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If you are in the business of food, whether you have a restaurant or produce gourmet or artisan foods, it’s likely that you already understand that “foodie” isn’t just a buzzword, it’s an identity that refers to the people who care about where their food comes from and how that food is produced.

If you are active in your local community, engaging with foodies is easy because you will find them and they can find you and your products – at the local restaurants, coffee roasters, artisan cheese shops, brewpubs, bakeries and farmer’s markets. They already can be found anywhere that you sell or supply or go to buy, taste and support other businesses. People who love food tend to congregate in and around these places.

Unfortunately, isn’t always as easy to have that same kind of presence and engagement online. You probably already have a website, facebook page and twitter account.  Beyond that, if you are still be looking for ways to network, communicate and engage with foodies and other food businesses online, here are some additional places you should check out:

Online Marketplaces For Selling Products

Foodoro challenges it’s shoppers to Discover Great Food. Shoppers can browse by type of food or browse foodmakers by location, which is a great feature for foodies who are particular concerned with supporting local business. Each foodmaker has a profile page with spaces allotted for a banner or logo, contact information, links and more information. One nice feature under the “about” section is aptly named “our story” providing opportunities for you to provide more personal details – how your business got started, your values, the ingredients you use and community you come from. It’s free to join and list products, the website earns a 15% commission.

Foodzie is another online marketplace that encourages it’s customers to “Taste Something Different”.  You might recall that it was mentioned in this previous post that offers more great tips for reaching foodies online. Foodzie is a very similar site and the main competitor to Foodoroo, offering nearly identical categories and search options, and also great profile pages with an “our story” section. It is also free to join and list products, but their commission is slightly higher at 20%.

However, there are a couple of features that really make Foodzie stand out as a great place to sell. For one, the option to search by region is displayed right up by the logo in the header, you don’t have to dig for it at all. Again, for foodies concerned with shopping locally, this is a huge draw! They also prominently feature a specially-curated monthly Tasting Box, offering samples of six products for an affordable price. It’s a fantastic opportunity to reach new potential customers and impress them with your products. For more details about the benefits of being featured in a Foodzie Tasting Box, check out this post in which food business owners relay their experiences and how it helped their sales!

Networking with Farms and the local Fresh Food Movement

Local Dirt and the Locavore Mobile App are partners in a network that helps consumers discover the closest farm fresh food or farmer’s markets. The website enables restaurants, suppliers, consumers and food producers to find each other, place orders and pick them up locally. Registering on Local Dirt will also allow your products to show up in the app when people use it to search locally.

Local Harvest is a website that provides a searchable database of organic, sustainable and artisan food producers, farms and CSAs nationwide. You can create a profile for your business and list it for free.

Websites similar to Local Harvest, serve specific cities, states and regions around the country and often provide more details and networking possibilities, since they directly serve active communities of consumers, restaurants, farms and food makers.

A great example of this can be found on FarmFresh.org – a local food guide for areas in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. On this site, restaurants that buy locally sourced ingredients are listed alongside the farms and artisan food makers.

Take, for example, restaurant Nick’s On Broadway, a definite favorite of foodies in Providence, RI. Chef Derek Wagner has the local sources of ingredients listed right there on the menu. Even if that wasn’t the case, customers could visit the listing for Nick’s on FarmFresh.org, and check out the farms, breweries, artisan cheese makers and other local food suppliers that the restaurant buys from.

Sites like these enable foodies to browse and click-through entire networks of listings to discover the best food and businesses in their community that they are likely to support. Making sure your business is listed, with up-to-date information and news of any current events and promotions is a resourceful way to reach more people.

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As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.