To help foodservice decision-makers deal with concerns such as increased competition, rapidly changing tastes and trends and rising rents and wages, Tyson Foodservice, Springdale, Ark., says it recast its business as a customer-centric enterprise “that understands what’s ‘on the line’ for operators.” 

This division, named Tyson Foodservice Teams, is comprised of small, specialized foodservice teams focused on the industry’s main channels, including Restaurant, College & University, K-12, Healthcare, Convenience, Hospitality and Military. For the record, the company offers more than 2,500 products covering all dayparts, menu parts and price points. Its brands include Tyson, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee, Chef Pierre, Bistro Collection, Bonici, Wright, Mexican Original, ibp Trusted Excellence and Lady Aster.

Officials say the strategic shift in Tyson’s approach to foodservice was ignited by an extensive, six-month market intelligence and strategic planning initiative after the 2014 acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Company. The reorganization process included listening to and learning from more than 1,000 key, food-purchase decision-makers from channels as disparate as fine-dining to QSR and K-12 to healthcare. 

Tyson says team members have been trained to actively listen to operators and keep abreast of each segment’s economic climate, emerging trends and operational issues. 

“It seems many operators may feel that food companies are ‘out of touch,’” says Kim Cupelli, vice president of marketing for Tyson Foods. “We aim to change that perception by supplying our customers with not only high quality proteins for the center of plate but also experienced, empathetic teams who can play a trusted, consultative role focused on their success.”

Tyson Foodservice Teams launched an extensive “What’s On The Line?” marketing and training effort focused on understanding and valuing what’s at stake for operators. This renewed belief system and rebrand includes the following:

  • New “Core Credo”
  • Individualized channel teams with unique logo treatments for each
  • Support and resource materials focused on each, unique channel
  • Website revamp with channel-specific content specifically directed to operators 

Additionally, the “What’s On The Line?” brand campaign will increase Tyson Foodservice’s direct customer communication with added focus on one-on-one interaction, more visibility at national, regional and local trade shows and online tools, such as the Tyson Foodservice Teams Source App. 

“We exist to help our customers realize their fullest potential and know that finding new opportunities at the center of the menu requires understanding what’s at the center of the customer need,” adds Kristin Bird, senior vice president, foodservice for Tyson Foods. “This commitment must be practiced, not just promised, and that’s just what we plan to do.” 

Will McCormick is a chef with MOD Restaurant & Social, Bentonville, Ark. He says the ideal food company supplier needs to be committed to the best quality customer care.

“The relationship I’m looking for with a food purveyor is not just supplying us with ingredients, but providing us with solutions to achieve the perfection that all of us hope to achieve,” he says. “They need to listen and know we are ‘working our tails off’ day-in and day-out in chaos in order to make our dollars to pay rent, pay our mortgages and achieve our dreams. We want a supplier that’s going to know our business—and grow our business with us.” 

Originally appeared in the August, 2017 issue of Prepared Foods as Tyson Foodservice Reorganizes.