Jonathan Raduns - Selling to Hotels, Grab & Go and Food Markets



I'm really excited to bring on our next

presenter yeah his name is Jonathan

radians he's the principal of a really

cool company merchandise food where they

specialize in hospitality resort cafe

you know those grab-and-go markets and

he's really an expert in the the

merchandising area and he's worked with

really cool companies you know the

Hilton Marriott you know he's worked

with a lot of airports he's really gonna

give a great insight into how to best

present a product on the shelf and

really how to work with these kind of

companies and you know it's a question

that I get a lot you know I think a lot

of people are really gonna get a lot of

benefit out of it so I really appreciate

your time Jonathan thank you so much for

helping us

you're very welcome thanks for having me

yeah just to get started what are the

advantages of you know merchandising and

you know bringing a product to these

hotels and grab-and-go food markets well

first starters it needs meets the needs

of the traveling guests which has

changed quite a bit over the last few

years so beyond that the operator has an

opportunity to profit in areas that

maybe they haven't previously where

hotels and resorts have often had

sit-down restaurants or in in room

service or food they're now finding that

there's other opportunities to benefit

as guests are changing what their

expectations are so a lot of the

grab-and-go foods packaged snacks and

and other candies or different things

that might be interesting to find in a

little market are now being placed off

lobby and you know some some quick types

of very diverse market places that

hotels are coming up with brand by brand

you will find with their goals now what

would you say is the most unusual thing

that kind of sells the best that you've

seen in these I and I grab-and-go

markets well what's what's interesting

is that I think a brand by brand the

hospitality groups are really trying to

custom curate a mix

that makes sense with what their guests

are looking for particularly in a lot of

the lifestyle brands so they'll be very

intentional about what they put there

and one of the I don't know if it's

really crazy or anything but one of the

the funny components are just a lot of

little local candies and things like a

lot of the local items that small

producers are making in the area and as

you have more and more foodies moving

about traveling for business or the


they're looking for fun things that

maybe they couldn't find somewhere else

and because it's unique it's giving them

a reason to make a purchase that's

that's a great point so if I had you

know a local food you know I should

really kind of consider tapping into the

hospitality sources around me to have

that as a retail source yeah I would say

if the product was well labeled if it

was an established item and it appealed

to a broad market and I think it would

make sense to call on some of the food

and beverage directors at a particular

hotel yeah obviously larger hotels would

have more throughput and volume to

purchase them that's an S that would

make a place where they could maybe gain

some business that they hadn't thought

of that's it that's a great great tip

you know one of our member questions

with you know how do I begin that

understands you know merchandising and

distribution you know in these retailers

because you know it's such a unique

angle well I think the industry is

changing quite a bit right now a

traditionally foodservice distributors

would be backing up to the loading dock

near the kitchen mister food and

beverage at a hotel and a lot of the

offerings that are currently available

through those distribution systems don't

entirely align to retail grab-and-go

products or they may not have the same

items consistently day to day on their

product mix or be out of stocks on them

so currently smaller distribute that

maybe focused on local items or that

could bring items directly into the the

space itself would be a big advantage to

food and beverage teams looking to do

something unique and keep things stocked

additionally any distributors that offer

other services like you know placement

of products or a little bit of support

merchandising yeah

are also highly regarded traditionally

it's the hospitality groups taking the

risk on to making a purchase for an item

but other things like guaranteed sales

on certain items would be very helpful

as well and I think just even meeting

with hospitality groups to help them

broaden and expand the way that they're

looking at what they're placing in these

locations could be helpful because

sometimes the individuals that are

managing these facilities don't have a

strong retail background okay and they

would hesitate to add additional

products to their mix because it becomes

more cumbersome it's more orders to

place and things like that so any

support that someone could bring to

getting items where they need to be at a

good price that they can be profitable

on is usually a good help to them okay

so come with the solution you know when

you present the opportunity yeah that's

a that's a good point you know because

that really brings me to my next

question you know what are the biggest

mistakes you know businesses make when

bringing a product and putting it into

these kind of locations and as far as

merchandising well I think some of it

has to do with just the product itself

like is it a good fit is it am i

offering products that are maybe single

serve mm-hmm

in a great looking package is the

