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Media, Restaurant Culture Still Top Consumer Influence

When it comes to new products and top sellers, independent gourmet housewares retailers all have a code to crack when it comes to their customer base.

They have to examine the demographics and the top-sellers, examine requested items and how they stack up against other goods and keep on top of food trends, purchasing trends and product demand.

All of these help to create a successful product assortment that attracts new and repeat customers.

However, several gourmet housewares retailers told GOURMET INSIDER that while social media and blogger influences are gaining ground with customers, mainstream media and restaurant experiences are still major influences for consumers.

“I was selling truffle slicers like crazy. About 24 in a short period of time,” said Dan Saklad, owner of Cary, NC-based Whisk. “I finally figured out that Rachael Ray was using one on her show to slice garlic razor thin and that’s what people were using it for.”

Saklad noted that raclette and sous vide are also picking up steam in his store, calling up the growing trend of consumers wanting to take the experiences they have had while out and have them at home with or without friends.

“Around here, restaurants tend to differentiate themselves with their equipment,” he said. “I think people discover things when they are out and they ask about it. Once they figure out it’s not that intimidating, they want to try it at home.”

Amy Pomp- Lorette, store manager of Mrs. Cook’s based in Seattle, WA, also said that sous vide has been a hot seller for the same reason.

“The restaurant business has definitely helped with the sale of sous vide,” she said. “Our customers are fairly sophisticated, so once they realize what sous vide is and it’s explained to them, they get it and they want to use it in their home.”

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