In 2022, it is common for restaurants and food service operators to be constantly approached by vendors selling their tech wares. POS systems, reservation software, online ordering systems – you name it. Although most restaurant vendors do use some form of technology (95 percent of restaurateurs think it improves business efficiency), they won’t speak to every single vendor they’re approached by.
Tech-savvy guests now have the expectation of a more streamlined and automated dining experience (73 percent of guests say technology improves the dining experience). The pandemic pushed restaurants to adopt this type of technology that would keep them afloat and increase razor-thin profit margins. Long story short, the restaurant tech is here to stay. In fact, 69 percent of restaurant operators use multiple types of restaurant technology.
At this point, selling to restaurants and food service operators seems like a no-brainer. In many cases, it is an obvious sell, but the issue is that now, you are facing more competition than ever.
The restaurant tech space is crowded, and so is the restaurant industry (there are over 1 million restaurants and foodservice establishments in the U.S.). Even if you have a unique offering, you can still get swallowed by the sheer amount of competition. Between inflation, supply chain issues, the world reopening after the pandemic, and a crowded market, everyone is trying to stay afloat and one step ahead of their competition.
If you’re a restaurant or vendor, how do you stand out? The answer: competitive intelligence.
What is competitive intelligence (and why you need it)
Competitive intelligence (CI) is the act of collecting and analyzing actionable data and information about competitors and the marketplace to form a business strategy. With this information, businesses can understand the environment they are operating in, and what opportunities and challenges they are faced with.
Competitive intelligence will mean different things for different businesses. Both restaurants and vendors want to understand the ins and outs of the competition vying for their customers. Marketplaces and customers being served can be more deeply understood through competitive intelligence.
Vendors can use competitive intelligence to understand what other businesses are selling, who has similar products, missed opportunities, and when it’s time to pivot and differentiate. Product managers, marketers, sales reps, and executive leaders are just a few people on your team that could benefit from this type of information.
Competitive intelligence goals
With more competition than ever, businesses are continuing to invest in competitive intelligence. With everyone investing in competitive intelligence, how do you know if this investment is actually working for your business? Consider setting goals to monitor this process and know when you are hitting your desired milestones. Here is a non-exhaustive list of CI goals:
- Improve market positioning – How do you get your potential customers to see the value in your product? Potential customers won’t give you the time of day unless they can immediately see that there is value in what you are offering. When your marketers and sales team is armed with competitive intelligence, they are familiar with competitors, and therefore well equipped to gain attention from prospects. Improving market positioning allows your team to develop the differentiated value of your offering.
- Customer retention – Acquiring new customers is something to celebrate, and so is being able to retain existing customers. It’s more difficult to gain new customers than keep existing ones; therefore, you don’t want your competition stealing away your customers. Even if a customer is paying your subscription or has a contract with you, they will likely be contacted by your competition still. You cannot hide your customers from your competition, but you can be aware of what other businesses are offering with competitive intelligence.
- Make sales – Making sales is a pretty good indicator that your competitive intelligence is a success. If you’re outselling your competition, then you likely know how to pitch better and communicate your product’s differentiated value. On top of this, making consistent sales is also likely a result of reaching other competitive intelligence goals, such as improving your marketing position and optimizing product roadmaps.
- Optimize product roadmaps – Product managers are in charge of figuring out what to build and how to build it – and it would be silly to do this without competitive intelligence. Your offerings need to bring something unique to the table, and this cannot be done without knowing what your competition is up to. Product roadmaps can be optimized when product managers are equipped with CI.
- Set long-term business strategy – To continuously stay ahead of your competition, you’ll need to look past short-term goals and plan out a long-term business strategy. Competitive intelligence will inform executives and decision-makers on how to produce and implement long-term strategies to ensure business success.
Competitive intelligence and restaurant data
Gathering and analyzing data on market factors, competition, and customers is a key part of competitive intelligence. In the restaurant industry, there is a copious amount of data to sort through, and you definitely don’t need all of it. A massive swath of data is actually quite useless and doesn’t necessarily provide the insight that your team needs to keep a competitive edge.
At Brizo Foodmetrics, we help foodservice and restaurant tech businesses optimize their sales processes and drive revenue growth through actionable, data-rich insights and analytics. Our foodservice market analytics will help you outplay your competition; no matter how saturated the space is. Brizo FoodMetrics is more than just generic data – it’s BIG data analytics for hungry foodservice suppliers that will satisfy your cravings for growth.