Tag Archives: Meat

Attention, manufacturers and distributors: How to sell to restaurateurs

Starting Monday, we will feature excerpts from our interview with Janet Rine, owner of Caffe Moderne.

Our discussion centers on what it takes to earn the trust of an independent owner/operator.

Whether you sell meat, beverages, spices or mixes, you won’t want to miss it.

For now, we leave you for the weekend with a quote from Danny Meyer, the brains behind wildly successful restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and Union Square Cafe. From his book, Setting the Table:

“Be the best you can be within a reasonably tight product focus. That will help you to improve yourself and help your customers to know how and when to buy your product.”

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Experience is always the best teacher

No matter your age, one of the best ways to learn is to play. Recently we took this to heart and took it upon ourselves to understand our customers’ lives. One of our clients sells beef to supermarkets and restaurants, and we wanted to experience the challenges of creating fresh beef cuts that will appeal to consumers.

So we bought 20 pounds of shoulder clod and strip loin, popped in an instructional DVD from Canada’s Beef Information Centre and went to town.

First, we learned that the guys with knives on the video make it look a lot easier than it really is. It took a roomful of our heads and several rewinds of the segments before we were able to roughly imitate our customers’ craft.

Once you’ve experienced your customers’ challenges and victories, you will begin to have empathy for them. Once you experience empathy, you’re better able to speak their language and reach them with your message.

I’ve heard that really savvy investors like Warren Buffett experience the products and services of companies before taking major equity positions in them. Remember Victor Kiam? He liked his Remington shaver so much, he bought the company. Shouldn’t we be just as passionate about understanding our customers?

All I know is, we had a great time, we developed understanding and empathy, and we learned something about our customers together as a team.

Plus, how often do you get to eat your teaching tools? The strip steaks and chuck steaks we cut ourselves were quite satisfying.

I guess it’s just part of a day in the life of a place where understanding the target audience is priority one for everyone, from the business manager to the brand manager to the copywriter and the proofreader. The challenge is maintaining that focus. But having a little fun is one way to do just that.