product have a you can see label on it

like is it is it functional it can I

help them get the product set up and

through the system and order it easily a

lot of times coaching on where to place

the products or complementary products

can be helpful as well like like these

go really well next to the hot beverages

you know if it's a right how packaged

pastry item or something like that but

giving some coaching on that would be

useful and also help the vendor as well

to gain that uplift and sales because

it's at a place where people might you

know impulsively grab and purchase them

stuff right it's good point really

thinking about where your product best

performs in the store and kind of

delivering that information

you're making your your pitch you know

and I think a lot of people struggle

with you know when they get that how do

you expand the merchandising

opportunities you know the what are

what's the point of sale display you

know really designed for you know how

can how can I best present my product

well I think a display or a fixture or a

little impulse unit at the register

really needs to highlight the product so

many are often highlighting the brand

itself okay or having visual

distractions in the design of the

fixture or unit that limit view of the

product and a lot of times it's the the

product itself or the you know the

tantalizing food that you're presenting

is really what people are buying right

so it if it's hidden it all in that unit

because it's setting down below you know

berry or something like that it really

limits that opportunity and beyond that

one of the biggest hindrances I see is

just simply having enough I like like

oftentimes the the register area is just

void of an impulse unit or the store

itself has a disproportionate amount of

seating or just open areas compared to

actual for sale products which puts a

big limit on sales in and of itself

that's interesting so maybe bringing

them that point-of-sale display and as

you said you know with complementary

products that might be an opportunity

sure and I think in most brands you know

anything from full-service up to luxury

hotels they will require that the

fixture or unit be aligned with their

brand it's going to be very important to

then how things look and feel

hospitality groups are very intentional

about you know millwork design elements

and they're working with interior

designers to make that space look and

feel just right so they're certainly not

gonna want to corrugated you know hipper

if it's sitting next to the front lobby

but at the same time you know in some

metro settings it might be worth a

retailer or excuse me a wholesalers

investment to bring into a metro rack or

work with the group to build a fixture

that makes sense

okay dinner is one of our next members

questions was you know what is it that

makes that point of cell display most

effective you know because you mentioned

you know broadcasting and you know

showing the product but as far as you

know where you place it in the store you

know how do you how do you test that

it's so expensive when you make these

you know how you really test before you

invest uh well I think from our

perspective the the industry standard

would be simply placing them at register

areas where people are transacting and

then also in spaces in the queue I mean

so often people oh there's a long line

that may form and then wanting to

purchase a coffee you know or a bagel or

something like that and so placing them

within arm's reach in logical locations

would be a good starting point and for

most most operators I see that's

probably just a fundamental thing that

can be implemented right away okay so

just that grab-and-go impulse items

right by the register you know where the

where the line forms right yeah I mean

strategically placing products where

people are makes makes the most amount

of sense I think so okay and that what

will be the advantages you know of

having that you know on the counter as

opposed to you know maybe I like a

free-standing one in line you know what

kind of a difference in sales can that

make I think it could be substantial

we've seen average gas checks uptick

probably a four to fourteen percent

overnight with added additional products

in queues and at the registers because

people are you know they've got their

wallet out it's that last-minute

decision point before the transaction

takes place and they can just say oh

maybe I'll get this for the road so

having having the right items there make

a lot of sense I mean even if there's a

if there's not refrigeration ambient

water mints candy you know you think

about some of the major national coffee

brands and the types of things that they

put there and I think many times there's

great examples to follow whether it's a

grocery store or those examples that are

already kind of dialed into the types

of items that make the most sense there

yeah and I think sometimes copying is

the best flattery right because others

have invested the efforts and the

research so yeah yeah so they've really

kind of honed in exactly what kind of a

selection you need for that area but

yeah a big question that we see a lot is

really you know how to get in front of

the right person you know when when you

call a hotel you're gonna get the front

desk person they're not gonna know - are

there any events are you know is that

what your company does how do you get in

front of the right person to sell them a

product right to present your product

well it's interesting because generally

speaking there's a bit of autonomy at

