What to Consider When Price is Not the Only Thing Customers are Considering
A common misconception among foodservice providers is price is the most important and sometimes only consideration among consumers. While price is fundamental to a customer’s decision, it is imperative to understand the variations of factors from person to person impacting their choices.
Many groups are realizing personalization is another key factor affecting the market. Personalization doesn’t mean tailoring options to each individual or demographic, but providing an alternative to a set menu. This can be something simple like putting sides to choose from in their own section instead of making the consumer ask if they can “sub steamed vegetables for fries.” The ability to adjust a meal and make it healthier is also a big factor in creating value.
It can be allowing people self service options like salad bars or a vending machine style drink service where flavor variations can be chosen on their favorite sodas. These factors and more play into consumers’ opinions of value on an establishment. How they make it their own and unique each time they visit will keep them coming back.
People go out to eat for a variety of reasons from celebrations to relaxation away from the chaos a dinner at home can cause. Giving them flexibility from the menu to the presentation helps foodservice providers be remembered and appreciated.
According to the NPD Group, “foodies” and “restaurant regulars” make up 58% of the market and they are “more concerned about quality and freshness than about price and deals”. If an inexpensive item tastes cheap, then the value to the consumer is low and doesn’t garner interest or influence. Tapping into these success indicators for guests helps determine if they will recommend the venue in the future. It pushes the “it was good” crowd response to “you have to try it!”
The goal of foodservice professionals should be to change the message along with the consumer mindset from “price” to “value”. The understanding that value has a different meaning to different people is crucial to survival in the industry. Whether you represent a restaurant, educational institution, hospital or hotel, everyday foodservice decisions are influenced by price, but a price is only great if there’s substance behind it.