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4 Ways to Futureproof Foodservice Brands

4 Ways to Futureproof Foodservice Brands

In the good old days, the key to success for foodservice brands was straightforward. Set up shop in high-traffic areas, offer good food at a fair price, and you were almost guaranteed success and longevity. And although location, food quality and price still play a major role in your brand’s fate, it’s no longer that simple.

The new formula for financial success involves buzzwords such as accessibility, trust, personalization, and experience—not to mention the need for an engaged workforce that embodies and lives your brand’s mission every day. What modern foodservice brands understand is that it’s a new and growing reality in the era of the empowered, informed consumer.

In partnership with Accenture and Jefferies Financial Group, we recently conducted a national survey of restaurant-goers to determine what key benefits impacted how they chose where to eat, and how national brands perform on those benefits. However, we didn’t stop there. We then determined which benefits most strongly correlated with positive same-store sales. The results revealed key themes that reflect the importance of those so-called buzzwords and illustrate how it’s no longer as simple as location + good food + fair price = financial success.

  • Omnichannel is here to stay. Customers want to complete their transaction using their preferred method. Creating frictionless and consistent guest experiences across channels for engagement and transactions in mobile / digital, off premise / delivery, and pick-up in-store have never been more important. Continued investment in these capabilities will build brand relevance and provide new revenue streams to help offset declines of in-restaurant dining.
  • Value means more than low price. “Value” is the holistic experience of accessibility and quality, service, and price—and should be communicated consistently across every touchpoint.
  • Consumers translate “loyalty” as personalized experiences. Brands need to know their customer. Rewarding their loyalty with something impersonal, or an item on the menu they aren’t interested in may damage the relationship. Overhauling your loyalty programs with more personalized, experienced- based rewards, moving away from a pure ‘cash back,’ frequency-based incentive system will drive an emotional connection and create a more loyal consumer.
  • People investments are important to top & bottom line. Employees are brand ambassadors who can reinforce emotional connections to the brand. Reinvesting in restaurant labor (often with tax savings) despite minimum wage pressures to drive retention will ultimately yield gains in productivity and customer satisfaction.  

Regardless of where your brand is in its life stage, the above themes will be essential for financial success. For brands that haven’t yet started down this path, it’s not too late. For brands that have been investing in these areas will need to continue to invest and should already be thinking about what’s next.

Barkley US

May 30, 2019

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