Archive | April, 2012

CHD Expert’s Five Tips for success at the NRA Tradeshow

24 Apr

The 2012 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago is just around the corner, and this years event is expected to be one of the biggest and best on record. The NRA show is held at McCormick Place in down town Chicago. Lucky for us, the foodservice industries biggest event will take place only minutes away from CHD Expert’s US headquarters on Jefferson Street.  This year eight of our team members will be attending the show, including our CEO Paul Hagege who is coming from our global headquarters in France.  With an anticipated attendance of 58,000 industry professionals, over 1,500 exhibitors, and an extra-special key note speech by President Bill Clinton, the 2012 NRA show is sure to be an action pack weekend that should live up to the hype.

Because there is so much we want to accomplish in this four day period (May 5-8, 2012) we have developed an effective game plan in order to spend our time as efficiently as possible.  Now, while the exact details are reserved for our internal team, we wanted to share 5 Tips on how you too can have a positive experience at the NRA tradeshow.  Additionally, if you are going to be at the show and would like to set up some time to talk we’d love to meet you! Just give us a call or send us an email 1-888-243-0154

CHD Expert’s Five Tips for success at the NRA Tradeshow

1. Do your homework

  • Get an NRA exhibitors list and know who is going to be at the show
  • Create a list of companies you want to meet during the show
  • Create a list of sessions you want to attend
  • Prepare and rehearse your elevator pit

2.  Get to the show early to pick up your badge and attendee materials

  • Avoid the lines and last minute confusion. If you know you will be attending, buy your ticket online so you can simply show up and get your badge
  • Take a look at what’s inside the event bag and review the information. There could be special offers or addition sponsored events that might be worth attending
  • Take a look at the exhibitor floor map and identify where the booths are that you most want to visit

 3. Walk the floor with a purpose

  • Hit your most valuable targets first and identify who the best person is to speak with
  • Make a good first impression. You only get one
  • Everyone (yourself & everyone you speak with) will talk with hundreds or thousands of people and you should do your best to be remembered  
  • Take notes. Who you spoke with, what you spoke about, what they looked like, etc.
  • Walk with confidence and make sure you make your purpose known. Everyone is there exploring new business opportunities, do not be timid expressing your interest
  • Hand out your card, white paper or other marketing materials that would benefit your grater cause

4. Follow-Up Strategy

  • Establish how and when you will be following up with any contacts made
  • Follow up exactly in that manner. Good follow through and delivering on what you said is crucial in verifying your first impression
  • Refer to your notes to make sure you are on point

5. Enjoy yourself

  • “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

Independent Full Service Restaurants: Signs of Resiliency Through Tough Economic Times

18 Apr

According to CHD Expert Independent Full Service Restaurants in the USA Out number Major Chains Eight to One. Independently owned FSR restaurants on average bring in less revenue than chains, but their sheer volume makes them a big player in the restaurant industry.

If you think that Chili’s, IHOP and Applebee’s are taking over the full service restaurant (FSR) industry, think again. Independent FSR locations across the United States outnumber the major chains by eight to one.1 This is a bit surprising, as our streets and highways are seemingly lined with major chain restaurants. Still the independently owned FSR operators are holding their own during the worst of economic conditions and increased encroachment from the major chains.

How are they doing it? Consumers seem to enjoy the independent experience. This could be due to long-term loyalty the consumer has to their local neighborhood restaurant. Independent restaurants have a tendency to understand the regional cuisine and local tastes as well as preparation methods that consumers prefer. They also have the flexibility of changing their menu, offering more variety, whereas the chains do not. There is also a strong attraction by the consumer for the local décor and ambiance their local independent restaurants give them offering a strong level of comfort. With a high level of intimacy offered, service qualities extend to knowing the consumer’s name as well as their ordering history. The local Pub N’ Grub isn’t going away anytime soon. And there are many more of them to choose from.

Whatever the reason, the resilience of the local independent restaurant is unmistakable. But despite having many more locations, independents are dwarfed by the chains in dollar volume. Almost 62% of the independent FSR restaurateurs have less than $500,000 in annual sales; only 3% of chains are at or below this sales level. Over 46% of the full service restaurant chain units are netting $1-$2.5 million per year in annual sales.

Of particular interest on this note is the northeastern U.S. The northeastern states (Washington DC and north, including Pennsylvania) account for 10 out of the top 11 states with the highest density of independent FSR restaurants by percentage in the country. Only Alaska breaks into the top eleven.  In total, over 93% of FSR locations in this region are independently owned.1 

Chains versus Independent #Units

foodservice industry data 

 One might argue that the ethnic diversity of the northeastern states results in numerous specialty restaurants to service the various cultures here. By overlaying consumer demographics with independent restaurant footprints, we can get a clear understanding of the affect ethnicity has in the market. Certainly, this part of America is historically the oldest, and many of the independents in the region might have been handed down from generation to generation. One might also speculate that Manhattan and other major cities have skewed the numbers; as local ordinances, zoning laws and/or costly real estate have subdued the expansion of the conglomerates in this market.

