In late 2014, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) published rules requiring all restaurants and fast food chains to publish calorie and nutritional fact information on menus, making the information visible to the consumer.
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “The FDA has estimated that 1,640 chains nationwide would be subject to the requirements. Those chains have 278,600 locations. It has also estimated the cost of complying to be about $1,100 per unit, including $1,800 per limited-service restaurant and less than $1,000 per full-service location.”
While this news is generally embraced as a good thing for customers and health advocates everywhere, it is also likely to provide compliance headaches for Chief Marketing Officers in large restaurant chains. As every CMO knows, it takes considerable time to print, produce, ship and house even the most unchanging menus. Now, CMOs are faced with the challenge of collecting data by menu item, knowing and tracking which restaurants serve that menu item, and making sure that data is matched up correctly with the print creative. What’s followed is an even more pressing need for digital menu management and production management expertise.
Marketing Resource Management Solutions: 6 Key Components
How do CMOs at large restaurant brands easily manage their team, their vendor partners and their data to orchestrate customized menu production? One solution restaurant marketers can turn to, if they have not already, is Marketing Resource Management. A simple explanation provided by industry analyst Gartner, defines MRM as “a set of processes and capabilities designed to enhance a company's ability to orchestrate and optimize internal and external marketing resources.” And, that is just what restaurant marketers are dealing with relative to FDA menu compliance.
Reduce Multi-Vendor Management Time
As highlighted in a recent article on Marketing Daily, marketers are spending an astounding amount of time managing vendors to help synchronize channel strategies. MRM helps mitigate against this. CMOs that manage large restaurant brands will benefit from an MRM partner that can manage multiple vendors and bring the menu data management and production together, not only on the implementation side, but also the print management, quality control and shipping of these program elements. (Oh, and yes, by the way… we do that!)
Store Profile and Menu Data Management
An MRM provider that has deep restaurant experience will be able to help with technology that streamlines the data management and data change process. All menu data is collected and stored, and permissions or assignments to stores are mapped. Store profiling captures menu board data such as board inventory, various sizes, indoors vs. outdoor, drive-thru or no drive-thru, etc. Menu data and store data come together with creative files to produce the updated FDA compliant menus.
Improved Print Production Management
Ok, so let’s assume we have covered the data management. We know which stores have what menu items, what those FDA data elements are by menu item, the stores that carry that item and which menus need those items on them at each store. Whew, that’s a lot off our plate already!
Now, how are we sourcing print? If you are a CMO at a large restaurant brand and you are relying on a local printer or your own team to source printing, you may benefit from an MRM provider that delivers a print management solution, like DataSource. With a certified network of suppliers that can handle just about any substrate and printing challenge put in front of them, at a more competitive rate than you are currently receiving, marketers are able to reduce the cost of the production to help off-set the cost of customized menu management.
Centralized, Efficient Distribution
Once produced, distribution becomes a challenge, requiring centralization of menu elements so they can be kitted (packaged) and shipped to local markets. Best in class MRM providers that couple their technology with a full brand supply chain solution will help you not only manage more effectively, but efficiently, potentially off-setting some of your other menu management costs.
Marketing Asset Management for Easy Re-Orders
Many times, initial orders for FDA compliance will be pushed from the corporate location. When the local restaurant needs menu replacements, or they decide to stop serving X drink and go with Y, they need an easy way to request updated menus. Enter Marketing Asset Management, a component of MRM. A solid MAM solution will centralize the entire menu creative and data collection points that drive menu re-orders, making it fast and convenient for local restaurants.
Print on Demand for Speed and Flexibility
Depending on the substrate and use case, many times, initial menu runs as well as re-orders can be done with improved print on demand technology. POD help provide speed, flexibility and efficiency that is missing with many non-POD menu options.
Marketing Resource Management is key for restaurant chains dealing with FDA-regulated menu compliance. Strong providers will reduce inefficiencies by controlling production costs, allowing customization at the local level and making menu changes easier to achieve and control.
If you are a marketer at a large restaurant brand and you don’t have an MRM solution like the one described here, I invite you to give us a call. Let us help remove that bottle of aspirin next to your keyboard.