Blog Post

F&B is the driver / My faults laid bare.


This is Part 2 in a 4 part series I’ve been working on since the NAFDMA convention (that’s North American Farmers Direct Marketing Assoc. or in an effort to encapsulate and explore all the ideas I uncovered and make them useful.

This blog series is meant to be responsive and interactive, so please, when I ask seemingly rhetorical questions or really hard questions at the end of each, take up the challenge and answer back by email! I want you to be disturbed by these questions, to shock your brain into a creative mode. Hope you enjoy!

F&B is the driver / My faults laid bare.

Hey Gang,

Stupid ol’ Randy White. I thought I was doing OK, then along comes his presentation at NAFDMA, and uh, oh, I’m in trouble. I warned you that I’d be obsessing over Randy’s presentation, so you knew more was coming.

In his presentation Value 2.0, I learned many startling data points that shined a light on the faults in our operation. (Which is why I said Randy was stupid. He’s the opposite, but who wants to feel silly, so I’m blaming him for my feelings; well, accusing him while I realize how much I needed a kick in the pants on F&B, so is that thanking him? Anyway…)

Here are the facts & figures:

  • 47% of diners (68% age 25-34) Consider themselves a foodie.
  • 75% of American leisure travelers consider a culinary activity to be a motivation for visiting a destination. (WFTA)
  • 52%of Millennials say having food experiences is the top reason motivating them to travel. (Contiki)

Here’s why that hit home: We have a few signature food items, but we do not treat food as an attraction. Do you treat food as an attraction? We latched onto the ‘Signature Items’ theme a few years ago, so we provide items such as hot, fresh apple cider donuts, kettle korn, and fudge. Those are signature items, but our concession food is as ordinary as a local diner.

Think about it“75% of American leisure travelers consider a culinary activity to be a motivation for visiting a destination.” I’m NOT doing my job to treat food as an attraction for 75% of all leisure travelers.

Ouch. Thanks, Randy!

So, the great quest for great food is on at Maize Quest! However, the cautionary note here is that, whatever we choose to do, we’ll have to deliver that good food at scale.

Not many restaurants deliver HALF the meals you & I must serve on a busy Saturday in October. Anything we choose to do new, upscale, foodie, had better be able to be delivered at full speed, clean, crisp and hot or we’ll have invested the energy for nothing.

  • So, what are your signature items? (We’re brainstorming, so email me the food you are known for!)
  • What will you do for the foodies?
  • What can you deliver fresh and right every time?
  • What would do you wish you could offer?

Some ideas so far…

  • Blueberry Nachos – with our blueberries, in season ONLY
  • Spice-Rimmed Hard Cider by the glass
  • Fresh baking our rolls for our burgers & brats

Yes, we need to improve, but we are getting some things right. We opened our winery in 2016 and offering wine & beer has been a delicious boost to our events. At our Sunflower Festival, we offered pit meats, baked potatoes and fresh roasted corn with toppings. Our neighbor wineries joined us for a few events as well.

So we’re not entirely incompetent, but now Randy has held our feet to the fire, and we’re thinking of a few improvements we could manage.

  • How does this hold your feet to the fire?
  • How can you improve your F&B?
  • How will you learn from our F&B faults being shared & laid bare?

Oh, Randy… Seriously?!

Have a great week,


PS Part 3 is “Transforming into Transformational” Stay tuned.

PPS LAST CALL: We have just 3 slots left in our third Sunflower Mastermind Group for 2019. The response has been overwhelming and it is an exciting group of operators to have on your team, but we have to cut sign-ups off somewhere so we can deliver the product.

  • Do you want to be one of the last three in to a group of over 27 motivated, business leaders? Team Starburst, Team SunRich are FULL. Team ProCut is almost closed for this season.
  • Do you want in on the small group discussions, and ‘big group’ data to make Sunflowers a success this year on your farm?
  • Did you know we have negotiated 15% discounts on seeds from the major suppliers?
  • Just three slots remain.

Related Posts