L.E.K. Consulting is an expert at assisting our Food & Beverage clients as they navigate the complex foodservice landscape across restaurant operators, contract managers, broadline distributors, specialty distributors (e.g., specialty seafood, meats, produce), noncommercial foodservice establishments (e.g., schools, healthcare, hotels, stadiums), foodservice brokers, centralized purchasing groups and others. We have deep and relevant experience working across the value chain and leverage these insights into the channel, and key trends/dynamics in the space, to inform our work.

Key questions and challenges

Our experienced professionals have a deep understanding of the key business challenges when participating in today’s complex foodservice landscape and encourage our clients to ask themselves a few key questions:

  • How can we drive profitable growth in foodservice? Where are the pockets of opportunity from a product/service perspective across commercial and noncommercial channels?
  • What are the go-to-market trade-offs of leveraging third parties such as broadline distributors, specialty distributors and brokers vs. building our own sales force to drive top-line growth?
  • What is our broker strategy (national vs. local brokers)?
  • How can private label be leveraged to gain brand placement with broadline distributors?
  • What is our pricing strategy within foodservice given the number of players requiring margin?
  • How can we define our branding strategy to target various foodservice segments with different needs across product types and tiers (value to premium)?
  • What really matters to our customer (e.g., price, price/value, service breadth and levels), and how can we leverage our capabilities to drive growth?

Examples of our work

To learn more about how we help clients create value in the foodservice sector, please refer to these insights and case examples:

  • An international bakery manufacturer asked L.E.K. to develop a commercial sales growth strategy for its North American business that would unlock untapped commercial opportunities and enable accelerated revenue growth for the organization. We helped identify top customer targets in both the foodservice and retail channels. We delivered four-year financial plans outlining key growth opportunities by account, as well as strategic customer development plans for account managers to track their progress with target accounts. We also analyzed the client’s brand assets across its products and channels and developed a tiered branding strategy to simplify the value proposition and position its product suite for long-term sales growth. The account planning process identified opportunities to invest in new product capabilities. The client implemented our recommendations with an expected revenue growth of approximately $500 million.
  • A value-added protein manufacturer engaged L.E.K. to help identify a clear growth strategy for the foodservice channel following the combination of two business units. We assessed the client’s strengths and weaknesses, profiled adjacent markets, and surveyed foodservice operators in order to prioritize new products and new geographies to enter. L.E.K. provided a go-forward plan and strategic road map, including recommendations for where to acquire vs. grow organically, potential targets, high-level financial model inputs/assumptions, and risks/considerations to explore further. As a result, the client is expected to achieve approximately $2 billion in incremental revenues from this strategy over the next five years.
  • A leading global value-added potato supplier to the foodservice channel was looking to drive growth across the U.S., Canada and Europe. L.E.K. identified actionable growth opportunities, defining the “size of the prize,” strategic rationale and conditions for success for each opportunity. Upon implementation, the business doubled its growth in the foodservice channel.

How can we help you succeed in the foodservice landscape?