Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rutter’s Farm Stores Out Preforms Restaurants

The grocerant niche is filled with retailers that sell Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  One company that excels is Rutter’s Farm Stores pairing consumer’s last minute mix and match items with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Fresh food.  Rutter’s offerings look like restaurant options to consumers and exceed consumers expectations with grocerant niche bundling. 

One way that Rutter’s does it is utilizing a loyalty program similar to one a chain restaurant might have and leveraging Limited Time Offers (LTO’s).  This summer Rutter’s is bringing back its #SummerofFreedom Sweepstakes LTO. The program platform provides its registered Rutter’s Rewards customers the opportunity to win a 2016 Jeep Wrangler, free gas for a year and thousands of other prizes.

The Summer of Freedom LTO will run from May 2 through Aug. 28.  Rutter’s “customers can enter by purchasing products with a star on them and scanning their Rutter’s Rewards Card at checkout, entering on Rutter’s Facebook page, test driving or getting an oil change at an Apple Dealership, or by mailing a 3-inch by 5-inch card to Rutter’s corporate office.” That’s interactive and participatory and exactly what our Grocerant Guru® likes to see when companies utilize the FIVE P’s of food marketing. 

The grand-prize winner will receive a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4x4 at the end of the sweepstakes from Apple Automotive. Four more grand-prize winners will receive free Rutter’s gas for a year. Additional prizes include free mug refills, free coffee, concert tickets and more.

Success does leave clues one clue is if you want to look like a restaurant chain at time you must act like them in the minds-eye of the consumer. If you are interested in expanding into the grocerant niche call Steven Johnson he is the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, 253-759-7869.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

At Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Focusing on the Customer Drives Growth

Signing up new franchise partners expanding its brands reach is something that Dickey’s has done very well. From San Diego to Miami, FL  and everywhere in between you can now find a Dickey’s Barbecue Pit or so it seems.  

Dickey’s barbecue chain has focused on key customer touchpoints including Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  Currently they are marketing a platform of meals and meal components targeting “middle-ground options falling between garden-variety takeout and catering orders.”

This new platform expand Dickey’s brand value as the packaged meals are aimed at customers who want more than a regular carryout meal, but not enough to justify a full-fledged party-sized platter or bulk order. 

 Reducing the paradox of choice overload Dickey’s is offering three sizes. “The Picnic Pack is intended to feed two to four people, with a pound of meat, two sides and four rolls. The Family Pack promises to feed four to six people, who can pick two one-pound servings of meat, three sides and six rolls. The largest option is the XL Family Pack, with three one-pound servings of meat, four sides and eight rolls, or what Dickey’s says is enough food for six to eight people.”

Dickey’s understands that consumers continue to be time starved and don’t want to cook form scratch or don’t know how to cook from scratch.  Dickey’s marketing messaging points out that the bundled orders are an easy way to eat at home without having to fire up the oven and you can place the order online or in the store. 

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant ScoreCard.  For brand, or product placement assistance our Grocerant Guru® has the skill-set you are looking for.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Applebee's New Technology to Drive Faster Food Maybe

Applebee’s is trying to play catch-up in the grocerant niche filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.  Today at Noon 83.7 % of consumers do not know what’s for dinner and at 4PM 68.7% still don’t know what is for dinner.  

When consumers are time starved and don’t know what’s for dinner as they are on the way home, they are looking for fast options.  To that end Applebee’s is trying to up its game in the Take-Out, Take-Away, To-Go fresh prepared grocerant meal space.  

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar rolled out a new mobile app that will allow customers to pay ahead, making it faster and easier to order carside-to-go pick up.  Our Grocerant Guru® asks is that enough to drive sales, does Applebee’s understand the consumer or is this new App simply a little incremental step in maintaining the chains status quo?  

CVS and Walgreens drug stores have expanded the reach of their technology to capture meals, meal components, and drive retail bundling to complement the consumers need to save time?  Foodservice Solutions® team wonders is Applebee’s considered how to best expand their reach to edify their brand with consumers? 

In the case of Applebee’s it appears to be a case of simple technology upgrade rather than a focus on the consumer.  Our Grocerant Guru® does not think Applebee’s did enough.  He believes in fact that Applebee’s may not have even done enough to maintain the status quo.  

Ikea like both CVS and Walgreens on the other hand is evolving from a furniture store that sells food to a food focused retailer that sells furniture.  With $ 2.6 billion in Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food sales Ikea may garner more incremental food sales in 2016 that Applebee’s.  

The advance ordering, pre-pay, and allowing them to save credit, debit or gift card details within the app for easy payment developed with digital ordering provider Olo, makes ordering easier according to Applebee’s but 1999 all that was available for online order from companies the ilk of Cyber Meals, while the step up to mobile is important, the customer has move past the basics.  

The battle for each and every retail food dollar is expanding the field of competitors that includes new non-traditional fresh food retailers.  Chain restaurant companies that simply want to inch along, follow the sector leaders, and continue doing what they have always done; may find that is not enough. 

