Thursday, October 16, 2008

Marketing to Chefs

Our days are still very busy between work at the church, still moving and packing, and farm work. But, since the majority of the stuff is moved and we are all sleeping on our beds in the new house I finally have some time to do a little reading. An article that I read last night about marketing to chefs and restaurants came from "Farmers' Markets Today". You may remember me writing about this publication just a little while ago (I also just realized they had a little blurb from a blog post that Kelli did over at Sugar Creek Farm!).

This article in particular is the type of article that really draws me in because it was written by a farmer on the front lines, so to speak. Sarah Aubrey was writing from her own experiences and I thought that she had some good points about marketing to restaurants in metropolitan areas. Although this isn't something I'm ready to do right now, it is something that intrigues me ... especially on the co-op level. I mean what if a few Dexter beef producers in Iowa were able to market together...?

Ms. Aubrey has this marketing to chefs thing down to five easy steps (well, relatively easy that is). Step one, "Preparation". Step two, "Prospecting". Step three, "Meeting the Chef". Step four, "Closing". And, step five, "Retaining the Customer". I won't take time to re-write the article (you should check out a subscription to "Farmers' Markets Today"), but I will high-light a couple of the main points.

First of all under preparation she talks about tying to market what you have plenty of. In her case she said it was ground beef. The idea is that your steaks may be very good, but if you can't produce enough to keep a chef supplied than there is no point in marketing it. Also, it may be a good opportunity to find a different market for something that you usually have difficulty selling. Good thoughts.

I also appreciated her advice when it came time to meet the chef. Even though I'm a people person this seems like something that would be intimidating because you are trying to sell a product to a person who is probably very particular. But, she offers up some simple advice about when to contact chefs, what to bring, and what to say (give a good story about your farm and product).

I really do appreciate these kinds of articles in a publication like this! I think this could be an endless resource for those farmers that do direct-marketing so I encourage you to check it out and support it if you like!

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