Monday, November 30, 2009

Questions on Grocerants?


Here are some of the questions that I received recently related to my blog. Why are consumers going to a grocery store for hot food over restaurant TO-go Food or cooking? Do consumers prefer to spend time cooking from scratch or do they want more time for family/friends/activities? Do grocery stores really prepared the food from scratch? What is the best way for me to enter the grocerant niche? Just where is the opportunity within the niche as an employee? Food and people are focused in each question. One Email stated: I don’t cook, Why should I? I can get great food fast in an appropriate portion without waste.


What are the most compelling reasons to buy ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods?

• Quantify, based how it looks and is presented the visceral appeal?

• Price of the food ease of paying for it at the market, evaluate price vs. cost ingredients ; restaurant or time to cook the same at home?

• Freshness, does freshness equal value and can it also mean it’s a sustainable product?

• What sector holds the advantage in the grocerant sector? Could it be number of units simple points of distribution?

I do believe that there is an underlining change in how consumers see value. In Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores, and Restaurants. That value is being determined by a new set of metrics. Included it those is HEALTH-QUALITY, PRICE, SPEED OF SERVICE (TIME) AND APPERAANCE OF THE FOOD. Overriding all of the issues is where the consumer can consume the food. Consumer are on the run, they don’t have time for a full service sit down restaurant. Today grocery stores and supermarkets are winning however with the global food testing underway at 7 Eleven they too may become a very important player in this niche..

Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us ,Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

 Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development leverage out Outside Eyes for inside Profits. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today & Tomorrow brought consumer relevance into the spotlight.



The Grocerant sector continues to show growing interest for share of stomach by all players. In August a promotion by Maggiano’s Little Italy a restaurant chain owned by Brinker International begin signaled a ear continued relevance for foodservice leadership within the restaurant sector. The promotion called “Today & Tomorrow” was a new twist on the buy one get one offers restaurants have offered for years. This time however at Maggiano’s you order two meals one cooked for you to eat; the other will be cooked and packaged for you to take home and eat tomorrow.


Grocerants ready-to-heat and ready-eat-products are so consumer friendly and well accepted today I was reassured that some within the restaurant sector get. This Thanksgiving as company came and left I was reminded of this promotion on three separate occasions. Creating buzz for both the product and company from within this promotion still has customers talking. Success does leave clues and this one leads directly the consumer, that’s a hit in my book!

Supermarkets, Grocery stores, Convenience stores all have a big stake here. It is all about share of stomach. If Maggiano’s gets dinners two out of seven nights in a week, well that’s big? When the other players jump in, the race for the consumer share of stomach begins a new and will reach a new level! For a state of the art grocerant program review leave a comment or contact Steven Johnson of Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time for the MAN-MENU when prepared ready-to-eat food is the game.





According to Peter Leimbach of Nielsen company “men are shopping more than their fathers or grandfathers ever did” In 1985 only 14.3 % of men did the shopping for food, in 1997 it had grown to 26.1 % and in 2009 it has reached 31.2%.

 Grocerants selling ready-to-eat and ready-to heat food no w must take into account that “almost one-third of men are now the principal shoppers in the household. With more men in store aisles, marketers need to better understand how to reach this growing segment of shoppers” according to Leimbach..

Today, almost one-third of men are now the principal shoppers in the household. With more men in store aisles, marketers need to better understand how to reach this growing segment of shoppers.

Nielsen data shows that while females dominate shopping trips in all channels except convenience/gas stores, their share of trips has declined in all outlets from 2004 to 2008/2009. On the other hand, men’s share of retail shopping trips has done just the opposite—increased in all outlets. The channels with the greatest relative importance to men include convenience/gas outlets, warehouse clubs and grocery stores."

Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wawa must be the Northeast leader grocerant in ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food prepared food.



Why else would supermarket chain Giant who is now building a convenience store with six double sided gas pumps describe the convenience stores as “It’s the exact same setup as Wawa”. In the event that Giant is successful duplicating the layout, the outstanding consumer interactivity and participatory feel of a Wawa they will be well on there way to continued growth and success. Giant’s proposed Hilltown Plaza convenience store location could well become a template for others in the Northeast if it is successful.


Wawa has been identified as the third largest food retailer in the Delaware Valley. This reflects strongly on the type of food and beverages that they offer and the relationship that they have built within the community. Many brands offer products and services that are commodities but they're successful in developing some differentiation for their products and services that consumers are sold on, which Wawa has been able to do, then continued success is at hand.

Giant is a trusted brand in the Northeast. The best brands are flexible and capable of reshaping and reinventing themselves and their messages over time. Coca-Cola is a good example of a brand that has never abandoned its core product but has evolved its message over time to keep up with changes in the marketplace and society at large. It looks to me as if Giant is on track to keep pace with the ever adapting consumer. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

 
 
Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us ,Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant
Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development leverage out Outside Eyes for inside Profits. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is 7 Eleven the Grocerant Global leader in Private Label Ready-to-eat meals?




