There’s no denying the fact that food connects people. It can break down barriers and foster bonds that last a lifetime. The sense-memory of a particular dish can instantly transport us back to a moment in time, evoking all the associated emotions.
Food is also one of the most ancient and primal human instincts. Our need to nourish ourselves is as fundamental as our need for shelter and clothing. It’s no wonder, then, that the food industry is one of the world’s most competitive and rapidly-changing industries. It is estimated that the food service industry can reach up to $4.2 trillion by 2024.
However, to succeed in this super-competitive landscape, you must have a clear and concise plan for how you want to expand your food business. It’s not only about what’s on your menu or how exquisite your packaging is but also about understanding the latest trends, your target audience, and a solid marketing strategy.
Here are some excellent strategies to expand your food business:
Take Your Restaurant to the Streets
Innovation in the food industry shouldn’t only be limited to perfecting the super bowl plating technique or excelling in molecular gastronomy. Sometimes, the most satisfactory way to get noticed is to take your brick-and-mortar business onto the streets. The changing economy and lifestyle preferences have made street food one of the fastest-growing segments in the food industry.
It is especially effective if you’re selling unique or artisanal products that can’t be found at your average grocery store. Street fairs, farmer’s markets, and food festivals are all great places to reach a wider audience and generate buzz for your business. You can start by purchasing mobile food carts and eventually graduate to food trucks once your business takes off. Studies reveal that the food truck market size has outperformed this year, in 2022, by hitting $1.2 billion. So, there’s surely scope.
Think Outside the Box
The possibilities are indeed limitless when it comes to expanding your food business. If you’re feeling stuck, it might be time to think outside the box. Considering the economic landscape and how society changes, you can’t depend on one channel to grow your business. You need to have a multi-faceted approach.
Plus, expanding to a different market can be a good move. Why not try selling your popular items to grocery stores? You can also tap into the corporate market by providing catering services or setting up a food truck in office parks.
Likewise, remain true to your brand and offer products or services that complement what you’re already doing. This way, you can reach a new group of customers without alienating your existing ones.
Do Some Research
Before taking the plunge and investing in expanding your food business, it’s essential to do your research. It includes everything from understanding the latest industry trends to knowing your target audience. Did you know that sustainable packaging and reduced water consumption are two of the biggest food trends right now?
Your research should also include a competitive analysis. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and identify any gaps in the market that you can fill. You’ll better understand strategies and how to position your business for success.
For instance, if you’re planning on starting a food delivery service, research the delivery options that are already available in your area. Find out what’s working and what’s not. It will help you create an efficient delivery service that meets your customers’ needs.
Get the Word Out There
No matter how impressive your products are, they won’t sell themselves. Customers run on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals, so spreading the word about your business is important.
There are numerous ways to generate buzz; the best part is that many are free. You can start by creating a strong social media presence and posting engaging content. You can also collaborate with other businesses, write guest blog posts, or hire influencers for reviews.
Hosting events is another excellent way to get people talking about your business. How about a free tasting session or a cooking demonstration? You can use these events to introduce new products, build customer relationships, and gather feedback.
However, gathering positive reviews will become effortless if you offer good quality, delicious food items. So, make sure you’re serving up dishes that are delicious, unique, and memorable.
Engage with Your Audience
Among the chaos of surpassing your competitors and making a name for yourself, it’s easy to forget that customers are the most important element of any business. Show your audience that you care about them more than just making a sale.
Your customers should be at the front center of everything you do, from your recipes to your marketing campaigns. After all, they’ll be the ones eating your food and spreading the word about your business.
So, make an effort to understand their needs. What are their dietary preferences? What are their favorite flavors? What kind of experience are they looking for when they come to your restaurant?
The answers to these questions will help you create a dining experience tailored to their needs and wants. It will also help you develop marketing campaigns that speak to them directly. And when you’re ready for big data, you can use surveys and customer feedback to gather more information about your target audience.
Invest in Quality
As the common adage goes, you get what you pay for – quality is everything. And when it comes to food, this couldn’t be truer. Your customer will return ONLY in search of an EXCEPTIONAL experience.
To create an exceptional experience, you need to start with high-quality ingredients. It doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, but you should be willing to invest in quality products.
The same goes for kitchen equipment, dining furniture, and serving ware. If you want your customers to come back, you need to give them a reason to do so. Chipped plates and plastic utensils just won’t cut it.
You can also enhance your customers’ experience by investing in technology. Online ordering, delivery apps, and contactless payment are all excellent ways to make your business more convenient and accessible.
Unarguably, people will always need to eat no matter what the trend is or how the economy is doing. And that’s terrific news for you because it means there’s always room for expanding your food business.
Of course, starting a food business is no easy feat. But with the right strategies, you can set your business up for success. However, before jumping in, remember that such ventures come with their fair share of risks and challenges. So, when devising your expansion strategy, be vigilant.