Let’s face it, in an industry known for penny-profit, making a buck is getting harder and harder. In “younger” segments of commercial food service, like fast casual, unit count expansion is the #1 growth strategy employed by executives. And this works for a while. As segments mature, growth is harder to achieve. The darling fast casual segment recently dropped below its double-digit growth rates for the first time in recent history.
There’s an old adage that marketers use, “I know half of my marketing budget doesn’t work, I just don’t know which half.” That was once true. Clients had to rely on agency account directors or creative directors to translate results. Not necessarily the case anymore. In this age of analytics and big data, there are dozens of measurements to tell us what work works and what work doesn’t. But even as sophisticated as our ability to gather metrics has become, there is still no secret formula, no app or algorithm for generating ideas.
For a couple hundred years the production of coffee was kept secret in Yemen until the mid-1600’s when a clever and sleek Dutch navy boat was able to sail of the port of Java in Indonesia with a couple of live seedlings. The vessel was then off to the Royal Botanical Gardens of Amsterdam where the plant was reproduced and later used as a gift for King Louis the 14th of France. It was that coffee plant in Versailles, which became the ancestor to all other plants in the European continent.
Meredith’s food-focused marketing acumen is the result of years in account service and planning roles at foodservice, promotion and shopper marketing agencies, as well as an early career in brand management at Moët & Chandon and Terlato Wines. Her career bas been focused on building food & beverage brands from Boursin to Campbell’s Soup to Coca-Cola. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son, where she abides by Julia Child’s words, “If you are afraid of butter, use cream.”