Working closely with it suppliers around the world 7 Eleven is quietly positioning it’s self to become the Global leader in Ready-to-eat and Ready-to-heat prepared food. Focusing on quality 7 Eleven has tasked it suppliers to guarantee the highest quality in it ready-to-eat food products. Mr. Yutthasak Bhumisurakul, Deputy Managing Director, CP All Plc., the operator of 7 Eleven stores in Thailand stated that the efforts are paying off. So much so that in Thailand alone they are selling around 5 million ready-to-eat meal packs per month which accounts for 70 % of total sales. The results; they are planning to open another 450 new stores next year!


Success leaves clues and 7 Eleven is out to recreate a new consumer relevant brand and do it quickly. Yosemite Road is 7 Elevens new private label brand of wine that was developed in only SIX MONTHS. It comes in two varietals a chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon and will be rolled out in Japan and the US to start. Those two styles are top sellers in the U.S. and Japan. Mark Herron a senior product director stated "Creating the wine was fairly easy because the taste profiles were already somewhat similar in Japan and the U.S. California wine is dominant in the U.S. and growing in Japan, especially at this entry-level price point”

7-Eleven has left the roller grill at the back door and recently has introduced Stay Fresh Bananas, Pizza, Chicken Wings. They are testing in new pilot stores their “latest insights into market trends to provide a range of 45 freshly prepared food products, including a hot breakfast menu and toasted sandwiches cooked to order.” This test includes a “café-esque range of hot lunch alternatives and will combine with Lavazza to offer barista-made coffee.” There is no doubt in my mind that the grocerant prepared food ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat niche will have a new global leader soon. US competitors had better take notice including Supermarkets, Grocery Stores as well as other Convenience Stores. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more about the grocerant niche read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Monday, November 23, 2009

The 4PM cookbook is Trader Joes.



Grocerant bundled ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat meals are garnering such attention that Grocery stores, Supermarkets, Convenience stores and Restaurants are all jumping head first into this booming niche. How people prepare a meal today is a confluence of  bundling components into a personalized meal.


Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati understand meal bundling so well that they have written a cookbook that is intended to be used while shopping. They love good food; love to cook and love and they love Trader Joe’s! They love Trader Joes so much the cook book is written for that store only, but it can be used at stores like Whole Foods or Central Market as well.

Grocerant prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods are portable and in most cases better for you. The idea of new and different meals from prepared foods bundled into a meal is so compelling that I am will to predict that it will not be long until a universal bundled prepared food cookbook is forth coming. This particular cookbook fits easily into your pocket or purse for on the go meal planning and organization in the store. “The Trader Joe’s Companion,” is the milestone product that will accelerate this already booming niche. Congratulations Deana and Wona on a great new product and I am sure consumer will thank you soon as well.

Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us ,Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

 Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development leverage out Outside Eyes for inside Profits. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Food fight at 4 PM. Who’s fighting for you?




When 4 PM rolls around most Americans start wondering what am I going to have for dinner and very, very few will even entertain the idea of cooking from scratch. Most people don’t have a clue what they want let alone what is for dinner. At least that is what research has shown over the past several years. Bundled prepared meal components are changing and evolving by region and family size. The opportunity to enhance the dinning experience via the grocerant niche has never been better.


At 4 PM the competition between Supermarkets, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores and Restaurants is in full swing. The Grocerant sector, that is to say the prepared ready-to-eat and or ready-to-heat food sector is booming. Restaurants tout rapidly growing takeout or Take Away foods. Grocery Stores and Supermarkets are pushing the high margin prepared portable food section all the while Convenience Stores are bundling and pricing ready-to-eat and or ready-to-heat-food extremely competitively. Most consumer research reflect that the food components in each category are getting better and better as well. It’s a true fight for today’s consumer.

Foodservice Solutions we specialize in understanding successful bundling of the prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food niche. It is the most profitable niche in the Supermarket and Grocery sector and growing in consumer popularity. If you would like a strategic grocerant program assessment leave a comment and someone will contact you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grocerants 10 steps to build a solid brand position


Symbolism. The 5th P of Marketing purpose. Why you are there! The most successful brands are inclusive include values greater than themselves. A lifestyle, a philosophy, an emotion a point in time.


The story. Most major brands have a story so should you. Examples: if you like Ford vehicles, you might be familiar with the story of Henry Ford or if you love your Nikes, you probably know how the Nike swoosh logo was created.

A track record. Let your customers tell show you the value within your brand. When your business is first starting out, don't fool yourself into believing that your marketing efforts are 'brand building' efforts. They're not because to build a real brand, you have to have an extensive track record with consumers.

