Gastronomy and catering professionals should not be outside of new trends in digitization and communication. For this reason, gastronomic marketing is part of the curriculum of programs such as the Degree in Gastronomy or the Master’s Degree in Gastronomy and Culinary Management of Gasma. Below we go through some of the trends in the sector with Esther González Lorca.
To talk about gastronomic marketing, at this point, is without a doubt to talk about experiences that in all forms integrate mobile devices. The online and offline realm has never been so united in the sector and this has accelerated the digital trends that have been talked about so much in recent years.
Changes, and more so when they are such abrupt changes, are not usually warmly welcomed by those who must implement them, but there is a certainty. Those who can adapt to change more quickly are always one step ahead, and eventually end up making a difference.
This new normality that we are gradually getting used to implies that mobile devices are integrated into the table from the moment we sit around it. Let us remember that menus or letters, as we have known them forever, are prohibited in many parts of the world. What we have in place is a QR code that we scan from our mobile device and that takes us to the menu or a la carte restaurant. This is a radical paradigm shift.
I see daily, in cafes and restaurants of all kinds, that these QR redirect to plain, styleless Word documents, wasting all the digital possibilities that we have at our fingertips and that a user with minimal knowledge can carry out.
The importance of gamification
Talking about marketing trends is talking about gamification. Surely for many of the readers this is a term you are familiar with. Gamification is a method that has been applied in education for several years now and consists of bringing the mechanics of the game to non-playful environments.
You may be wondering, what does this have to do with catering or gastronomy? Well, it has everything to do with it, because if we start from the basis that the gastronomic sector is a sector that is based on experiences, everything that encourages, improves, and complements an experience, will undoubtedly be a turning point that will make a difference.
The customer experience
We have been talking for years, practically since social networks and websites took on the importance they have today, that in the gastronomic sector the experience begins before the diner arrives at the restaurant, or before he goes to buy or consume a product. This previous experience has several parts.
On one hand, the trend in websites in the field of gastronomy and catering is “to activate the 5 senses”. It is true that you cannot smell or taste a website yet, because surely that moment will come, but the images make us feel, transport us and activate our senses. Who hasn’t heard the expression “we eat by the eyes”? It is a reality, that is why the tendency is to sensory websites with very little text and a lot of image, and images that are real and that represent the reality that we will find at the table.
Honest & real
Users are looking for reality and this moves to social media, where we should avoid photos of image banks or photos that are so retouched that instead of helping to generate a pre-diner experience, they fall into an “overpromise” and their expectations are truncated when it comes to actually having the physical experience.
And here we join directly with the previous trend. When we talk about gamification, beyond being able to see photos and activate the senses, what really matters is the interaction of the users. Seeing a photo is certainly a trigger of the senses, but what if in addition to seeing that photo you can interact with it, what if we propose to discover through a very simple game what ingredients they think it can contain or what are the country or countries of origin that inspired the chef to create the dish?
This type of gamifications has already been used in other sectors much less sensory and this has made there are tools and plugins, already created, that greatly lower their implementation. Do not think that this gamification thing is complicated and complex developments, but that it really is the way to differentiate ourselves, to be different and to face this “new normal” in a proactive way.
It seems that the center is the website, but I do not want to set aside social networks; and is that social networks have been and continue to be no longer just a trend, but a consolidated tool that no gastronomy professional doubts today. What about using social media? Being present on social networks requires constant updating, which is that the users who form communities on social networks constantly change the way we use them and understand them. If you look at the use we make now, but review the history of social media, the trend is clear and unequivocal towards interaction.
Social media should be the vivid image of what happens offline. This is not a simple process, as it certainly happens because it has professional staff who are able to generate that content and manage the same on social networks; but in turn, there is one issue that concerns the sector and that we cannot ignore. If something cannot be allowed today gastronomy is to incur new expenses, so one of the trends that we will be living in the sector is “a professional who is able to manage the room or the kitchen but is also able to manage social media”. Such professionals will undoubtedly be the best valued professionally from now on.
Author: Esther González Lorca
Source: Excelencias Gourmet (number 75)