Social media and foodservice: A conflict of terms?


      217 Foodservice and Social Media

The use of social media among manufacturers and distributors to communicate with foodservice operators has been hit-or-miss at best. Often, it just doesn’t exist at all!

But operators are hungry for social media communications served up the right way. So says Dave Miesse, the executive director of the Association for Foodservice Distributor Representatives, who works with independent operators every week.

Dave sees what’s been working — and what doesn’t — as he travels around making sales call with distributor sales reps (DSRs). Here are highlights from this week’s podcast interview with Dave:

  • DSRs don’t use social media for business purposes — and never will for the foreseeable future. DSRs won’t tip their hat to competitors about what they’re suggesting to customers — the competition is simply too fierce on the street.
  • Brands, however, have a new opportunity to collaborate on social media campaigns with distributor companies.  A distributor’s direct connections with operators in a local market can be more effective, targeted and measurable than a shotgun social media approach a manufacturer might use on its own. Of course, not all distributors get it — so choose distributor partners that truly want to build business together.
  • Social media’s biggest draw for operators is to gain knowledge. Not promotions, rebates or giveaways. Operators tell Dave what they value most from direct connections with manufacturers are advice, recipe ideas and other valuable content to help them run their business. Forget the long-shot drawing for a Tahiti trip!  Rather, invest in providing day-to-day ideas to help operators draw in crowds and improve profitability.

April Planning Considerations

  • Got schools covered? Now is the time to start loading your reps up with school nutrition trends, menu ideas and peeks at new products that school foodservice directors need in the fall.
  • Going to NRA show next month? Send an email and let’s meet on the floor.  Nothing like a brief chat over a free hot dog.