Trust. When you've consistently delivered for your customers long enough, you'll gain the type of trust that many brands have. Case in point: a friend of mine always reminds people that he won't buy an automobile that isn't a BMW. He's had a good experience with his and trusts so much in the company that he doesn't believe there's a better-made car.

Expectation. When a consumer chooses a product or service because of brand association, he or she is buying an expectation. Perhaps it's the expectation that the branded product is of higher quality or that the service will be provided in a more efficient manner.

Differentiation. Expectation is often borne of differentiation. Many brands offer products and services that are commodities but they're successful in developing some differentiation for their products and services that consumers are sold on.

Imitators. Imitation is the sincerest of flattery and you're probably not a 'brand' until you have competitors trying to copy you.

Market leadership. Top brands are usually looked at as leaders in the markets they compete in.

Adaptability. The best brands are flexible and capable of reshaping and reinventing themselves and their messages over time. Coca-Cola is a good example of a brand that has never abandoned its core product but has evolved its message over time to keep up with changes in the marketplace and society at large.

A strong marketing presence. Although it's nice to believe that you can market yourself for free on Facebook and Twitter, the reality is that brands aren't advertising on television and radio because they're dumb. Building and maintaining brand equity requires awareness and awareness requires broad marketing efforts.


Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us ,Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

 Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development leverage out Outside Eyes for inside Profits. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy

Friday, November 20, 2009

Restaurant.com and Quest team to miss lead the way in loyalty programs.





If you’re a high speed internet customer of Quest you just might have received or participated in the most miss-leading loyalty program in the world. Two of my friends call and asked if I thought it was an out right BAIT & SWITCH trap. Cleverly conceived yet poorly executed this program missed the mark in so many ways. Clients were to be issued a $50 Restaurant.com Dining Certificate for being loyal customer of Quest. Multiple Emails went out congratulating you on your $50.00 Certificate. Ah the catch then came to redeem the certificate here is a sample of what people found.


1. $50.00 certificate Valid with a $100.00 food purchase; excludes happy hour, 18% gratuity added pre discount, Dine in Only.

2. $25.00 certificate Valid with a minimum $20.00 food purchase, Excludes happy hour, 18% gratuity added to per-discount check amount Dine in only.

3. $25.00 certificate Valid with a minimum $20.00 food purchase, Excludes happy hour, 18% gratuity added to per-discount check amount Dine in only.


OK, you get the picture if you spend money you get discount any number of restaurants. The problem was that the implication was the “certificate was positioned in all the correspondence to be convey a gift certificate. Not a basic BOBO or buy one get one free. If you’re going to be on either end of a loyalty program make sure it’s a reward not a punishment. Artfully misleading consumer never pays dividends.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roll, Roll, Roll, Away Roller Grill!




Harkin back to the days that employee’s uniforms were back & white. Employees all dawned paper hats, a time that the roller grill was introduced and ready-to-eat hot prepared food was introduced in the Convenience store channel. It was a time when the availability of food staples in extended hours of operations drove sales in this dynamic channel. The Convenience store channel continues to be dynamic, currently it is booming in the prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food sector or what I call the grocerant sector. I believe that differentiation does not mean different it means familiar within each food niche and this one is no different. Consumers young and old are demanding more choice, fresher quality and more contemporary food options.

Niche and industry global leader 7-Eleven has left the roller grill at the back door and recently has introduced Stay Fresh Bananas, Pizza, Chicken Wings. They are testing in new pilot stores their “latest insights into market trends to provide a range of 45 freshly prepared food products, including a hot breakfast menu and toasted sandwiches cooked to order.” This test includes a “café-esque range of hot lunch alternatives and will combine with Lavazza to offer barista-made coffee.”

Sheetz & Wawa both offer a full range of prepared food choice including fresh salads and fruit options. Good companies do good things over and over again. Recently Wawa CEO Howard Stoeckel detailed several efforts the convenience store chain is undertaking in during the economic slump the US is in, He stated "we're performing better than the vast majority of retailers," Fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food products are strongly contributing to on-going sales and profit success.

There is a striking overlap in growth of new food products at these three industry leading companies. Lead by consumer research, driven by a strong consumer positive response, I can say we will be seeing less and less of the roller grill in the coming years. Exciting new food options are on there way to the convenience store channel. Let me know what your working on or will introduce next. For a program assessment contact me directly at: stevejohnson77@msn.com or visit my linkedin profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ONE IN SIX CHILDREN EATS TO-GO FOOD OR READY-TO-EAT MEALS DAILY.



Under the age of 18, chances are your eating one ready-to-eat / ready-to-heat meal per day or to-go food daily! Jane Kirby, a Press Association Health Correspondent recently released the results of a poll taken that found: “ One in six youngsters eats a ready-made meal or take-away every single day” the report continued “ Under-18s typically have three or more such meals a week, while 16% say they eat them at least once a day.”


Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food in the prepared food section of most US based Supermarkets and Grocery stores have begun to focus on better-for-you bundled meal options. Utilizing fresh prepared and sustainable food products these sections of the retail outlet are booming. This study of 3,000 people was released by Siemens and The Stroke Association to raise awareness of the risks of eating too much salty food. Which we all understand is dangerous particularly when, combined with too little exercise, increases blood pressure and puts people at risk of stroke even young people.

What is important for the prepared food grocerant niche is the obvious acceptance of the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food category by both the parents and children. When both of these groups are on the same food page, success within the niche is assured. The industry needs to continue to focus on improving the “better-for-you” aspect with each new menu item rolled out. Flavor, portability and ease of reheating can not be over looked. This study of 3000 individuals found that one is six under the age of 18 consumes a ready-to-eat / ready-to-heat or to-go meal daily. Validation of this niche has never been as clear as it is today. I have been following this niche since 1996. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more about the grocerant niche read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

READY, SET, EAT ! Boston Market will deliver your holiday meal!



Grocery stores, Supermarkets and Deli’s lookout here comes Boston Market. Proving once again that solid consumer focused research pays! Boston Market is stepping up to the plate and offering consumers what they told researchers they wanted! Annika Stensson, spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association, wrote in an e-mail. "While consumer spending and corporate bookings are not as strong as they were a few years ago, we expect that people will still celebrate the season by dining out or giving restaurant gift cards to friends and family." The association estimates 53 percent of consumers will turn to restaurant take-out items for their holiday meals.


Boston Market the restaurant industry niche leader in prepared food is here to assist by alleviating “holiday stress, Boston Market’s chef-inspired Catered Holiday Buffets will feature several packages this year, including Deluxe, Premium and Create Your Own Buffets. The meals include a choice of entrée, sides and assorted whole pies and pie by the slice, and can be delivered to customers’ doors, hot and ready to serve, within 24 hours of ordering. The full menus for Catered Holiday Buffets, which start at $9.99 per person, are available in restaurants and online at bostonmarket.com/catering.

For those who still want to do at least some of the cooking this Thanksgiving, Boston Market will offer no-stress gourmet Heat & Serve Holiday Banquets. Customers can pick up a chilled meal at any Boston Market, heat for two hours, and it is ready to serve. The Heat & Serve Banquets include a choice of a whole Butterball Turkey, Spiral Sliced Ham or Boneless Turkey Breast; gourmet sides and pies, and cornbread. Complete banquets include an appetizer such as Spinach Artichoke Dip and crackers. Heat & Serve Holiday Banquet options begin at $5.42 per person.

Heat & Serve Holiday items also can be ordered a la carte for those customers who want a few sides to compliment a homemade entree, a main dish to accompany their own spreads, or a tasty dessert to round out the Thanksgiving goodness.

If you’re meal is not ready to go just remember that Boston Market is! If your looking for one in you area here is the link. www.bostonmarket.com/catering. If your company is bundling a holiday meal leave a comment or Email me directly at:stevejohnson77@msn.com, I would love to hear what your doing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bring life to your Private Label foodservice prepared food!



With profit margins growing in the prepared food grocerant niche retailers are building private label brands. We are just at the infancy of a new boom in food retailing. Currently we are witnessing the creation of store branded meals which include an entrée with identity. This is taking place nationally by daypart and by region providing sustainable credibility in private label prepared food. With ever increasing quality of visceral presentation private label prepared food is moving from a place of ambiguity to the front line in garnering new customers, building loyalty and increasing customer frequency. Soon grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores will bring in new ideations on food, food retailing and positioning within the stores exciting consumer with new products and programs.

Loaded with business acumen the key will be to bring product with authentic integrity and trust to the consumer. This will take a well rounded foodservice background and intense interpersonal savvy. With proper priorities, solid framework both brand retailer and manufactures will be able to rise to the challenge; creating a niche that will thrive and drive profit for both. Success leaves clues and the customer has left us many.

Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Branding ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared grocerant style food, the time is now.



Convenience Stores, Grocery Stores, Supermarkets can benefit greatly by branding and building their private label ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat Grocerant style food. Recent comments to Convenience Stores News global research specialist The Nielsen Company CEO David Calhoun when asked about the growth of private label or store brands, “Calhoun observed that retailer brands will continue to gain at the expense of secondary and smaller brands. "U.S. retailers are still in catch up mode toward world class brand strength," said Calhoun, who added retailers’ move into store brands is "not a zero-sum game. It’s a partnership to fulfill consumer needs."


The opportunity in private label ready to eat Grocerant has never been better. Most organizations now have category managers and brand or product private label brand managers. Resetting of the price value quality equilibrium will benefit those whose brand established brand identity with validity. That is just what brand managers do. Building your brand within the stores will drive top line sales and bottom line profits.

Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pick up Thanksgiving meal to go, where are you going to do it?



