SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Tyson Foods Inc. has revamped its foodservice division, now dubbed Tyson Foodservice Teams. In a company release, Tyson announced that its foodservice practice will now be composed of small, specialized groups that focus on solutions across channels, including the convenience-store segment.
With this strategic shift, Tyson hopes to create a customer-centric approach that helps reduce risk for operators in order to gain a greater competitive advantage in the c-store market, as well as college and university, K-12, healthcare, hospitality, military and restaurant segments.
“It seems many operators may feel that food companies are out of touch,” said Kim Cupelli, vice president of marketing for Tyson Foods. “We aim to change that perception by supplying our customers with not only high-quality proteins for the center of plate but also experienced, empathetic teams who can play a trusted, consultative role focused on their success.”
As part of the rebrand, Tyson Foodservice Teams has launched an extensive “What’s on the Line?” marketing and training effort focused on “understanding and valuing what’s at stake for operators,” according to the release. This refreshed approach calls for:
- New “Core Credo”
- Individualized channel teams with unique logo treatments for each
- Support and resource materials focused on each unique channel
- Website revamp with channel-specific content specifically aimed at foodservice operators
Also, the “What’s on the Line?” brand campaign will increase Tyson Foodservice’s direct customer communication with added focus on one-on-one interaction; more visibility at national, regional and local trade shows; and online tools, such as the Tyson Foodservice Teams Source App.
This strategic shift in Tyson’s approach to foodservice was ignited by an extensive, six-month market intelligence and strategic planning initiative undertaken after the acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Co., Tyson said. It included listening to more than 1,000 key food-purchase decision-makers from channels as disparate as c-store and fine dining to QSR and healthcare.
“The relationship I'm looking for with a food purveyor is not just supplying us with ingredients, but providing us with solutions to achieve the perfection that all of us hope to achieve,” said Chef Will McCormick of the new restaurant MOD Restaurant & Social. “They need to listen and know we are working our tails off day in and day out in chaos in order to make our dollars to pay rent, pay our mortgages and achieve our dreams. We want a supplier that's going to know our business—and grow our business with us.”
That’s the perspective from the restaurant side of the coin, but how does this approach benefit c-store foodservice operators? According to Tyson, the success of the program begins with understanding the unique challenges that exist at every distinct level of c-store foodservice.
Technomic estimates that 90% of c-store foodservice programs fall within a basic structure of roller grill and fountain offerings; 7% operate at the premium level, with expanded roller grill and varying degrees of food and drink customization; and 3% are at the superpremium tier, meaning that they have made foodservice a significant priority of investment.
“For convenience stores, there is a wide range in the spectrum of where they are in serving hot prepared foods,” said Rob Ramsey, senior marketing manager for Tyson Convenience. “We want to understand what’s important to each of these groups, by offering products at each tier for each level of operation, and merchandising systems with equipment that helps elevate their foodservice program.”
“We exist to help our customers realize their fullest potential and know that finding new opportunities at the center of the menu requires understanding what’s at the center of the customer need,” said Kristin Bird, senior vice president of foodservice for Tyson Foods. “This commitment must be practiced, not just promised, and that’s just what we plan to do.”
Based in Springdale, Ark., Tyson Foods Inc. and Tyson Foodservice Teams includes food brands such as Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee, Ball Park, Chef Pierre, Bonici, Wright, Aidells and State Fair in its portfolio. The company supplies retail and foodservice customers in the United States and approximately 115 countries.