Unlocking independent operators: how market data connects you

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Brizo FoodMetrics brings you market intelligence and foodservice insights to help you access partners you never thought possible. Discover how you can use independent operators to continue expanding your local market share.

When most people think about the foodservice industry, chain restaurants usually come to mind first. However, there are a number of other types of establishments, many of which which go underserved and could be key to benefiting your business.

Independent operators are just one of those niche groups. Because they’re often overlooked, it’s traditionally been difficult to find comprehensive data on independent operators to narrow them down as qualified lead prospects.

Thankfully, Brizo FoodMetrics provides market intelligence for foodservice vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors so they can save time and money sourcing high-quality leads.

In fact, Brizo FoodMetrics covers more than 1.5 million foodservice locations across the United States and Canada, and that granular data can be absolutely invaluable to any business trying to support foodservice establishments.

But what are independent foodservice operators? What’s the difference between chain restaurants and independent operators? Are there specific benefits to catering to independent operators?

Before we show you how Brizo can help you access these kinds of valuable leads, let’s go over the basics.

What are independent foodservice operators?

At their most basic, independent operators are restaurants that are created and run by their owner. Without the connection to an existing brand or other chains, the owner maintains full control over the operation.

They can institute changes without having to ask for permission. Everything from branding and menu selection to choosing the restaurant’s theme is totally up to the owner. In many cases, this flexibility leads to things like seasonal or rotating menus, specialized menus, or menu items that use unique, high-quality ingredients.

These operators could include any type of business that falls under these guidelines, including non-traditional restaurants (i.e., catering companies, off-site and pop-up kitchens, seasonal events, food trucks, etc.). Unfortunately for many of these operators, they’re often overshadowed by bigger foodservice establishments.

For the sake of clarity, we should note that Brizo considers any business with fewer than 5 locations to be an independent operator. This often means that these independent operators have unique attributes compared to chain restaurants.

The difference between chain restaurants and independent operators

Restaurants (especially big chains and franchises) usually have their own kitchens on-site, often attached to their dining rooms. In many cases, these enterprise-level businesses overshadow smaller, niche-market options like independent operators.

However, just because independent operators are smaller, doesn’t mean that they’re any less valuable as qualified leads, especially if you’re a small or mid-sized company looking to reach similarly-sized foodservice operations.

Possibly the biggest difference between approaching independent operators and chain restaurant leads is the level of decision-making power. With independent operators, you’re more likely to deal directly with the business owner. Meanwhile, if you’re talking to a franchise owner, it’s likely they’ll need to run purchasing decisions by their corporate head office.

The benefits of catering to independent foodservice operators

Depending on what part of the foodservice industry you’re servicing, there are a number of benefits to targeting independent operators.

For example, suppliers can benefit from using independent operator data to narrow the focus of their prospecting. If you’re aiming to service niche parts of the foodservice market, like farm-to-table restaurants, independent operator data can be invaluable to you.

Often, independent operators source many of their own ingredients. Because of this, you may be able to offer them bulk discount opportunities that they can’t access on their own. In turn, this makes you more valuable to them.

With the state of inflation these days, rising food costs have a dramatic impact on independent foodservice operators. Over 75% of independent operators say rising costs are their biggest operational challenge.

Access to up-to-date data on independent operators can also help you avoid certain challenges when trying to interact with these smaller operations.

For example, when considering locations with smaller teams, shorter hours of operation, or themed seasonal events, having accurate, frequently updated data helps you approach the right people at the right times.

Types of places that could be considered independent operators

We’ve already talked about a few different establishments that could be independently operated. Let’s consider a more comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list:

Now that you understand a bit more about the types of foodservice establishments that you might want to leverage as independent operators, let’s talk about how Brizo can make those goals a reality.

✨Using Brizo to target independent operators

We know you’re hungry for some practical examples, so let’s consider the scenario of a distributor or manufacturer in Florida who sells seasonal foodservice necessities (i.e., themed napkins, table toppers, interior or exterior decorations, etc.).

Traditionally, you’d most likely start by approaching major foodservice chains as prospects, but with minimal success. Chains often create heavily branded seasonal decor for their restaurants. However, smaller, independent operators usually don’t have a lot of time to plan or execute such aesthetics in addition to managing their business operations.

So, using Brizo’s filters, we can begin to narrow our search. We’ll start by selecting only independent operators (1-5 locations) whose ambiance is either themed or family friendly (or both). Next, we’ll specifically target the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach region.

In seconds, you can see that over 2,900 independent locations fit these criteria. It’s the perfect place to start narrowing down some high-quality prospects without having to dig through hundreds or thousands of totally unqualified leads.

Filters Used: Establishment Type, Ambiance, Metropolitan Area

For our second example, imagine you’re a cattle farmer in Texas. You’re overseeing every aspect from pasture to plate, with a keen focus on quality. Your products are undeniably top-tier; yet, they’re only available in select quantities. For such premium offerings, independent operators could be your ideal partners in the foodservice landscape.

With that in mind, we can use Brizo to narrow down Texas into the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land region. We can then select only independent operators that use beef in their menus. This means you might be able to leverage these prospects for a number of different cuts of beef, depending on their individual needs.

And best of all, in a few seconds, you can see that there are 6,898 different prospects for you to contact. That’s still quite a bit, so let’s narrow it down to just restaurants serving steaks. With that additional criteria, the number drops to a much more manageable 449 options.

You now have well over 400 top-quality prospects to reach out to, all right in your own backyard. That’s the magic of Brizo.

Filters Used: Establishment Type, Metropolitan Area, Ingredients -> Meat & Poultry

Leveraging the untapped potential of independent operators

Let Brizo FoodMetrics show you the true power of foodservice market intelligence and actionable insights

Ready to redefine your foodservice market strategy?

With Brizo, you’re not just tapping into data. You’re leveraging a powerful tool that’s been proven to reduce prospecting time by over 75%, boost your sales and marketing team’s productivity, and significantly increase revenue.

Discover how targeting independent operators can be your game-changer. Unlock new market opportunities and elevate your business today.