Foodservice is one of the largest, most significant and most important industries in the nation.

According to the National Restaurant Association, it is estimated that 14.4 million people will be employed in foodservice this year alone. And restaurant employees total 10% of the entire workforce in America.

Clearly, the industry is a major force. But who holds the keys to the kingdom?
In other words, who is the most influential figure in foodservice?

You may think it’s a nationally recognized celebrity chef who helps shape the latest taste trends. Or it could be a well-connected industry lobbyist who helps advocate for important legislation. Or it might even be the CEO of a global chain that touches millions of lives every day.

Clearly, those are all influential figures. But the answer lies much closer to home.

When it comes to influencing foodservice decision makers, distributor sales representatives, customers and manufacturers sales representatives play the most significant roles. In fact, for important foodservice purchasing decisions, operators rely heavily on interpersonal interactions at every phase of their buyer’s journey.

That finding was one of the revelations of a new foodservice industry research study conducted with operators nationwide. The “Media Consumption Behaviors and the Decision-Making Journey of Foodservice Operators” Study was developed by Boomm Marketing & Communications to help foodservice marketing professionals make better-informed choices when creating communications strategies. The research was conducted by leading foodservice research firm Product Evaluations.

In order to the make the research study truly actionable to foodservice marketers, the findings were aligned to a decision-making path that follows the sales funnel. Using this structure, marketers can pinpoint which sources had the most influence at different purchase decision stages.

Interpersonal relationships take many roles

One of the more compelling findings of the study was the power and the scope of interpersonal relationships to guide foodservice purchasing decisions. From customers to manufacturers sales representatives, operators consult numerous sources at each stage of their buyer’s journey. And as the chart below reveals, different individuals play distinctly different roles in the process.

manufacturers sales representatives

New white paper tells the full story

To learn more foodservice purchasing decisions in today’s industry, check out the new white paper on “The Person-to-Purchase Influence” and how interpersonal interactions help shape foodservice operators’ purchase decisions.

It’s must reading for foodservice marketers who want to reach operators on their terms.