When trends don’t matter in foodservice marketing

It’s that time of the year when predictions about restaurant trends for the coming year start to emerge.

If I read it right, we’ll all be eating more cage-free eggs seasoned with GMO-free Sriracha with a side of Acai and a bottle of cold-brew coffee that’s all delivered by an Uber driver.

So much for pizza, burgers and beer — the three food groups of the American diet (OK, maybe I’m describing my diet).

But none of these trends matter much in foodservice marketing unless you explain to restaurant managers and cafeteria directors how your products make it easy to access these trends.  Few will dedicate the time to put the dots together to figure out how to use lentils with your soup base (yes, lentils continue to the darling of legumes again this year).

Of course, trends come and go.  It’s a tad risky to spend a lot of marketing dollars on creating content until you know a trend has staying power.  So, you might consider…

  • A slide show. Online slide shows are among the simplest ways to inspire operators with ideas.  They’re fast, easy to create and, most importantly, a popular attraction these days on the web.  Create your version of Five Simple Menu Ideas Using Our Biscuit Mix (operators always want products that can be used in multiple recipes).
  • Animated audio. Add a fun voice over to a slide show and you’ll really engage the audience.  Hearing an explanation of the nuances of how your menu ideas play to a particular trend really illuminates the slide show graphics.  This is one of the most popular techniques I use these days to create inspiration without spending a boatload of money.
  • Stop motion:  OK, admit it, you’ve watched that fast-paced recipe video on Facebook for the Nutella 3-ingredient brownies.   The video format fits well with social media and is relatively inexpensive to produce (gosh, I know someone who does these sorts of things).  While the format has its roots in consumer marketing, the basic concept works well in the restaurant world, too, where cooks and deli managers are looking for inspiring ideas to seize those trends.