The Marketing Mix

As a part of my business class/Institutional Foodservice, Production, and Management dietetic internship rotation, we are required to develop a breakfast marketing campaign. The reason for this project is to incorporate the marketing mix and to essentially improve breakfast sales at the Taziki’s Mediterranean café in the WVU Mountainlair. We are required to speak with the management for advice on what’s working and what’s not working within their breakfast menu and customer foundation. As an ISPP dietetic intern and graduate student, I am also required to apply this information to my Management Quality and Process/Performance Improvement Project, as well.

So, to manage marketing activities, managers must deal with variables relating to the marketing mix and the marketing environment. The marketing mix is defined as the specific combination of marketing elements used to achieve an organization’s objectives and to satisfy the target market. The marketing mix decision variables are product, price, place, and promotion. The marketing environment variables are political, legal, regulatory, societal, economic, competitive, and technological forces.

Product

A product can be a good, service, or an idea. Even though the manufacturing of products is not a marketing activity, research on customer needs and product design is. Product decisions focus on which products to develop, which current products to promote, and which products to discontinue. The term new product means it is a genuine innovation because it has not been served commercially yet. The term new to the chain, like McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, are really an imitation of a successful product offered by another chain restaurant, like KFC’s chicken nuggets.

Price

Price is the amount of money charged for a product. Price competition has become very common in foodservice operations. Marketing managers usually are involved in establishing pricing policies for different products because consumers are concerned about the value obtained in the exchange. Price is a critical component of the marketing mix and often is used as a competitive tool. Price also helps establish a product’s image. The goal is to set the price at a point that customers perceive value, yet the company achieves the volume and profit it desires.

Promotion

Promotion is used to facilitate exchanges by informing prospective customers about an organization and its products. Promotion is used to increase public awareness about a new product, or to renew an interest in a product that is declining in popularity. The level of advertising in fast-casual dining, like Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, has become quite large.

Place

In marketing, place refers to the location, the place where food or services are offered. Increasingly, food is prepared somewhere else. Food manufacturers are preparing, packaging, and distributing menu items to restaurants and contract companies. Customers are noticing an increase in mobile carts and food trucks. This is giving the public more options when they are away from home- and at an affordable price as well.

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Microsoft Word - The Marketing Mix

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A SWOT Analysis for a Marketing Project

 

SWOT-Analysis

A useful method that organizations use to help them determine which goals to establish at the departmental level is called a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a tool used to identify strengths and weaknesses and to examine opportunities and threats employees face in the organization. Conducting a SWOT analysis helps management to focus on specific activities and set goals for those areas where the organization is the strongest and has the greatest opportunities to achieve success at.

This type of analysis is best conducted by a team, but can be directed by individuals as well. But, as I’ve stated in previous blog entries- “Two heads are always better than one.” Performing a SWOT analysis requires the team/individual to complete three tasks:

          Gathering facts– research what you’re doing

          Reviewing facts– go over your research you’ve compiled

          Sorting facts– organize and discard/keep useful information

Once these three activities are completed, the organization will need to answer questions about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Consider strengths from your point-of-view, as well as from the points of view of the organization, customers, and stakeholders. Also, think of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to your competitor. A way to determine opportunity areas is to look at strengths with an eye for building on them, or to look at weaknesses to determine whether eliminating any of them could create opportunity.

For this rotation within the Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP), graduate students/dietetic interns are required to review the Management Quality and Process/Performance Improvement (MQPPI) objectives. We are to discuss breakfast sales with the General Manager(s). Then, with information from these 2 sources, we are responsible to for the development of a marketing campaign to improve breakfast sales. The undergraduate students in our groups are also contributing to the project by applying the 4 P’s of marketing (Price, Product, Place, and Promotion). Overall, this project will count towards the 80 hours for my MQPPI project(s) section within this rotation.

The objectives for the ISPP MQPPI project include:

          Creating a Quality and Process/Performance Improvement analysis based on data of quality and process indicators

          Creating a Quality and Process/Performance Improvement plan based on indicators

          Managing the implementation of Quality and Process/Performance Improvement procedures

          Evaluating new Quality and Process/Performance Improvement procedures for effectiveness

          Producing a Quality and Process/Performance Improvement Report:

o   A study report of the Quality and Process/Performance Improvement project and the related culminating experience

My first plan of action for this project is to apply a SWOT analysis of the breakfast sales at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café in the WVU Mountainlair. I aim to address what the strengths and weaknesses are within the breakfast menu and its targeted audience. In addition to this, I will also address what opportunities that the breakfast menu could potentially have and how I could assist in that happening. And lastly, I will also investigate and report what the potential and/or existing threats are to the sales of breakfast. The final report is due the week of July 22nd, 2013.

