As a foodservice servicer I sometimes struggle to find my (my company’s) place in the consumer world. In dining the consumer is always the most important piece of the puzzle, everyone works together to help make sure they are satisfied. So how do you keep these customers in the loop when they are not necessarily your customers?

Here at FoodCALC we do business with restaurants, eventually what we do trickles down to consumers, we don’t sell to them or promote to them, but we do get a lot of interest from them. I just couldn’t help but think we must have something to offer them while still being true to what we do and who we are. So we’re trying something new: meet The Dining Detective.

The Dining Detective is consumer blog written by a health conscious diner to other health conscious diners. Detective Lara shares her experiences in dining from her perspective as a calorie counter and her victories with finding restaurant food that fits within her nutritional budget.

We’re hoping to learn how consumers like Detective Lara and her many followers use the information that we and provide to restaurants. That way we can better understand what they need to accomplish and how to work with them to help them meet their end goal of rave reviews and satisfaction.

I know that many of you also provide services to restaurants.
Do you do anything through your business that deals directly with the consumer?
Do you think it’s necessary?
Email me when people comment –

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  • I think a name that suggests more about the nutrition analysis of your restaurant "reviews" would be in order, or at least a tag line that suggests nutrition analysis, but in layman's terms. I assume the blog is aimed at consumers, correct? Sometimes, the most obvious and least creative names are the most effective. Names that answer the questions, "Who is this blog aimed at?", "What exactly is this blog about?", and "How is this blog different than other blogs?"

    From what I gather, the blog is aimed at people who eat out a lot, but are concerned about nutrition. The blog is about restaurant critiques from a healthy eating viewpoint. This blog is different from other food critic blogs in that it focuses specifically on the nutritional analysis of the restaurant being critiqued.

    From what I gather, the best name would say, "Hey, you people who are looking for something healthy to eat in this area, here's your chance to see some restaurants that meet (or don't meet) the approval of a registered dietician.

    I don't know if any of this gets you closer to a name, or maybe a name and tagline combination, but this is what I do to focus toward branding a restaurant. Branding is the same whether you're talking about restaurant, laundry detergent or blogs. The name and tagline have to say what your product does and who it's for. The more effective names aren't necessarily the most creative.

    By the way, and completely off the subject, I'm reviewing nutrition analysis software for a chef service concept I own. I'd be interested to hear more about FoodCalc and the different considerations of purchasing nutrition analysis software
  • Hi Brandon, thanks for the comment. The blog is going well so far but we've slowed our posting rate because we are getting ready for a name change. Not sure what to yet, any ideas?
  • How is the blog going so far Alyson? I think it was a great idea.
  • Alyson - this is a great idea. I love what it is all about. As I dine at various restaurants, I'm always wondering how good (or bad) a particular entry is for me. I loved Panera Bread until I found out just how unhealthy some of their sandwiches are. The challenge for Lara is going to be scale. How can she cover a large enough geography to gain loyalty from people across the country? Can you engage other detectives to help with other regions? Can you provide links to nutritional pages for popular chains so people can get quick information before they dine? Can you provide a page of healthy options at chains and "things to look for" at other restaurants that help people make better decisions? These are just a few things to think about as Lara grows and expands. Good luck. Great idea!
  • I run a marketing firm that runs email marketing, text marketing and social media marketing campaigns for restaurants. Mostly we deal with the restaurant owners, but through our social media marketing we interact with consumers. I think it is 100% necessary to deal with the end consumer to learn and understand why they dine out, what they are looking for and how to capture their business. If you are trying to sell something to the end consumer, whether it be food or another product, it is vital to understand what they are looking for. Only then can you meet their needs. For detective laura, if she understands what her customers/followers are looking for in their eating habits, she can customize her blog to meet those needs and will ultimately gain more of a following. Too many companies sell their product and focus on their own situation instead of understanding their customers.
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