Ikea, CVS, Walgreens, Wawa, Sheetz, Wegmans, Casey General Stores, and Green Zebra Grocery all are increasing year over year customer counts and sales of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food in excess of 10% a year for the past 7 years are you?  

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant ScoreCard.  For brand, or product placement assistance our Grocerant Guru® has the skill-set you are looking for.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Starbucks and Coffee Copy-Cats lead Restaurant Growth

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® thinks that all in all Starbucks did just fine last this week when they reported a 7-percent increase in same-store sales for the Americas region during the March 27-ended second quarter. Starbucks is a food merchant first, a coffee shop second according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.
Coffee is the fuel for retail food sales “2015 and early 2016 have been dynamic times for global specialist coffee shops, with consistently growing demand for modern café experiences driving rapid innovation and growing competition in the category all over the world according to Euromonitor’s new 2016 edition of consumer foodservice data from 54 global markets.  Let’s see what Euromonitor found: 

Coffee shops are the fastest growing restaurant category

In 2016, specialist coffee shops were the fastest growing major restaurant category in terms of global sales, increasing 9.1% from 2014-2015 according to Euromonitor International data. This bests the international restaurant industry as a whole, which grew at 5.7%, and was stronger even than global fast food, at 5.8%, despite historically being one of the primary drivers of chained restaurant growth world-wide.

Perhaps even more notable is the fact that this growth was consistent across all world regions, including those that are considered emerging market regions as well as those that are highly mature. Western Europe for example, despite seeing just 1.5% sales growth in the industry as a whole, and negative growth in some similar categories like traditional cafés, recorded 10.8% in specialist coffee shops driven by growing interest in chained café concepts and increasing acceptance of modern, international coffee-drinking culture as a whole.

The largest growth opportunities will be in Asia

While all regions will see strong growth in the category, Asia Pacific will be home to the largest sales increase in specialist coffee shops, totaling over US$3.7 billion dollars in new value growth from 2016-2020. This is as compared to North America, at US$3.3 billion in growth, as well as another US$1.7 billion from Western Europe over the same period.

As much as US$2.2 billion of this growth will come from China alone, where Starbucks is leading the charge for a rapidly growing, Western-style tradition of drinking premium takeaway coffee and socializing in coffee shops; however, many smaller Asian markets will see impressive growth in the category as well. South Korea will contribute another US$715 million in new specialist coffee shops growth from 2015-2020, driven in large part by local chains rather than international brands alone.

Competition is growing quickly, leading to rapid diversification

This move toward a highly diversified playing field is a global phenomenon as well. Though Starbucks and McCafe are some of the only chains to have achieved a truly broad presence in terms of geographic coverage, a number of international brands are now taking steps toward becoming viable multi-regional competitors. The UK-based Costa Coffee has made significant progress toward a presence in Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, while Japanese chain Doutor Coffee has begun expanding across other Asian markets like South Korea and Taiwan. South Korean chain Caffe Bene has cast its net even wider, expanding into China and the US, capitalizing on its ties to Korean pop-culture entertainment and targeting markets where interest in Korean entertainment is growing.

Top Ten Global Specialist Coffee Shop Chains by 2015 Sales (US$ mn)

2015 Sales (US$ mn)
2015 Outlets
Starbucks Corp
Costa Coffee
Whitbread Plc
McDonald’s Corp
Doutor Coffee Shop
Doutor Nichires Holdings Co Ltd
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The
International Coffee & Tea LLC
Caffe Nero
Caffe Nero Group Ltd
Tully’s Coffee Corp
Ediya Espresso
Ediya Co Ltd
Caribou Coffee
Caribou Coffee Co Inc
Gloria Jean’s Coffees
Retail Food Group

Competitive dynamics in the coffee shop market are changing at the local level as well. In emerging markets, this has meant an increasingly large number of brands competing for share, many of which are going to creative new heights to differentiate themselves. In South Korea this has manifested in the form of a vast array of themed cafes, from mango desserts to cookie decorating or cats, whereas in Western Europe many coffee shops have been experimenting with adding alcohol offerings to bring in evening traffic. Likewise, some more traditional bars/pubs have even been experimenting with adding coffee offerings and breakfast or lunch menus, resulting in a blurring of the definition lines between beverage-based concepts and even greater competition for coffee and tea occasions.

In developed markets competition has been increasing too, though in a slightly different form. In the US, competition has become a regional and even city-level game, with large numbers of independent, third-wave cafés and boutique chains like Blue Bottle Coffee and Intelligentsia popping up to compete with larger brands. Over the long-term, this kind of movement toward a highly diversified, highly fragmented, and most of all highly competitive global coffee shop market is only expected to continue. Operators all over the world have all taken note of the rapidly growing demand in coffee shops, and everyone is looking to get in on the opportunity before it’s too late.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant scorecard, brand, or product placement assistance.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869