Food focus: 4 ways to match your marketing with your target audience post COVID-19

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

With marketing in the foodservice industry, it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. Especially after a global pandemic. Not only will your marketing approach need to change post-pandemic, but your business will need to also consider the different generations. From Baby Boomers to Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z; all of these customers have different dining attitudes, habits and preferences.

But, do not let this dishearten you. According to Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group: “What we’re finding now is that many macro trends are shared across generations. They might just manifest in different ways in terms of specific needs and operational executions, but the trends are very applicable across almost all demographics.” With that being said, read our article on how your business can match your marketing with the dining attitudes and expectations of your audiences now and post COVID-19.

Work on your brand image

You’ll need to refresh your brand image. South African customers seek quality food and beverages that not only taste good but provide an unforgettable experience. They want to converse about what they ar eating and why. They want to know if you have organic, freshly picked ingredients. They want to see how well you operate, how you care for your employees, and how the food is prepared, especially now.

Customers find these food stories appealing as it makes them feel good about where they are spendingtheir hard-earned money. But, it also makes them feel at ease as times have changed, and customers are more concerned about their and their family’s health. Always remember that customers aren’t only buying your food; they are also buying what it stands for, so be upfront about the precautions you’ve implemented to ensure you keep the health of them and your employees in mind.

Additionally, Demeritt explains that operators can pull from narratives such as local sourcing or sustainability. Another strategy is to showcase employees’ value as food artisans; remember to mention anything that adds value to the dish or experience – call it out on the menu. Customers want to see it.

Enhance your beverage menu

Demeritt believes that beverages are highly underutilised in foodservice, whereas it can bring in more revenue. According to Stats SA, “South Africans have a clear priority when it comes to drinks.”

Enhancing your beverage menu is exactly what your customers are looking for, more so Millennials and Gen Zs. These two specific generations are intrigued and eager to try natural foods and beverages, as well as craft items. So, if you’re trying to attract this type of demographic to your business, explore the highly profitable beverage category, which includes functional beverages with added protein. Consumers have increasingly viewed nutrient-dense beverages as snacks, and now as a meal.

Portion size is everything

Less is more when it comes to catering for health-conscious consumers.

They have grown to appreciate appetisers and nutritious snacks that are filling yet small. “Menu items that, in the past, might have been considered a meal could now be very relevant as a snack, so operators might want to have different types of sizing,” says Demeritt. “Some of the traditional dinner or lunch items might be optimal snacks if sized down a bit.” Eating habits are changing; this trend has grown to 75 percent of consumers snacking globally, especially with the young generation.

Snacks and smaller plates are a booming opportunity for the foodservice industry, so utilise them.

Attract procrastinators

Restaurant websites are the most used source for venue decisions, followed by mobile apps. Although Millennials are the most frequent users of these technologies, as Gen Z gets older, they will likely be tasked with venue decisions. All generations value restaurant accessibility, but convenience is particularly important to Gen Xers.

According to Demeritt, “consumers are waiting until the last minute not just because they don’t have time but because it’s not as much fun to plan what they’re going to eat tomorrow night. They don’t know what they’re going to feel like.”

Final thoughts

Customer behaviour has changed in the past year, but we also know that these four ways can be useful, helping you to impress your current and future target markets. At Nestlé Professional, we care just as much as you do about satisfying your customers. So, if you are looking to try a new dish or beverage after following these tips, take a look at Nestlé Professional’s food product range and choose what you wish to incorporate as a way to appeal to new customers. Of course, you want to retain customers and keep them coming back for more, so consider improving your menu for all.