whole article in B2B magazine.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

16 Ways to improve eMail Open Rates

Here are 16 ways to improve eMail open rates. We're also inserting reward codes into direct mail to boost open rates.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Foodservice Rewards will benefit from the buzz of My Coke Rewards, a multi-year consumer loyalty program using reward codes entered online. Here's an excellent video describing the original reward code promotion run by Pepsi.

Updated 7/24/06 - looks like Coke is having implementation issues. This sometimes happens in programs that rely on advertisers to supply the "prizes" as promotional consideration. It's akin to the upset frequesnt-flyer programs generate when they restrict the number of available award seats. Foodservice Rewards, by contrast, faces no such issues as the rewards are all sourced & replenished directly by BI.


Monday, January 30, 2006

Take a lesson from the airlines

During a recent flight to St. Louis for Bunge's account review, Northwest turned the plane around en route owing to a mechanical problem. A week after the delayed flight I received a letter from their Director of Customer Care apologizing and depositing 2,500 bonus miles into my Silver WorldPerks account. Here's the clever thing: John Neupauer, who was flying with me but has no elite status received the same letter - and only 1,000 points.

Two important lessons here:

1) Communicate with your best customers when behavior changes - they stop entering codes, for instance
2) Communicate differently based on customer value - number of codes entered or number of different products purchased

Soon we'll begin focusing on customer behavioral triggers and how to use them to grow your business more profitably. Stay tuned.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Recognition Whitepaper

Testing a new approach to engaging operators: a free employee recognition whitepaper advertised in NRA's Smartbrief newsletter.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Franklin Foodservice Newsletter

Franklin Foodservice Solutions has published an insightful review of Foodservice Rewards' key benefits to manufacturers (Scroll down to "A word about rewards".) To read previous issues or subscribe, click here.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Member Attributes

Ever wonder what's important to Foodservice Rewards members? So do we. That's why we commissioned the following study by Caroline Perkins' Foodservice Content Company when setting up next year's editorial calendar for the re-designed newsletter.


Monday, October 03, 2005

What is the role of Price in Behavior Change?

Salespeople (particularly brokers) will tell you that discounts are what customers want in order to try new products - and you can't fault them for thinking it's true. When asked "Which do you prefer? Cash or merchandise?" respondents overwhelmingly choose "cash." However, when studied, actions speak louder than words.

This authoritative article documents why cash incentives fail to change behavior. In addition to the behavioral implications:

1) Rebates cause your salespeople to lead with price
2) DSR's fill out rebate forms rather than introduce new products
3) Rebates teach your customers to wait for "sale prices"


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Making Retention Work

Excellent article by Carl Chapman, Vice President of the Food Service Division with the Dunwoody Group in Restaurant ProfitAbility Magazine called Making Retention Work.

"Employees are among the most valuable assets that any business has. As it becomes more difficult to find and retain good workers, it's vital to know how to be competitive in this area by keeping retention issues on the front burner." Click here to see how Foodservice Rewards helps distributors and their customers retain staff.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hiring and retention has replaced food prices as the top worry for restauranteurs

Tired of customers grinding down your food prices? Don't reduce your margins; instead help operators reduce their labor costs.

According to the 2005 Datassential Operator Survey, when "decoding the profit and loss puzzle for your restaurant customers, it's important to keep in mind that labor is nearly as large an expense as the food itself." In fact, hiring and retention has replaced food prices as the top worry for restauranteurs, says Hudson Riehle, Senior Researcher at the National Restaurant Association.

Operators want help managing the cost of their human assets, but few suppliers offer it. Introduce your customers to Foodservice Rewards - it earns them free gifts to recognize and reward staff and reduce the cost of running their operations.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Usability study results

As you may know, we are upgrading the Foodservice Rewards website. Despite having successfully processed more than 12,000,000 reward codes from over 50,000 operators - that's over 1,000 codes per hour on many days of the week - we can still improve its ease of use and relevance.

Here are the tabulated results from the Phase One usability study (15 face-to-face interviews, 10 observed usability sessions, extensive online surveys.) Note this is a big file - 70+ slides, so only download if you are really interested :-)


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

FSR Makes Top-10 Web Sites

In a recent Food Management magazine study, Foodservice Rewards was rated the 8th most frequented web site by operators. View the top 20 web sites and more at the survey.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Fishking acquires King & Prince

Congratulations to Fishking Processors (Mrs. Friday's)! Learned during an account review today of their acquisition of King & Prince Seafood - which significantly expands their foodservice presence in chain accounts, improves their geographic coverage, and broadens their shrimp offerings.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Better Marketing Training For Independents

Tip 'o the hat to Steve Turner at Pepsi for pointing out the super article "Small but mighty: Independents could use more marketing training" in the July 4th issue of NRN (sorry can't find an online link) highlighting Restaurant and their book The Last Restaurant Sales-Building Manual You Will Ever Need!. Perhaps we ought to consider offering the manual to any independent who enters his hundredth code as part of our touch point strategy. Or as a free premium when you sign up - might be more effective/less costly than bonus points.

We all need to find a way to help independent restaurants get more customers. Adding service providers like
Fishbowl is one step, as is the new FAQ's: How to use your Foodservice Rewards in customer traffic building raffles.