Divide & Conquer: Focus on B-to-B Creative
For Edward Don & Co., supplying “everything but the food” has long been its motto. The foodservice equipment supplier sells its customers, including Applebee’s Restaurants and the Opryland Hotel, a range of items, from serving glasses, plates and napkins, to kitchen utensils, stoves and fryers.
While those clients enjoy browsing their “Don” catalogs for the latest trends in how to use a martini glass to serve chocolate mousse, the same restaurant managers aren’t likely to buy a new $10,000 refrigerator unit off the page of a catalog.
So Don’s 11 business-to-business (b-to-b) catalog titles always will be an integral part of the company’s overall sales and marketing efforts. Don also has a team of national and regional/local account reps who call on not only the large chains but also mom-and-pop restaurateurs, cruise lines, universities and hotels.
As Jan Baiden, director of marketing communications for this North Riverside, Ill.-based company, explains: “When selling this complex product line, we don’t pretend our catalogs could tell about some of this equipment. If you’re buying a restaurant refrigerator, for instance, you need to ask questions such as what capacity do you need? Where is the handle located, and which way will the door open?
“By the same token,” she continues, “our catalogs do a great job of supporting our reps and illustrating what we offer. One wouldn’t work without the other.”
The $406-million company sells more than 1,000 Don-branded products, as well as a huge number of other brands from more than 2,000 vendors. Categories most frequently shown in its catalogs:
- tabletop, the trendiest area, includes items such as glasses and place settings;
- small items such as ladles, spoons and small utensils;
- equipment including refrigerators and ovens;
- paper/disposable goods such as napkins, takeout containers and plastic plates;
- janitorial items including cleaners, brooms and mops; and
- furnishings such as tabletops and bases, linens and skirting.