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December 23, 2019 Foodservice Trends

2020 Is the Year (and Decade) of Data

The five foodservice trends you need to know to succeed next year and beyond

The end of 2019 is upon us, and that leaves us all doing one thing – strategizing for how to do more in 2020. The rollover to 2020 is significant. Not only is it the end of 2019, it is the start of a new decade, full of questions about what foodservice pros need to think about, invest in, and divest themselves of in order to succeed.

We’ve pulled together what we consider the Top Five Trends for 2020 and beyond to help you get a leg up on all the future holds.

1. Data is King
More and more, our business is less about parts and equipment and more about the data connected to those parts and equipment. Being able to leverage data to anticipate what your customers will need and when, proactively managing service protocol, closing the loop with manufacturers to help them identify trouble spots in their products or warranties – all of this is where foodservice is going. Foodservice companies need to invest in systems and processes that help them truly manage each part, every step of the way.

2. Online Competition is Everywhere and Provided by Everyone
More and more, we are experiencing competition from all sides. According to Forrester research, e-commerce will account for $1.8 trillion of B2B sales. Giants like Amazon are staking claim in our space, offering parts and equipment at a speed, scale, and efficiency we will need to meet head on in order to succeed. In just four years since their launch, Amazon Business is a Top 20 B2B distributor. How do we combat this? There are different strategies like partnering with platforms, defending and leading, and joining Amazon. Each distributor needs to assess which approach is right for them. But, the bottom line no matter which road is taken, ignoring e-commerce is no longer an option.

3. Omni-Channel is The Way To Go
Today’s customer expects you to be everywhere they are – in the office, in the field and on the go. That means you need to think less about one point of contact and develop a strategy for omni-channel engagement. E-Commerce (discussed in Trend 2) is one step. Beyond the sale, there are considerations for how you’re supporting, serving and engaging your customers. Tools like apps, dashboards and content that put training, instructions, and advice right in your customers’ hands are all becoming standard ways of working. If you haven’t invested in these for your brand, you need to get on board.

4. Service Still Matters
In a few short years, Millennials will make up 75 percent of our workforce. And while Millennials value ease and technology, they still prioritize experiences. While you’re focusing on tech and tools to improve how you sell to and serve your customers, don’t forgo good old-fashioned customer service. People still want to know an expert is there when they need it and that experienced teams are behind the brands they partner with. Companies that endure will strike that important balance between tools that expedite transactions and people that bolster confidence and success.

5. Curate Content
Hand-in-hand with service is thought leadership. Our landscape is becoming more and more complex. Consumers demand a lot out of a commercial kitchen – energy efficiency, adaptability, ease of use – the list goes on. Our customers need us to provide then with the insights and innovative ideas for meeting these challenges head on. By investing in blogs, podcasts, and other authored pieces, you can create alliances with your customers that will last and help steward them through the constant change we’re now experiencing.

It’s no doubt that 2020 will be a year of change, requiring companies to pivot with agility and anticipate what will come next. By considering these trends and working them into your planning for next year and beyond, you can help secure your position as a leading brand well into the future.


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