My question is where is the best holiday meal being offered in your area? Please both best food and then best packaged meal.

Here is what people are finding in the San Francisco Bay Area according to the San Francisco Chronicle
If you're not up to preparing your own Thanksgiving meal, most supermarkets and specialty stores offer fully-cooked meals to go. Here's a selection. Be sure to note the deadline for ordering and pickup.

A.G. Ferrari. Thanksgiving dinner serves 6-8, $89.99. Includes a 3-pound roast turkey breast and 10 side dishes such as a braised potato and porcini mushroom casserole and two 6-inch dessert tortas. Side dishes are available a la carte. Order by Nov. 24 at any Bay Area location by calling (877) 878-2783, or go to agferrari.com.

Andronico's. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner, serves 8-10 people, $99.99. Includes turkey, side dishes and pumpkin pie. Items are also available a la carte. Order by Nov. 25 at any Bay Area location or go to andronicos.com.

Berkeley Bowl West. Roast free range turkey dinner, serves 6-8, $99. Includes turkey, side dishes and dessert. Other dinners available include hickory smoked spiral sliced ham dinner, serves 6-8, $99; prime rib dinner, serves 6-8, $129. Order by 5 p.m. Nov. 20 for pickup by 5 p.m. Nov. 25. 920 Heinz Ave., Berkeley; (510) 898-9555. (Not available at Oregon Street location.)

Bi-Rite Market. Thanksgiving dinner, serves 8-10, $149.99. Includes roast Diestel turkey and side dishes, but not dessert. Order by 5 p.m. Nov. 22 for pick up Nov. 24 and 25. 3639 18th St., San Francisco; (415) 241-9760 or biritemarket.com.

Bristol Farms. Holiday a la carte menu; prices and amounts vary. Entrees include roast turkey, honey spiral ham, poached salmon filet, prime rib, roast goose, pork loin and turkey breast. Order by Nov. 22 for pick up Nov. 25. Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco; (415) 979-0106 or bristolfarms.com.

Draeger's. Draeger family banquet, serves 12-14, $174.95. Includes roast turkey, side dishes and pumpkin pie. Other dinners, entrees and sides are also available. Order by phone or in person by noon Nov. 24 for pick up by 4 p.m. Nov. 25. Locations in San Mateo, Menlo Park, Los Altos and Danville. Go to draegers.com for complete menus.

Marie Callender's. Turkey dinner, serves 6-8, $99.99. Includes roast turkey, seven side dishes, pie and coffee. Also available a la carte. Order by Nov. 24 at any restaurant location or (800) 776-7437, ext. 5350 and mariecallenders.com.

Mollie Stone's. Thanksgiving dinner, serves 10-12 , $129.99. Includes free-range turkey, side dishes and pumpkin pie. A la carte items are also available. Order 48 hours in advance, and pick up by 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Visit or call any Bay Area location or go to molliestones.com.

The Pasta Shop. Roast Diestel turkey parts plus other entrees, side dishes and desserts, all a la carte. Order by 1 p.m. Nov 23 for pickup by 7 p.m. Nov. 25. 1786 Fourth St., Berkeley; (510) 528-1786. 5655 College Ave., Oakland; (510) 547-4066, or go to rockridgemarkethall.com.

Planet Organics. Organic and natural uncooked turkeys, plus a la carte side dishes available for home delivery. Order by Nov. 18. Call (800) 956-5855 or go to planetorganics.com.

Raley's/Bel Air/Nob Hill Foods. Turkey dinner, serves 8-10, $49.99; Diestel turkey dinner, serves 12, $99.99; butternut squash ravioli dinner, serves 6-8, $59.99; bourbon maple glazed ham dinner, serves 8-10, $59.99; prime rib dinner, serves 6-8, $79.99. Order as soon as possible for pick up Nov. 24 and Nov. 25. Locations throughout the Bay Area or go to raleys.com.

Safeway. Turkey dinner, serves 6-8, club price $39.99. Includes turkey, sides and pumpkin pie. Other dinner options include spiral ham or prime rib. Locations throughout the Bay Area or go to safeway.com.

Saul's Restaurant and Deli. Thanksgiving a la carte menu includes a Niman Ranch heritage turkey or Diestel turkey and sides. Order by 3 p.m. Nov. 24 for pickup by 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25. 1475 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; (510) 848-3354 or go to saulsdeli.com.

Whole Foods Markets. Traditional turkey dinner, serves up to 8, $99.99. Includes turkey, side dishes and pumpkin pie. Spiral cut ham dinner, New York strip roast dinner and vegan holiday dinner are also available. Ordered 48 hours in advance or by Nov. 23 at any Bay Area location or go to wholefoods.com.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grocerant consumer loyalty may start at Wawa.



