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Thousands of industry members utilizing "restricted" foodservice website.

Offering operator-needed features and information, www.foodservicesearch.com, the internet site of Restaurant Hospitality and Food Management magazines, boasts thousands of registered, qualified foodservice industry users, drawn from the ranks of foodservice management.

"The site," notes Steve Percifield, internet director of the magazines’ publisher, "is unlike any other site in industry. While there are, literally, thousands of sites catering to the foodservice, and untold thousands more dedicated to food in general, ours is the only one dedicated exclusively to foodservice professionals, with free annual qualification required to permit users inside.

According to Percifield, this provides advantages to the intended audience, as well as to the foodservice suppliers who appear within the site. "One of the greatest advantages of any website is that a weekly statistics report can tell the site’s owner exactly what pages within the site are attracting the most readers. In this way, the popularity of a given page or section can be compared, permitting the site operator to provide the types of content most meaningful to the audience. In this way, the site’s evolution can be controlled to yield the greatest readership."

Percifield observed, however, that such statistics are meaningless if the readership can’t be defined. "Let’s say, for instance, that you are a manufacturer of commercial convection ovens. Many—if not most—of the "hits" on an unrestricted site are going to come from individuals who have simply looked up "ovens" on a search engine. The vast majority of such persons, however, are going to be general consumers, who have no potential to buy a commercial-type of product."

"Conversely, if you are an operator and use a search engine to research a potential oven purchase, you are likely to be inundated with hundreds of pages of information, primarily for household ovens, among other things. This is not the information you need, and each of these pages that you explore is a waste of your time."

By restricting readership to qualified members of the industry, FoodServiceSearch.com is able to ensure that operators find the information they seek, that suppliers find the exact audience they seek, and that the evolution of the site is based on the habits of its intended audience, rather than casual web surfers, since the hit counts are coming from qualified industry members.

Providing needed information to operators and managers, when they want it, and where they can find it, is the key to the site’s success. "The two most popular sections of FoodServiceSearch are the recipe database and the buyer’s guide sections," Percifield says, "followed by the food safety section."

Like the rest of the site, the recipe database has been designed to make it easy and productive for operators to use. Someone seeking a recipe can enter two criteria into the search—Mexican and salad, for example. The database automatically cross-references the two criteria and provides a list of recipes including both, many of them with accompanying pictures. All of the recipes are designed for foodservice applications, rather than a home kitchen.

"In many guides, you are limited to one specification criteria," Percifield observes. "Depending on the number of recipes in the system, you tend to get either no results or so many results that they are overwhelming. By having a two criteria system, you have narrowed the search results to what you really need. And, since we have over 500 proven recipes in the database, you are nearly assured of finding what you need."

Aside from the recipe database, buyer’s guide, and food safety section, FoodServiceSearch includes sections on equipment, industry events, trends and most-recently, free categories of classified ads for foodservice operators.

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WWW.FOODSERVICESEARCH.COM [3]