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Kudler Foods is a small independent grocer with three stores in northern San Diego County. Kudler Foods specializes in providing unique and high quality ingredients for the gourmet chef. In an effort to increase profits, the company is interested in adding catering to its service offerings. The success of the catering service offering is dependent on the creation of an appropriate and effective marketing campaign. The marketing campaign must be carefully designed and implemented to provide the expected increase in profits.
This paper will analyze the Kudler Foods' sales and marketing efforts required to implement a successful catering service program. The overall goal of the program is to provide a service to Kudler Foods' customers that will introduce the high quality products and services that Kudler Foods provides to new customers. The program will also work to improve the reputation of Kudler foods within the gourmet foods and services industry.
Marketing research review
Kudler Foods commissioned a customer satisfaction survey in 2005 and 2006 (University of Phoenix, 2007). The results of the 2005 survey show that Kudler Foods is providing stores with appropriate atmosphere, décor and hours. However, 22% of respondents found the customer service representatives lacked the appropriate knowledge of the stores' products. In addition, nearly 30% of the respondents found the customer service representatives to be discourteous. This is a grave concern because the clientele that Kudler Foods serves is more concerned about receiving superior and courteous customer service from very knowledgeable employee than product price.
The survey respondents also would like to see a greater variety of products than is currently offered. The greatest concern expressed on the customer service surveys is regarding the perceived value of the merchandise bought at Kudler Foods. Almost 55% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that the merchandise purchased at Kudler Foods was a good value for the money. This is a very important issue considering the higher-end product line that Kudler Foods sells. It is important that the customers feel that even though they are paying a premium price, that they quality of the product justifies the price.
The 2006 customer satisfaction survey is very disappointing. Every question on the survey indicated that Kudler Foods' customers are less pleased with their shopping experience than in previous year. Customers are much more dissatisfied with the customer service they are receiving than in 2005.
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Satisfaction with the overall value that Kudler Foods provides continues to slide with 60% of customers now considering the merchandise purchased to be a good value. In addition, the largest drop in satisfaction was reported in the attractiveness of the stores displays. Product selection satisfaction has also dropped to 65%.
Kudler Foods should create and implement a campaign with the appropriate marketing mix to support the new catering service program. The marketing mix will be comprised of four components. The components are Product, Place, Price and Promotion and they are commonly known as the four P's of marketing (Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, & Rudelius, 2005).
Product is a "good, service, or idea used to satisfy the consumer's needs" (Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, & Rudelius, 2005). In this case, it is the service and food provided by Kudler Foods. Place is considered "A means of getting the product into the consumer's hands" (Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, & Rudelius, 2005). In this case, it would be the vans or trucks used to bring the product and services to the customer. Price is "What is exchanged for the product" (Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, & Rudelius, 2005). This would be the money paid to Kudler Foods. Promotion is "A means of communication between the seller and buyer" (Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, & Rudelius, 2005). In this case, the flyers, advertisement and word-of-month inform the customers about the catering service program.
Kudler Foods should provide a higher-end gourmet style of food and service to its catering service customers. The customers of Kudler foods are looking for food that has the highest quality of ingredients. They are also looking for food that is expertly prepared. The presentation of the food is also an important concern, as the customers will expect an elegant and interesting presentation.
The employees that will be preparing and serving the food must be highly trained in food preparation. More importantly, they must be highly trained in etiquette and decorum. The customers that Kudler foods is targeting are looking to provide their families, friends and business associates with a dining experience rather than just food.
The product and service that Kudler Foods is looking to provide is a cut above what is traditionally provided by catering companies. The customers are demanding a service that is out of the ordinary. It is then reasonable that the prices for this extraordinary service and food should come with a higher price. It is recommended that the pricing be set using several basic packages with the option of adding products and services ala carte. The basic packages would provide the delivery, set up and the appropriate number of servers depending of if the meal is to be served buffet or sit-down style. The pricing for the basic package should be between 3% and 5% higher than a traditional San Diego catering service's prices. This pricing will keep Kudler Foods competitive while also highlighting the higher level of service offered. The add-on ala carte products and services should be higher priced at 5% to 15% higher than the competitors. The higher prices can be justified by highlighting the quality of the service and food that is provided.
The place of the Kudler Foods catering service program is an important part of the plan. For the catering service, the place is the customer's home, place of business or a ballroom. Kudler Foods must foster the impression that they are providing a dining experience rather than just food. This can be accomplished by using high quality dishes, utensils, glasses and linens. Also, the staff providing the service must be dressed in elegant clothes. Most importantly, care must be taken to present the food in an interesting and artful way. If the meal is being served buffet style, the chafing dishes and serving dishes need to be clean and shiny and table must have embellishments to disguise the fact that they are folding tables. The meals that are served sit-down style must be served as an artful display.
Kudler Foods can use the existing relationship that it has with its customers to promote the catering service. This can be done using sign work at the three stores. In addition, flyers placed in to grocery bag of each customer can be used to make the customer aware of the program. In addition, samples of the food served by the catering program could be cooked inside the stores. In addition, the recipes for the sample would be made available. The recipes should use and highlight the ingredients used to make the food and where they can be found in the store. These methods will make the existing customers aware of the new service while also driving additional sales of the ingredients for those customers who like the recipes.
It would also be advisable for Kudler foods to sponsor a number of events at which the catering service will provide food. An event should be held where all of the wedding and party planners in San Diego County are invited to sample the service and food at an elegant location. Wedding and party planners are very important to the success of the Kudler foods catering service. Many of the clients that this service is targeting have the financial ability to hire planners to plan the events. It is important of the planners to see the level of service and the quality of the food so that they will consider recommending Kudler Foods to their clients.
It is also recommended that Kudler Foods hold several events with classical music at several of the Country Clubs around San Diego. This will allow Kudler foods to highlight the level of service and the quality and presentation of the food to the ultimate end user. This will hopefully encourage the potential client to ask their party or wedding planner specifically for Kudler Foods when planning their event.
The clientele that Kudler Foods catering service is targeting is generally has a substantial amount of disposable income. These customers are either very computer savvy or they have a personal assistant that is computer savvy. It is important for Kudler Foods to have a well designed and elegant web site that reflects the quality of the service and foods of the service. The site needs to be easy to navigate and intuitive. It should also be able to provide pricing on the basic packages and the ala carte items as they are added. It should also provide the ability to start a interactive chat with a catering specialist at Kudler foods during business hours that run into the evening. In addition, the site should allow the customer to view there order and make changes up until several days before the event. The site should be provide integration with Kudler foods' other computer systems.
Kudler foods is looking to start using local growers to provide organic produce at its three stores. This effort dovetails nicely with the plan to start and upscale catering service. The catering services customers are often much picker about the quality of the ingredients used to prepare their food than the general population. The ability to provide meals cooked with locally grown organic produce will appeal to the high-end customer that the catering service is targeting.
Kudler foods is positioned to provide a unique and potentially profitable service. A catering service that serves customers that have discriminating tastes and the need for an elegant dining experience can be very successful in San Diego. The cooking expertise and the ingredient knowledge that Kathy Kudler possesses will allow the catering service to meet the target customers' needs. In addition, because of the volume that Kudler Foods purchases in, the catering service will enjoy lower costs than its competitors.
Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, & Rudelius. (2005). Marketing. New York: The McGraw−Hill Companies.
University of Phoenix. (2007). Kudler Foods Web Portal. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from UOP rEsource: MBA510 - Virtual Organization: https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/aapd/ /CIST/VOP/Business/Kudler/Internet/KudlerPort.htm