In this episode of Samosa Talks, the panelists explain the state of and new normal for one of the most impacted sectors – the Food & Beverage industry.
With a diverse set of panelists, from a global food chain, a parent company of cloud kitchens, and a platform streamlining outdoor experiences, we deep dive into the cautious & anxious mindset of consumers, the communication devised, and the overall state of the Food & Beverage industry.
- Bhagyashree Rewatkar, Head Of Marketing Communications, Dineout
- Arvind R P, Director – Marketing and Communications, McDonald’s India
- Indrajit Ghosh, Global Head of Marketing Communications, Rebel Foods
The New Normal
For an industry that essentially depends on social gatherings and thrived in the pre-COVID times, the panelists say the new normal is all about digitalization, along with more groups of people adapting to digital.
Arvind also mentions the new normal also includes lines between professional and personal life getting blurry, weekdays, and weekends being the same.
Bhagyashree shares the new normal is all about adaptation and normalization of technology, and handy tools like QR Codes.
Indrajit reckons now weekly meetings cannot end with deciding a subject can be dealt with later, everything has to be handled now.
He also says the trust factor has become more important now, people are only eating from restaurants or brands they trust or are communicating precautionary measures.
The New Consumer
Bhagyashree believes there has been a major shift in priorities, consumers have gone from popularity to safety concerns, the customer funnel has flipped, and customer retention is the biggest challenge.
Indrajit says there are various consumer behaviors related cooking and ordering food, few stay away from their family so they have to order, few have stayed with the family and cook a lot, so they order once in a while, and so on ordering food has also become related to living situations.
Arvind states different set of consumers have different levels of cautiousness, few believe it’s close to normal, few think it’s far from normal. The ‘best offers’ tactic would be tone-deaf right now.
The New Communication
For Indrajit, the new communication involved a lot of unlearning, along with empathy becoming a substantial factor, which needs to come out from inside one. Conveying the important on-ground aspects such as people, process, ingredients, and packaging was a major inclusion.
Arvind asserts this is a true test of brand affinity and brand trust, whatever is happening in India is going to stay the same for a long time.
He adds different markets are at different stages of unlock, and being digitally focussed helps you cut markets by communication. They revolve their communication around ‘many things have changed, but some things don’t change’, and CRM is also an important factor.
Bhagyashree affirms its important to stay connected to the consumers and increase brand recall. She avoids ideas that are ‘done to death’, and believes one needs to keep personal preferences aside and stay focussed on keeping communications being likable and shareable by consumers.
She adds, the brand is also focussing on creating integrations for restaurant partners with social media platforms, as dining out is going to bounce back.
The New Advice
Let technology help you, be open to new ideas and experiments.
Arvind R P
Embrace the disruption, reimagine the business.
Track feelings and not revenue.
Watch the full episode here.