Still marketing to chefs? Think again.

275-chefs-featured-photo-smallFirst, let me state I’m in awe of the classically trained chefs I’ve worked with over the years.  Heck, some are good friends.

But as food marketers, we often focus messages at chefs with the idea they represent the bulk of buyers for foodservice products.

They don’t.  For every university-level trained chef, there are probably seven or eight food-buying pros that grew up in a family business, attended a high school or community college program or simply learned on the job.

The buzzword these days is to make products, ideas and recipes more “accessible.”  This means marketing should focus on practical use of products rather than presenting culinary magic tricks that only chefs at five-star restaurants might appreciate.

The upside to an simple and informative product idea is that it’s appreciated by a chef as much as the line cook who’ll run a kitchen next year.

Several clients are now shifting attention towards building brand loyalty by working closely with entry level programs.  It’s a welcomed change for all.  The energy and enthusiasm among these potential new customers is infectious.  Working with a local culinary program provides that lifelong memory about the day a name brand came along to cook alongside the students.  And they get to engage in the fun of helping produce videos, develop recipes and sample products.

These students also provide a reality check on just how “accessible” your marketing ideas are if you ask for feedback.

After all, a few years from now, you’ll likely be selling more of your products to these folks than a card-carrying culinary grad.