Kudler Fine Foods – Marketing Research

Kathy Kudler founded Kudler Fine Foods (Kudler) as an upscale gourmet food market. Through her passion for cooking and frustrations in shopping Kathy created a gourmet food market offering an extensive selection of the freshest ingredients and finest products at reasonable prices with helpful and knowledgeable employees.

Kathy became a success by combining convenience and affordability. She intends to further this mission by including a catering service in addition to the in-store events currently available. Kudler is continuing to expand their business to achieve goals of meeting the customer’s needs and also becoming more successful as an organization. Kudler has the ability to expand their services to include catering through the utilization of marketing resources and making appropriate business adjustments to expand and grow. The first step in achieving this result is building a solid foundation and identifying the marketing mix.

Marketing research can be defined as the collection and analysis of information to assist in the decision making process. As identified on the Kudler website, further marketing research is needed to determine a defined action. The surveys were not able to provide an adequate result. Further surveys could produce a trend in results of consumer reaction to gain accurate input regarding customer satisfaction with the current services and products offered. Through the current surveys the results showed the customers were dissatisfied, but further detail is needed to choose the appropriate course of action.

Kudler needs to define the marketing problem and the opportunity for increased customer satisfaction. At this time the problem seems to be related to gathering research and information to expand their current service offerings into areas such as catering or an organic food line. Kudler has missed a few steps in the process and this could be due to their immediate success. The company lacks an organized plan to determine the effectiveness of their decision, but they have created and followed strategic objectives. Kudler has and needs to continue to be more diligent in detailing the type of actions they plan to initiate and the expected outcomes for potential result.

Consumers have become increasingly interested in the quality of their health, relating directly to the foods they purchase and consume. As people become aware of food alternatives such as organic options they begin making changes to their current diet affecting their purchasing habits. As these changes have occurred stores such as Kudler need to make these options available and educate their audience regarding the availability. The organic and gourmet food market in the United States is rising at an accelerating rate, providing these products conveniently at one store location would provide immediate sales opportunities. As these products continue to gain popularity the sales potential will continue increasing, being in stride with this trend is important to establishing a loyal customer base.
An important factor for staying on top is being aware of the competition factor. Kudler has to not only establish their personal goals and business aspirations, but they have to know what is happening in the market place and find out who their competition is and what they are doing. At this time Kudler currently provides customers with educational experiences to create interest in products and as a great advertising tool for the stores. This current program coupled with a frequent shopper program would be beneficial for both the consumer and Kudler.

The in-store events at Kudler provide an atmosphere for more than just sales opportunities, but also a place for research and feedback from the customers. Kudler is consistently focused on the expansion of their consumer base and this includes expansion of the offerings of services and products to meet and exceed customer’s needs. Through these activities Kudler would gain customer loyalty reaching their goal of customer satisfaction. Research has shown customer loyalty has a profound effect on business results. Customer satisfaction is only the first step in continued business success the next phase is gaining loyalty. The results from customer loyalty are repurchases on a more frequent basis and recommendations by current customers to potential customers.

Utilizing their current inventory processes Kudler will need to determine popular food items and recipes for their catering services by tracking the items used for their on-site events and their top purchased items. Through this process they would be able to determine a food menu to entice customers. A list of attendees from the on-site events would be a good starting place for surveying and determining possible interest for moving forward in pursuing the new business endeavor. Many of the customers attending the events would be the most loyal and would potentially provide the best feedback based on their current engagement in food preparation.
Kudler has maintained their success through loyal customers and convenience. The placement and marketing of the catering services will need to focus on the second portion of their mission, convenience. Positioning the service as convenience for those larger events requiring more than one cook or when timing is short. This could be a responsibility consumers of Kudler may not easily want to give-up, as their interests are in cooking and creating their own gourmet meals. By focusing on the convenience portion the costumer would feel less guilty about their lack of involvement in the preparation process. Kudler has continued to measure their inventory by a demand strategy they could also implement this into their catering services and provide customers with the opportunity to choice their own menu based on their needs.

Kudler not only determines their inventory through the demand strategy, but they also use the demand pricing strategy. This has been a successful tool in the past, but special consideration will be needed while they are implementing new products and services into their currently line-up. With any specialty gourmet item the price will be slightly higher, as you are paying for the quality of your items and services. Due to the nature of the business Kudler will need to provide exemplarily services focusing on the anticipation of the customers needs and meeting special requests in conjunction with their top-notch food. In this industry many times potential business comes from referrals or attendees from past events, meaning Kudler will need to focus on each event as it may be their last one. Success from each current event is crucial to ensure future success.

