Industry Insights

Meeting the Changing Needs of Consumers

By Jennifer Sgro-Stovall

Share Tweet

How marketing basics can help you capture more business, generate more traffic and increase sales!

Our eating habits are changing. We no longer sit at the family table every night for the main meal of the day. Kids are no longer told to eat what is served, or go without. In fact, kids today are known to have an equal say in not only what we eat, but when and where we eat, as well. And you know they’re going to choose eating out.

Eating habits may have become much more democratic, but they’re also more fragmented. Eating alone is on the increase. For us busy adults, 44% of our eating happens alone. Add to that the fact that 48% of all adult eating is actually snacking between meals, and we have the perfect environment for fast, convenient foods enjoyed outside the home.

Whether you’re a grocery chain, a quick service restaurant, a fast food outlet or a convenience store, it’s time to revisit 3 marketing basics that can help you capture more of the modern consumer’s business, generate more traffic and increase sales:

  1. Cross-Selling: offering options that go with the main item – take advantage of the 6 most profitable words ever asked, “Would you like fries with that?”

  2. Up-selling: offering customers the chance to upgrade a menu item or “supersize” it.

  3. Bundling: grouping similar products together and offering them at a discounted price, like a combo meal.

None of the above is new. But why are they important to talk about now? Because these tactics are not just revenue generators, they meet the changing needs of modern consumers. Let’s take a look at menu items that really lend themselves to cross-selling, upselling and bundling:

Cross-Selling – Make a Meal of It!

When cross-selling, focus on satisfying customer needs and wants, rather than on potential sales. Every year, a larger percentage of home meals are not prepared at home. Home meal replacement options, like rotisserie chicken, are filling a need here. And more than 11% of all adult food and beverage consumption today includes items consumed within one hour of purchase, so ready-made convenience is key.

But replacing a home meal is not only about selling a main course, but also about selling the components that make up a complete meal. A program like rotisserie chicken can generate 60-80% profit margins, and when combined with lucrative sides, profits soar. So, meet your customers’ needs for fast, prepared food by selling not just the chicken, but also cross-selling the rest of the meal. You can also use the bundling tactic here, by creating a value priced combo special. It’s up to you.

Upselling as a Lifestyle Choice — Make Mine a Premium!

Nothing better lends itself to upselling than our favourite beverage, coffee. Did you know that in the last 24 hours, 65% of Canadian adults drank coffee? And specialty coffee is on the rise from coast to coast? Since a full 35% of our cups are enjoyed outside the home, consumers are not just looking for coffee, they’re demanding specialty coffee on the go. A premium coffee program can generate gross profits of 80% or more. High margin coffee gets even more profitable when you add on-trend barista items like cold microfoam and custom hot foam options.

The same principal applies to soft serve and frozen yogurt. Canadians consumed over 58 million kilos of impulse single serve ice cream in 2014. Why not give them what they want, but take it to the next level, by adding a rainbow of exotic flavors and a candy delivery system to your frozen confections?

There’s cachet in drinking a premium cup of coffee, and true joy can be found in eating a dolled-up ice cream, so go ahead and upsell. Your customers demand it.

Bundled Impulse buys—Feeling a Little Peckish?

We’re a culture of snack lovers, and as we discussed above, almost half of all adult eating occurs between meals. Changing eating habits, including eating alone and on the go more often, means that snack options need to be more convenient and complete than ever before. The market needs and wants bundles.

Add-ons like selling a bag of pretzels to accompany a slush at a value combo price can accomplish many good things, including satisfying your customers, spawning repeat business and driving more revenue. With slushes generating 70-80% gross profit, there’s room to provide crowd-pleasing slush bundles to this country of snackers.

In light of modern trends in eating habits, why not revisit old school marketing tactics that work? Whether you’re a restaurant, grocery or convenience store, you can increase per transaction sales, maximize revenue, and even deepen customer relationships by using good old fashioned cross-selling, upselling and bundling.

What’s standing in your way?

Subscribe to the TFI newsletter!

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on the latest industry insights and unlock other exclusive content!

Industry Insights

Stay updated with the latest industry insights, news, and expert advice.

Exclusive Content

Unlock exclusive content, including recipes, guides, and more.

Other Articles you might like

Learn how to grow your business with our expert advice.

Elevate Your Culinary Experience
with TFI Canada

Discover top-tier commercial food equipment including fryers, combi ovens, grills and more designed to enhance your kitchen's efficiency and quality.