Theo Muir is the Senior Director of Marketing Operations and Innovation at Bob Evans Farms. Theo has assumed this role for three and a half years. His role has moved from the food side, to the CPG side, and at this point, is currently on the restaurant side of the business. Bob Evans Farms, Inc. is a food service, processing, and retail company based in the Columbus, Ohio suburb of New Albany. The company is named after its founder, Bob Evans (1918–2007.)
Three questions with Theo Muir:
How does your team generate new ideas?
The ideas come from everywhere; we monitor things very closely. We have a group that looks at trends closely. We also have ideation sessions with our workforce. The key to ideas is that they have to be pragmatic; to successfully allow for that, we set specific business goals and innovate around that. One of the things we do differently is that we always think about innovations and how we can achieve something better.
Do you have specific rituals for re-setting your team to be creative?
We like to take a step back and think about the innovation phase. We schedule specific time to think about innovation. The 'explore' portion of an innovation cycle is very important. For example, we try to go out and visit different restaurants and have a meeting there. It helps to get our minds in different environments.
How do you identify trends? What resources does your team use to spot trends and consumer insights?
We do work with vendors who are working and following trends. Our particular scope is with restaurant trends. For example: how are the trends with regard to eating at home and eating out changing? We focus on behaviors and and changing dynamics. Then you can use this information to change and tweak products.