Good companies do good things over and over again. Wawa CEO Howard Stoeckel detailed several efforts the convenience store chain is undertaking in during the economic slump the US is in, He stated "We're not up to historic averages, but we're performing better than the vast majority of retailers," He described a focus on value and efforts to make the store experience a departure from consumers' economic trouble. "People want to feel good," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer "Even if it's for four or five minutes a day when they're on their way to work." Wawa is there and can provide that service via their employee interactions. That my friends is a true focus on the consumer and that strategy never gets old.



Additionally Stoeckel discussed was Wawa is focusing on the basics: "If there's anything we're doing through these challenging times, it's digging deeper into the soul of the brand." He added: "We've got to do what we're known for that much better." Building a better understanding of the bands relationship with the consumer and adjusting the brand values to the dynamic consumer is also a win-win. Consumer are not static, brands must move with them or risk looking customers Wawa is going the right things.

Wawa understands that differentiation does not mean different, in Wawa’s case it means doing it better for the consumer than anyone else. Wawa’s consumer loyalty always ranks near the top in surveys. I can understand why. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's not a frozen Martha Stewart Dinner it is Chef-prepared! It could be FREE!



FreshDirect an online grocer kicked off a “Thanksgiving Feast Giveaway,” which enables one in every 100 customers ordering a complete chef-prepared Thanksgiving dinner to win the holiday meal at no charge according to press reports. True Grocerant food ready-to-heat prepared and portable!

The chef-prepared, heat-and-serve option offers a seasoned turkey, a choice of stuffing, four side dishes, gravy, cranberry sauce, soft dinner rolls and dessert items, all delivered direct to customers’ doors. Prices start at under $20 per guest. A small Thanksgiving Dinner serving four to six, costs $149.99; a medium Thanksgiving dinner, serving eight to 12, costs $199.99; and a large Thanksgiving Dinner, serving 14 and 18, costs $299.99.
FreshDirect has fulfilled more than 10 million orders to date. Its service area includes most of Manhattan and locations in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx, in addition to parts of New Jersey and Westchester and Nassau counties.”

Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to heat food can be found all around the country. This year don’t leave home to get it! Martha call me it’s time to move from frozen to prepared!

Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2010 Food Retailers are focusing on PRICE in the war for the consumer.



Grocery stores and Supermarkets are aggressively cutting the price on products system wide lead by Safeway. Wal-Mart continues to streamline the distribution system taking out cost and is able to maintain a competitive pricing advantage over many most others competitors. It is important that food marketers engage their customers with the most relevant offers through the most effective channels at the best times. 2010 appears to be the year of the price wars as establish players dig in the battle for the consumer.


McDonalds with deep consumer insight and knowledge of market trends is preparing to launch a nationwide breakfast campaign early in 2010 focused on $ 1.00 price point. Success leaves clues and Subway’s $ 5.00 foot long campaign pushed same store sales up 6.9 % to lead the restaurant industry.

New products and unique bundling opportunities can on the other hand lead to customer satisfaction, product trial and greater margins. Bundling is fundamental to building deeper relationships between products, brands and their customers. It just might be time to think outside the box with strategies that will

help a build competitive advantage during the upcoming New Year. Retail food sales are about an ongoing ever expanding customer experience. Look at bundling new product with new opportunity. The outlook for 2010 is bright and colorful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Foodservice bundled prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food is always better with a treat!




Philadelphia Cream Cheese with a toasted bagel, Budweiser beer with Nacho’s are items we all know go well with each other. However Grocery stores, Convenience stores and Restaurants spend time bundling appetizers and entrees, salads and sandwiches. Its time that the they focus on the entire meal.


They need to bundle by daypart and include fruit, and vegetables with each meal period. This will accomplish an authentic approach to each meal providing a platform for additional consumer creditability. Increase both visceral and tactical sense and sensibility about meal eating. Provide incremental income while increasing the check size. Then a single cookie can be included to complete the meal. Success leaves some clues and bundling items the way consumer think is just one of them.




Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Foodservice sales may continue to slip but don’t go Cuckoo !




The price value equilibrium for restaurants began to reset in 2005 as we identified in our white paper “The Customer Moved First”. We knew that this fall would continue to disappoint on the restaurant side of foodservice. This is highlighted by both the domestic sales and McDonalds which were recently released. Then again by Adam Werner who co-author a study for AlixPartners, “said consumers have already “recalibrated their spending expectations based on the now-ubiquitous $5 sandwich and the $10 meal. Restaurants that aren’t marching in the promotions parade are the ones that will be left behind.”


Grocery stores, Convenience stores, Supermarkets, Dollar stores are all bundling prepared food at price points that consumers are electing to sample. This new grocerant style food which is prepared and either ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat will continue to garner consumer attention. Restaurants need to refocus on the consumer, niche positioning and the new competitive retail foodservice landscape. These new point of distribution are loaded with, authentic flavors and seductive price points.