Questions to ask in a SWOT analysis:

Strengths

          What does Taziki’s Mediterranean Café (including breakfast sales) do well?

          What advantages do they have?

          What relevant resources can they access?

          What do they do for their customers that exceed their expectations?

          What do they do better than their competition?

          What do other people see as their strengths?

Weaknesses

          What does Taziki’s Mediterranean Café (breakfast sales) do badly?

          What could they improve?

          What should they avoid?

          Where are they lacking in customer service?

          What does their competition do better than them?

Opportunities

          What trends do they see that could boost demand for their products/services over the next five years?

          What opportunities do they think will emerge because of what is going on in the community?

          How might technology help them?

          What change could occur in the future that could benefit Taziki’s Mediterranean Café?

Threats

          What trends do they see that might hurt demand for their products/services over the next five years?

          What obstacles are they facing?

          Do they have cash flow problems?

          What might threaten them because of what is going on in the community?

          What change could occur in the future that would hurt Taziki’s Mediterranean Café?

swot analysis marketing

Will Children Be Attracted to Caffeinated Gum?

Caffeinated Gum?

Wrigley’s gum, the national gum company powerhouse, will be launching a new chewing gum next month with added caffeine. This new gum, called Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, is supposedly only to be targeted towards an adult population. We’ll see if that sticks (no pun intended)…  

The gum looks like it’s going to have about 40mg of caffeine per piece of gum. This is about half the amount of caffeine in 1 cup of coffee. So, on one hand there’s a small amount of caffeine in the stick of gum. But, on the other hand, what if you chew multiple pieces of gum per day? That’s a lot of caffeine that can add up really quick. And knowing Americans and our problems with portion control, I could see a lot of people consuming a lot of caffeine without trying even hard. It’s bad enough that healthcare providers are currently advising people to cut back on caffeine. But, with this added source- I think people really need to be careful and aware of what they’ll be consuming.

Normally people should not ingest more than 200-300 mg of caffeine per day. When people consume more than this, side effects are associated like shakiness, sleep problems, and GI disturbances.

The new gum will be sold in convenience stores and food retailers all over America. This isn’t the first caffeinated gum to hit the market though but, it’ll be the first from Wrigley’s brand and its associated marketing power behind it.  

Energy drinks have become an in-demand product over the years. According to Euromonitor International, a global market research firm, U.S. gum sales are down 3.8% since 2008, while sales of energy drinks are up 41% during the same period. Wrigley’s sales make up more than half the gum market, according to Euromonitor.

Again, Wrigley claims that it intends to market the gum to consumers age 25 and older. A warning label is placed on the back of the gum package saying it’s “not recommended for children.” The public should be concerned about this. In October, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against energy drink maker Monster Beverage after a 14-year-old girl died of cardiac arrest. The suit charges that she had 2 of the drinks in 24 hours before her death. The FDA has also started a probe into whether there are deaths tied to another energy drink, Five Hour Energy.

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wrigleys caff gum

RDs and Restaurant Opportunities

Exciting Restaurant Opportunities

Menu labeling laws are creating new jobs for RDs in nutrition analysis, menu development, and more. Despite challenging economic times, people are eating out more than ever.

Obviously, today’s eating-out scene isn’t what it used to be. It’s no longer an occasional treat. In fact, it’s become mainstream. Part of the reason is that reason is that restaurants are reaching more people in more powerful ways. Social media, big-batch couponing, and targeted marketing and advertising are wildly popular, and restaurants often promote nutrition and health-related messages.

Food is a competitive business, and restaurants stand out offering what people want. Weight-conscious consumers demand tasty, low-fat, low-carb, and low-calorie. Eco-conscious customers seek restaurants that promote social responsibility and sustainability and offer local selections. Health-conscious clientele ask for nutrition and allergy info as well as options for special diets such as low sodium, vegan, gluten-free, and oil free. In fact, according to a National Restaurant Association (NRA) survey of 1,800 chefs, health/nutrition, gluten-free/allergy-free fare, children’s nutrition, and healthful kids’ meals are among the 20 hottest restaurant trends of 2012.

