Marlin Network, Springfield, Mo., released a new study exploring changes in the foodservice operator purchase journey, including insights gathered from Marlin Network's Operator Vantage, a panel of more than 800 commercial and non-commercial foodservice operators.

The “2019 Influencing the Operator Purchase white paper reveals what matters to these modern foodservice operators, and provides solutions for how suppliers can effectively reach, influence and convert buyers. Within the white paper, readers learn:

  • How operators search for new products and why these avenues are increasingly important to suppliers' businesses. 
  • How operators are influenced through each stage of the buying journey - awareness, consideration, decision and post-purchase.
  • How to effectively reach, influence and convert modern operators to purchase suppliers' product by adopting a few simple strategies and ideas. 

"If you think food-away-from-home marketing isn't what it used to be, you're absolutely right," says Christopher Wolf, senior vice president of insights. "Changes like digital technology, mixed with macro-forces like the rise of convenience, value, personalization, experience and wellness are changing the way foodservice operators buy."

While many traditional purchase paths and gatekeepers remain the same, there is a shift in operator preferences toward convenience, simplicity and accessibility.

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • 55% of operators say ordering online is highly valuable.
  • One-fifth of operators start their purchase journey with an online search.
  • 94% of operators want to see pricing before requesting a sample.