Don’t go cuckoo, call Foodservice Solutions for insights, menu opportunity and re-positioning your brand within a niche. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner for 6 people for under $ 17, less than $ 3.00 per person!




California based Grocery Outlet is currently leading the low cost option for Thanksgiving dinner. Melissa Porter Vice President of marketing for Grocery Outlet states “Hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to cost a fortune,” With careful planning and attention to detail, families can host the most celebrated meal of the year without roasting their budget.”


This is vertical marketing at its best. Going the extra mile to reinforce the brands value at a critical time of the year. Progressive Grocer reports, “To counter the rising food costs, Grocery Outlet has assembled a menu available in its stores and online at www.groceryoutlet.com, along with corresponding recipes and a sample shopping list. The menu includes such holiday favorites as a roast turkey for $1.03 per serving, or $6.19 for six people; mashed potatoes for 20 cents per serving, or $1.19 for six; cranberry sauce for 13 cents per serving, or 75 cents for six; apple cider carrots for 14 cents per serving, or 86 cents for six; and pumpkin pie for 62 cents per serving, or $3.72 for six. The total cost per serving comes out to $2.91, or just $17.40 to feed six guests.”

This is not all grocerant prepared food, but it is food bundled and targeted at the family. I would suggest that it will pull sales away for other who focus solely on prepared foods. Thanksgiving Dinner, are you prepared to position you food as well as Grocery Outlet. Success leaves clues and driving the value of a brand message is one of them, particularly if you’re a value brand.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brinker and Darden trapped in a Branding Conundrum of there own making.


What are your customers shopping for and where? One of the things that happens when a restaurant brand becomes complacent is consumers reduce the frequency of visits. What are the signs of a brand becoming sick? What role does brand protectionism play in the restaurant industry? When brand managers and C-level executives utilize justification and rationalization to explain results you know that what they did, didn’t work.

Brand Managers understand that consumers are dynamic not static. Brands must be dynamic as well. When brands play the wait and see game, the only thing they are truly waiting for is the customer to walk into the store. The problem is it just happens less and less. Focusing on price rather than product and product innovation continues to stifle many a foodservice company.


These are difficult times or so we are told. However brands that succeed are bold and truly changing the way they do business. Example: Apple (APPL) and Amazon (AMZN) both have new products both have products that are innovative and cost more than previous ilk products and both companies are booming! Apple set an all-time single-quarter sales record with its Macintosh computers, selling 3.05 million units, accounting for $3.95 billion, or 40% of sales. Apple finished the year just short of the 13 million unit mark for the fiscal year, an improvement over the prior year of nearly 3.3 million units. Amazon can not keep up with production of it’s Kindle which “ has become the #1 bestselling item by both unit sales and dollars – not just in our electronics store but across all product categories on Amazon.com " a spokesperson said.

Brinker International (EAT), which reported first-quarter results Tuesday and owns 1,700 restaurants, most of them Chili's Grill & Bars, said ‘customer traffic fell for the 21st consecutive quarter’. That is over five years just in case anyone missed it! It might be time for some outside eyes or ideations!

Food is not out of favor or flavor! What is out is a style of management mediocrity and compliancy. A brand is a promise that must be on-going dynamic and consumer relevant. The value of the brand is a result from interactive between contemporary relevance of the brand and the consumer. Success leaves clues and we can just look at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.(CMG) posted double-digit increases in sales and profit for the third quarter on new restaurant openings, menu price increases, and labor and other operating efficiencies

When profit from cigarettes began to decline as a profit generator the vast majority of convenience store channel operators focused on fresh food. Now prepared fresh food is the highest margin and fastest growing sector of there business units. Grocerant prepared food is booming across all channels, Restaurant, Supermarket, Convenience Stores, Dollar Stores, Kiosk and Mobile Trucks. What path is your company on are you following the same course as EAT or are you growing both your brand and your niche! Many companies are doing the latter in the food industry.

Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us ,Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development leverage out Outside Eyes for inside Profits. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy

 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Brooklyn Fare’s prepared foods are positioned to propel this company forward!




If you’re looking to find a Market will with a qualitative edge, to simply shop at and enjoy the experience this is it. If your look for a high quality, ready-to-eat meal or ready-to-heat prepared grocerant style food, Brooklyn Fare is it! This company understands the today’s customer, product positioning and how to positioning themselves for continued growth and success. Here is an example to highlight there understanding taken right from the website: http://www.brooklynfare.com/





They “started Brooklyn Fare with three simple things in mind: good foods at great prices offered up with outstanding service. Our goal is to be a centerpiece of the Brooklyn community. A place to hangout with the Sunday paper, a cappuccino and a freshly baked croissant. A place to learn clever cooking techniques from some of New York’s best chefs. A place you and your family will come back to again and again for gourmet groceries, delicious prepared meals and more. We offer the sort of service that’ll make you smile, which will make us smile. Which will probably make you smile even more. It’s a vicious cycle.

