Unsexy but powerful foodservice product marketing

Any guess what these foodservice products are?

  • MH 6/7/1.3Z SPCL DEL SHY DCF//
  • 5 OZ SLICED 4X4 WA

Me neither.

But they are names of important products offered by brands we all know and love.

No restaurant operator would ever use these terms to search the internet for a product.  So, continuing to post these secret code-word product names is bordering on marketing neglect.  Fact is Google, Amazon and other internet search engines are rapidly becoming the most common way for operators to find new products.

The code words above harken back to the computing dark ages of the early 2000’s — but seemingly have a long after-life!  And while many manufacturers have spelled out things better in recent years, abbreviations like SS, GF, IW, SMK, PP are still common in product names on many foodservice websites.

The ongoing practice of search-unfriendly product naming became more apparent recently while working with the team at RestaurantProductFinder.com, a search engine being developed focused exclusively on foodservice products.

After reviewing literally tens-of-thousands of product names, here are some considerations to make your product names more valuable to Google, RestaurantProductFinder — heck, even your own website search function:

  • Call the product what it is using common terms a typical human might use. “Chicken soup with gluten-free noodles” will reach the top of search results before “Acme Poultry naturally harvested Chix-brand soup with GF noodles.”
  • Yes, product brand names are important. But they matter little during searches.  Most operators look for a type of product during general searches.  They’ll come directly to your website if they have a brand preference… so adding the brand to the product name is wasting valuable “searchable” space.
  • The same straightforward approach works for the product description. This means eliminating hyped-up rhetoric about how delicious the product is (people will assume that).  Rather, focus on quantifiable attributes (high yield, single portion size, etc.) and applications (ideal for pizza, sandwiches, etc.).

Yes, this is all mind-numbingly unsexy.  But in our search-obsessed world, technology doesn’t care about sexy.  Computers are good at finding the most relevant terms to ultimately bring customers to your website.