the site level for many of the

hospitality groups and the beverage

director is often able to make site

level decisions there's often a brand

standard or national mix that might be a

baseline that's that's expected but for

for things outside of that the food and

beverage director or manager of the site

is typically a strong starting point

okay they may possibly delegate down to

an assistant manager but generally

speaking that terms are very similar

that you would search for for the title

and they would have decision-making

authority for that type of thing well so

you just go to that person to present

the opportunity you can really you can

really hustle on foot that way sure I do

think that they'd be apt to in the midst

of catering operations and day to day

food and beverage challenges and it

would make sense to schedule an

appointment if at all possible I think

dialing in on the opportunity how they

could explain an opportunity within a

certain product mix or offering that you

have that can meet guests needs and

speaking to those points could help you

obtain an appointment that's that's a

great point you know what kind of

mistakes do you see on your end you know

that a lot of people make when

presenting this kind of an opportunity

or bringing a product to these


you know markets

well I think as I mentioned before the

the mix that you're presenting our

solution you're presenting really needs

to be able to meet the needs of the

space and the guest is looking to have

you know quick fix solutions for

on-the-go food a convenience personal

care or health and beauty products that

they maybe have forgotten electronic

emergencies or I forgot my charger

things like that and a lot of the groups

don't actually think about some of those

secondary items that are you know there

there are some companies that do but

others they wouldn't even know where to

go about getting them so if you can

present them to a food and beverage

director a slight level employee that's

able to make decisions dialing into

those items that solve the guests needs

that are packaged in a usable size I

mean clearly really large beverages or

liquids or things can't be taken with a

gas to topping on an airplane or it's

impractical to carry around all day so

it's really just making sure that that

the person has done some preliminary

work and thinking through what would

make sense for the clientele okay that

makes sense and you hit on a really good

point before where you're talking about

the brand you know if you're if you're

selling into a ritz-carlton right you

want to make sure that it fits their

brand's personality right exactly so

sweets or crackers or snacks that are

really more of national brand maybe or a

generic product or something that's not

unique or upper scale usually the reason

hotels have so many different brands is

that they're appealing to particular

lifestyles and fluency levels and guest

demographics and those often come

hand-in-hand with expectations for the

healthfulness the ingredients inside of

a product and the the level of luxury in

a food or snack and so making sure that

whatever you're presenting aligns with

the brand and and clearly you can do

research online to see what the brand

represents are just a scouting trip to

the speech prior to

it helped you understand the types of

things that they might be looking to and

be receptive that I think that's a big

mistake that a lot of people make is

that they just don't walk into the store

before they start selling to them you

know check out what's there already yes

I one other quick topic would be the

sometimes there's odd items offered

around behind the counter or in a drawer

or a cabinet that maybe aren't presented

in a straightforward way they're

available but they're they're not the

items that a guess might want to see

when they enter the space but they might

want them available so if the items

working against the look and feel of the

space on the shelf or what the with the

stores trying to communicate at the

brand or you know brand level there may

still be opportunities to sell products

that aren't visible understood all right

to wrap up what is the best thing that

you could share with you know a business

owner or retail buyer you know to

prepare their business for a success you

know moving forward this year well I

think examining the the product mix in

general and determining whether it's a

bit stale if it's infused with some of

the new trends and products that people

are looking for these days even food

items are changing what people are

looking for our fads come in and now and

so beyond that one thing I found that

often very much limits groups is the

amount of products they offer okay

making assumptions that a small product

mix is going to meet the needs of

everyone really often is tied to the

complexity of just adding some

additional items which may seem

overwhelming but I found there's a good

incremental return by expanding the mix

a bit which can be done even

incrementally so that it's something you

can wrap your brain around and get in a

rhythm with but just adding more items

can often increase a lot of opportunity

okay I mean that's that's a great piece

of advice I think that really really

this is such a crazy market where

there's a huge opportunity and

it's it's got the ability where you you

know a small business can really enter

in at a reasonable level so you know I

appreciate you shedding some light on

the entire industry for us thanks you're

very welcome

pleasure thank you for joining us have a

great day