The sky’s the limit for RDs in restaurants nowadays. Some of the most important roles RDs can play in the restaurant industry include providing nutrition information, developing menus for special needs customers, helping with food safety and label regulation compliance, and marketing.

Nutrition analysis is one of the many menu-consulting services RDs can provide to restaurants. Others include recipe creation, menu development, recipe makeovers for improved nutrient profiles, identification and development of selections that meet guidelines for specific diets and dietary restrictions, adaptation of recipes for health conditions, and assistance with increasing perceived healthfulness of menus.

RDs with strong culinary backgrounds are ideal for assisting restaurants with developing new flavor profiles and ingredient combinations while meeting calorie and nutrient targets, sourcing fresh/local or unusual ingredients, and even helping with food budgeting. RDs also can train staff on topics that bring together nutrition and culinary arts in unique and interesting ways.

Menu development is another new avenue for RDs in today’s food industry. Niche markets provide consulting opportunities for RDs, like identifying and designing gluten- and allergy-free menu options; developing low-carb or low-fat dishes; promoting healthful kids’ meals; procuring local, organic, or sustainable ingredients; and developing vegetarian/vegan fare.

Developing, defining criteria for, and implementing special dietary meal, such as heart-healthy choices, are other opportunities requiring RDs expertise. In some cases, programs with nutrition criteria already exist, and the restaurant simply needs help identifying and developing menu items that meet the criteria. One example is the NRAs Kids LiveWell program, which already has established criteria for its participating menu items.

Another critical area of opportunity for RDs in the restaurant industry is food safety. Becoming ServSafe certified is one way to get your foot in the door. RDs also can become involved with state-specific compliance measures with the department of health, front- and back-of-the-house food safety training programs, food allergen labeling, and food allergy protocol training, which entails the prevention of allergen cross-contamination.

Food Safety at its finest!

RDs with experience in public relations and marketing are valuable additions to restaurant teams. For example, experts in customer relationship management give restaurants an edge with the use of social networking tools and social influence marketing. Being the healthy voice of a restaurant can be accomplished through marketing materials, becoming a spokesperson, interviews, food demos, tastings, seminars, workshops, health fairs, lectures, and trade shows.

RDs are in high demand to help restaurants comply with menu labeling laws. In addition to providing soon-to-be-required nutrition information, like calorie counts on menus, menu boards, food display tags, and at drive-thrus, restaurants will need assistance understanding health claims, FDA legislation, requirements, exemptions, and recommendations. Chain food establishments, including grocery store cafés and convenience stores, as well as those managing vending machines soon need to comply with the laws too. These businesses may know less about menu labeling than traditional restaurants and will be receptive to RDs expertise.

Despite mixed study findings on the effectiveness of menu labeling on food choices and behavior and its influence on the obesity epidemic, no one can ignore the fact that people want nutrition information. They also want healthful, tasty, balanced meals. Smart restaurants appreciate the value that dietitians bring to the table and understand the importance of customer loyalty. For nutrition professionals to effectively sell their services to restaurants, they need to be armed with persuasive evidence that illustrates their value.

RDs make the perfect partners for restaurants that care about the accuracy and quality of nutrition information they provide. A restaurant needs to protect its credibility. Restaurant nutrition consulting involves a high level of skill, knowledge, education, experience, and responsibility, and RDs are the best fit to ensure that nutrition information is accurate and doesn’t mislead consumers. And if food labels or nutrient claims are involved, RDs are familiar with FDA regulations.

RDs understand the bottom line.

RDs know that a restaurant is a business, and businesses must turn a profit. They know that being sensitive to the financial challenges of restaurateurs is an important part of forging a successful working relationship. When setting fees, a little creativity and flexibility regarding bulk pricing, package deals, and other compromises may, depending on the situation, result in a win-win.

RDs are also aware that chefs are passionate about the tools they create and may be resistant to standardizing recipes and following guidelines that ensure consistency and accuracy in recipe analysis. It’s important to respect the need for creativity and agree on ways to retain the food’s high quality while providing accurate, reliable information.

As for nutrition professionals, there is no better time to explore career opportunities in the restaurant industry. Restaurateurs need our expertise on many levels to provide healthful foods and accurate nutrition information in creative, innovative ways during a time when obesity and chronic disease is at an all-time high. Without a doubt, our generation has to make a difference….

RDs can be in the most unexpected places in your favorite restaurant!