Visual food merchandising is one of the hottest trends in the catering, foodservice and hospitality industry today, which is the art of presenting your products in a way that makes your customers buy as well as bring your products to life with striking displays of freshness, color, quality and abundance.
An excellent food marketing program combined with cross-marketing strategies will help increase the sales of your restaurant or foodservice operations significantly, as well as drive customer satisfaction and return on business.
The benefits of eye-catching food merchandising displays and cross-marketing techniques are immediate. Sales will increase 15 to 300 percent if you’ve done a good job with your merchandising program. Your staff morale will also rise from the improved environment and satisfied customers.
Running a foodservice operation requires much more than displaying the usual information, such as the “special of the day.” As an operator, you must first consider what will attract your customers to your operation. Here are some basic marketing rules and tips to follow:
1. make it look appetizing
You need to build your food displays so that customers can see them from all angles of your facility. Use nothing but the freshest ingredients and colorful foods to get their attention. Display your food using uniquely shaped plates and plates with different textures. Use terracotta and other eco-friendly colors and incorporate natural wood and bamboo to create a more modern, clean and elegant image.
For example, the addition of a simple, thick wooden board placed inside a standard glass sandwich cabinet emphasizes to customers that the sandwiches were just made. Without the board, the sandwiches look bare and tousled, and it lets customers wonder how long they’ve been sitting there, as a glass and steel display case tends to evoke a feeling of cold and emptiness. The cutting board helps add warmth and life to the display unit.
2. Lay the products on an incline and use color
Food always displays best when placed in an inclined position rather than horizontal. Show your products to your customers! European-style slanted wooden shelves are an excellent merchandising tool for displaying breads, cakes, pastries, and other products, creating an attractive display to entice your customers to buy.
Color is one of the most important factors when it comes to food displays. Many food products tend to come from the brown and beige palettes, so you need to brighten up your operation with greens, reds, oranges, and yellows to create a fresh, healthy look as well. Consider looking at what items you may already have on hand in your kitchen, pantry, and warehouses that could add appetizing color and substance to your display.
3. Use cross-marketing techniques to increase sales.
For cafeterias and market operations, cross-marketing is an excellent opportunity to increase sales by putting the right foods together. Soups, sandwiches, and chips should be placed in the same area, while coffee and tea should be served alongside desserts. Side dishes and salads can be divided. For example, small salad containers can be packed and placed on ice next to the grill, as well as placed next to sandwiches. Also try different varieties of cream cheese alongside bagels, or fresh fruit and whipped cream alongside cake and ice cream. Coffee and tea are a great companion for bakery products. Sales of beautifully packaged coffee will skyrocket when placed next to bakery items.
4. Use the cash wrapping area
The cash wrapping area is a prime location for merchandising. Proper marketing of additional retail products in the cash wrapping area will help you increase your check average. Use your cash wrapping area for last-minute sales of coffee, soda, dessert, candy, and chocolate bars, and create an irresistible display of products that customers can’t refuse.
5. Proper signage points the way to increase revenue
Proper signage can help you tell customers what you need to say when you can’t offer personalized attention. It is very important to be clean, concise and direct when designing signage for your operation. Make food shopping as easy as possible for customers by providing proper signage that informs your customers of your products to purchase. Signage can be displayed in all shapes and sizes and should be used accordingly. Use mini branding cards to label and price your products, and write short item descriptions detailing the ingredients you used or your cooking method. If you insist on handwriting your signs, make sure they are legible and graphically attractive.