The food and beverage (F&B) sector have humble origins. People naturally experienced pangs of hunger as they went about their daily routine. The F&B business stepped in to satiate people’s desire for food and drink. And as the demands grew, so did the offerings of the food and beverage sector. The F&B business is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today and any new aspiring entrant should keep the following in mind.
Benjamin Franklin had said centuries ago, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” These words of wisdom are relevant even today. A company aspiring to venture into or expand its F&B footprint should draw a detailed roadmap of where it is positioned and headed, in the backdrop of its target audience and competition.
An old adage goes thus, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” To begin with, a business should attempt to understand the market dynamics and behaviour of the consumers by taking on what it is prepared to handle and reaching out to a specific group of people. At the same time, a business should not lose sight of the larger picture and equip itself with the ability to scale up and expand upon existing processes and systems.
An F&B business must have a unique selling proposition (USP) to differentiate itself from the competitors. The uniqueness could either be a specific product or a service proposition. A concept without a unique story would fade away without leaving a trace. For example, this Chippendale café offers a unique “post-canteen canteen” dining experience to its customers with their Bauhaus inspired interiors and bold, experimental flavours.
The F&B business is a people-oriented business that is centred on adapting to ever-shifting consumer interests and expectations. It should demonstrate the flexibility to improve and adapt its product basket over a period of time. Businesses should also be open about expanding into new areas if the customer so demands. In other words, the business plan should be adaptable to changes in market dynamics.
The team is a huge part of a successful F&B business as it does the humdrum work and is also the face of the company. The business should ensure that it chooses the right candidates who mirror the enthusiasm and goals of the company. It is also important to develop a culture that fuels team spirit as when employees feel connected with each other and with the company, they would be able to give their best.
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand,” said Howard Schulz, the former CEO of Starbucks. F&B companies should invest their time and energy in creating a space in the consumers’ minds and evoking a positive emotional response. They should capitalize on the power of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to establish and maintain relationships with the customers.
To conclude, the F&B industry is here to stay as food is the key to human survival. But individual F&B players will rise and fall, depending on their vision and business acumen.