Establishing a perceived value is not only important to the pricing of the service, but also in the promotion of the catering service. Kudler will need to determine the potential needs for this service and focus on the value the customers will receive from the Kudler catering service differentiating them from the existing and potential competition. By starting the promotion at in-store functions they will have a quality customer base including people who already claim their loyalty to Kudler. Once Kudler has extinguished the potential from their on-site events continue the promotion within the store, but also begin utilizing the newspapers they advertise the store through for additional exposure of the new catering service.

As mentioned previously Kudler should use their inventory monitoring system to calculate popular items and also for other suggested menu items they need to consult their popular on-site events for preferred food choices. To be competitive in the market Kudler must be aware of the competition and the items and prices of their products and services. One of Kudler’s successful strategies is the focus on customer needs, this needs to be continued by offering an open menu with possible adjustments based on customer requests. With no set menu Kudler will be competitive in the market because they will cater specifically to each customer’s needs and their willingness to alter their menu keeps customers happy and coming back for future services. As a part of Kudler’s advertising strategy they need to focus on the customer satisfaction aspect and the openness to meeting and exceeding the customer requests received. Once a catering service client is booked Kudler needs to ask lots of questions to ensure they understand the needs of the client and their expectations. This may mean asking the same question, but in a differing manner to find out the exact requirements of each party involved. Each individual working in the Kudler catering department must be trained on working with clients and follow-up needs to be required after service is provided to gain feedback. This will make each client feel as if their opinion matters and give Kudler a chance to correct problems.

Due the quality of gourmet product Kudler provides and the exemplarily service they will provide in their catering service they will potentially be higher priced than their competition. Touting the quality and services is very important to ensure the success of the catering department. The current loyal clients of Kudler will understand and expect the possible higher price, but will know the service will be worth the change. Even though the price will be high it still needs to be competitive with the market and yet affordable for clients.

Typically in retail or hospitality location is very important to the success of your business due to ability to draw potential customers. A key for Kudler is to identify their potential clients and the needs they want to meet. Prior to setting up the location of the catering business Kudler will want to identify the keys to creating sales and profit for their business. Know the community, competition, and costs associated with start-up, employees, and preparation of meals. For the least expensive start-up Kudler should use their current store locations as the place to set-up their start-up business. This will provide many existing materials to be used in the creation of the new endeavor.

Promotion decisions are very key to communicating messages to potential customers and clients. Due to the existing business Kudler is at an advantage for beginning a catering business. They have an existing clientele shopping in Kudler everyday and the cost associated with advertising to them would be very minimal, especially with the on-site events being held on a regular basis. Utilizing these resources to get the word out and experiment with the menu offerings are essential to the success of the business. Finding out the needs of potential customers and adding this key message to advertising will draw business. For specific forms of promotion Kudler should use newspapers, in-store fliers, direct mailers to current loyal customers, and advertising over the intercom at each store location.

Kudler must continue to focus on customers as their main priority in their business. As profits increase focus on technology will be an additional benefit to increase efficiencies, cut costs, and labor. At this time Kudler barely utilizes technology in their work environment and yet they continue to profit. To further capitalize on their success technology must be implemented, but customer focus has to be maintained. This will become increasing important as the business grows and the clientele grows to an unmanageable amount. As Kudler begins to expand, operations will also need to expand to include employees who effectively manage individuals and who have the mission of the Kudler company at heart.
Further promotion of the catering business can be done through the local contacts providing the organic produce. The quality of the organic produce will result in favorable responses of customers, as well as additional value. As the popularity continues to increase for locally produced and organic products there is an increase promotional value. The quality includes not only taste, but the nutrients and health value.

As Kudler continues to grow along with a long-term strategic plan and goals an implementation of short-term goals must be put in place. Focus must continue to be on the satisfaction of the customer, but other function of the business must not go by the way side, such as the monitoring of processes and procedures. After the implementation phase review and a look back has to be completed to ensure results were achieved and were the processes the most beneficial for the company overall. This could relate to the additions of technology, less manual processes, more efficient tracking, increase measurements around customer satisfaction. Instead of continually adding additional stores and services, Kudler needs to also focus on the maintenance of internal factors.

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