It appears there are some markets that have the ability to keep the chain restaurants at bay and win the battle for market share with their experience of being both flexible and nimble to adapt and evolve in the foodservice market.

A better understanding of the independent market conditions will benefit both restaurant operators and suppliers/distributors who partner with them. The ability for food service providers to reach the independent operators has and continues to be a challenge. With the large number of independents in the food service industry, it will be critical for food service providers to leverage this information and increase their market share in the industry through direct independent operator outreach.

According to Cathy Kearns, General Manager at CHD Expert, a Chicago-based database marketing firm, Many of our customers like to focus on the major restaurant chains in their marketing efforts, but there is actually more potential in the independent restaurant market. Prudent marketing strategy should not preclude the little guys… en masse they are a very powerful customer basis”.

For more information on the foodservice industry please send an email to or visit

[1]Source: CHD Expert, Internal Data, April 2012

The Power of Foodservice Marketing

17 Apr

Just like with any consumer or B2B product, effective marketing is crucial to achieve growth and sales. This statement is especially relevant in the foodservice industry, and in today’s blog post we will address how using accurate foodservice data can improve your sales & marketing efforts.

In order to improve your sales and marketing strategies, you need to first understand your target audience. Two initial questions you need to ask yourself when defining your target audience are: 1. Who are my marketing efforts targeting? 2. What is the most effective way of connecting with them?  Once you’ve clearly identified who you are going after to grow your sales, you then need to be able to accurately target them.

Our recommendation for targeting the right audience at the right time is to use high-quality and accurate foodservice data. The Foodservice Industry National Database (FIND) is the largest global foodservice database available to foodservice industry professionals. To access the FIND database users can use “Easy2FIND” a web-based query tool, that helps users navigate and filter through the million+ operator records.

By using Easy2FIND, users can set different criteria and access operator information specific to their needs.  For example, if you are looking for operator metrics like:  located in the South Western States, 5 years in business, and 1 million in annual sales, you can select those specifics and get those results. Additionally, Easy2FIND can also furnish contact info for the decision maker and help identify purchase potential. In addition, these reports detail what the particular operators expenditures are among the following categories: Dry, Fresh, Frozen, Protein, Beverages and Disposables, both in total dollars and total percentage of purchases.

Having access to this type of information can help businesses identify where their target audience exists and connect with those potential buyers. This is the power of smart foodservice marketing. To learn more about Easy2FIND, or to get a better understanding as to how foodservice marketing can help your business, click here.

Foodservice Data: Infographic on Summer Grilling Trends

12 Apr

CHD Expert is a foodservice database company, so just incase you didn’t know, we love foodservice data and foodservice trends.

This week we stumbled upon a great inforgraphic of data points for this summer’s grilling season. The title of the infographic is called, “Data points: Grilling Season Begins With a Spotlight on Beef.” Take a look at the different findings from the data. (Just click on the image to make it bigger.)


Do you agree with the survey or do you have different habits. If you do, share them with us. We’d love to hear what our readers have to say. Share your comments below.

Thank you to and ConAgra Foods for conducting this survey and putting together this infographic and article. To read the full article, click here.

Database for Foodservice Suppliers

4 Apr

Like most businesses, foodservice suppliers are constantly looking for new ways to both grow their reach in their current markets and expand into new ones. Whether their goal is to promote new products or services, to find new venues to work with, or to beef up sales with current customers, foodservice suppliers need to constantly focus on how they can consistently grow their foodservice operations.

There are many traditional methods used by foodservice suppliers to promote their new products, services and operations. For example: attending restaurant trade shows, buying lists for outbound sales calls, or networking with foodservice distributors, just to name a few.  Some of these methods are tried and true, but as the economy has been struggling, a greater emphasis has been put on utilizing resources (both time and money) to maximize efficiencies throughout any marketing efforts.  And fortunately, as our industry has been advancing so have the technologies that we work with.

At CHD Expert we have created a solution that offers a more effective process that foodservice suppliers can use to increase sales within the foodservice industry. In addition to being the expert in the away from home global foodservice market, CHD Expert also offers a service around foodservice market intelligence. By collecting, analyzing, segmenting, and managing the world’s largest foodservice database, CHD Expert is able to utilize it’s information to craft market intelligence that is ideal and tailored to any individual foodservice suppliers needs. This allows foodservice suppliers the ability to accurately assess a marketplace so they can make an educated business decision based on the most relevant information. In addition to our market intelligence reporting, we can also help foodservice suppliers in their sales efforts by providing complete contact information for an operator in a particular target market or desired segment. If you are a foodservice supplier you should get in contact with us so we can provide you with a free demonstration of our products and services, and find out how we can help you grow your business.

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