Leveraging the web across business functions.
The Internet provides access to a never-ending network of tools that can be leveraged by foodservice professionals in a variety of ways. The volume of tools can be overwhelming, but focusing on the challenge you hope to solve or opportunity you hope to capitalize on is the key to finding and using these tools effectively.
At Marzetti Foodservice we realize technology serves a variety of purposes in terms of operating a business, however, there are three ways your end user may interact with your implementation of technology.
There are traditional and non-traditional ways to look at menu planning. The traditional way is through foodspotting, i.e. proactively seeking out competitor menus in and outside of your category, listening to online conversation between customers about your menu and the menu items they are looking for, and also looking through top recipe sites for inspiration. There are also new sites like Food Genius that have become an innovative resource to identify pairings and gauge the potential of adding new menu items. As described by Justin Massa, the founder and CEO of Food Genius, to Upstart Business Journal, Food Genius is the “comScore for dining out.”
Technology now has a major influence on what happens in the dining experience. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s Research & Knowledge Group, says that technology can provide operators a significant competitive advantage. Tools such as online ordering, ordering via kiosk, green-friendly emailed receipts, etc. are all examples of leveraging technology to improve the customer experience.
As an operator, distributor, or other foodservice professional you also can’t ignore what customers are saying about your business. Word of mouth, particularly in the foodservice space, can make or break a restaurant. Sites like Open Table are generating nearly twice as many restaurant reviews as Yelp. It’s critical to provide a great customer experience and then amplify that message across online networks.
Leveraging technology can result in upfront costs and some changes to operations; however, the successful use of technology can have a major positive impact on your business.