Passing The Bar
So how can distributors solve that problem? De Fabio suggested offering a buy-back program or another way to subsidize the cost of carrying the product, but that may not always be practical—especially if beverage companies are still offering products free of charge.
Rosencrans offered one idea. "Distributors need to go beyond these products and try to sell items that will draw in patrons or get patrons to buy more food and drink," he said. He advised pitching items that restaurants can give patrons to take home, such as shot glasses or miniature bar games, that will continue to generate impressions after the customer has left the restaurant. "Free cup with drink promotions are popular," he noted. "A large restaurant chain used [one of our cups] for a kids drink promotion and gave the cup and straw away with the drink."
Oftedahl gave a final tip for distributors. "Weigh the time you will need to spend against the results you are looking for. Very few restaurants or bars will purchase [an item] on the first visit," she said. "Use the visits as an opportunity to build a relationship by putting the customer first. Have confidence, be creative and be a conversationalist."