Success does leave clues and Brooklyn Fare understands the 5 contemporary P’s of Marketing! Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ready-to-eat & Ready-to-heat prepared foods are rocking!




Progressive grocer a division The Nielsen Company reports in: Nielsen Fresh Food Insights: Bakery, Meat, Seafood Shine In Tough Times and I quote ”While consumers tend to favor traditional grocery stores’ fresh food departments, alternative channels continue to angle mightily for a bigger piece of the perishables pie. Supercenters in particular are advancing their perishables formats, growing both the purchase size and frequency of purchases, particularly in the meat and seafood departments.

While supermarkets currently account for 50 percent of the deli business, smaller formats (c-stores, delicatessens, etc.) that offer “in and out” convenience are posing the biggest threat to traditional supermarkets.

Further, after years of languishing as a “necessary evil” for many grocers, in-store bakery departments are posting the most significant growth of any perishable department. Supercenters, which account for almost 16 percent of the market, are seeing especially strong fresh bakery sales vs. any other perimeter department.

For deluxe deli sales, continue exploring ways to differentiate your store’s brand and image via a department where service counts and personality shines. The deli department, incidentally, is generally considered to be the most underdeveloped driver of brand equity across the whole store.”

We have spoken here many times about the brand building opportunity in Grocerant ready-to-eat & ready-to-heat prepared foods. Margins in this area tend to be higher and customer frequency is increasing all the time. This is just one contributing reason that the foodservice price value equilibrium is being reset. Interested in a Grocerant program assessment? Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Foodservice visceral attractiveness equals contemporary consumer relevance.





Wal-Mart began installing end-caps with video food product highlights over two years ago drawing attention to what is down the isle and promoting select branded products. Today most Wal-Mart superstores have now installed digital food advertising that is without doubt consumer focused and positively received. Remodeling stores is an expensive task, updating a digital visceral platform is as simple as a flip of the switch. Walk into any food court and you will find several menu boards that are digital with graphics and menu displays that rival anything you see on a HDTV. Panda Express is one company that excels in this area, telling a story, painting a picture of authenticity that is unmistakable. I assure you others will copy there lead.


With multiple new food products, formats and menu’s under test around the world. 7-Eleven is not waiting for any one else in there niche they have announced that they will role out a digital video network dubbed 7-Eleven TV. Without doubt this program to be rolled out in the US at more than 6,150 units by the end of next year will be the green spout to launch new ready-to-eat & ready-to-heat food products.

Foodservice visceral attractiveness equals contemporary consumer relevance in all retail channels. Consumer are connected at home, at work and in the car they are viscerally alert, don’t keep them in the dark. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Food Buzz Stores the next step from Pop-Up stores and Mobile Trucks!





Many food retailers are showcasing new product utilizing Pop-Up stores to create consumer and industry Buzz! It works, companies around the world are putting on there own spin on Pop-Up stores. However the opportunity to be closer to the customer’s particular in metropolitan areas is a key ingredient to success of all. The picture above is of Singapore Press Holdings buzz "pods" - which look more like convenience stores than the usual newsstands – they are located in high-traffic spots. The idea of expanding a news stand and including Grocerant prepared food is a gold mine. Three day parts; three fresh food opportunities, to connect and re-connect with the consumer as they walk by. This is where Grab-and-GO meets success!


These Buzz stores come with hot-food and drink stations, offering convenience food such as curry puffs and instant hot noodles to consumers. Convenience Stores in the US are trying out drive Thru’s, which I think has some potential. Buzz stores create an opportunity for new types of prepared foods, sold fresh. They create the opportunity for mini kiosk for the non-metropolitan areas. Previously, such stations could not be housed in the small pods because of space constraints. Utilizing a central commissary, regional prepared food companies can now build a brand around day parts with meal entity with identity for each day part. Building a brand around food and product rather than buildings, it just might work. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Channel Blurring, some restaurant chains get it!



Panera Shows Its Brains

Posted: 02 Nov 2009 12:00 AM PST at http://foodbiznews.blogspot.com/

I am sharing this will all of you because it is so good. Bill Cross is one of the best in the industry and understand how to unlock the potential of a brand! I get it as well that’s why I am sharing. One of these days Bill Cross will be hired to be the CMO at a national restaurant chain and he will propel that company to the next level! Of that I am sure!

This article in Advertising Age shows the way that restaurant companies have to go.

Panera Bread Co. is smart and successful. Their bottom line is up, openings of new restaurants are up, and now they've hired Michael Simon, a smart CPG marketer from Pepperidge Farm (a division of Campbell Soup), to handle their marketing. He's not just the EVP of Marketing, he's the CMO. With a really solid understanding of the retail channel, you can bet Panera will begin looking at alternative delivery mechanisms for gaining a great "share of stomach" (as opposed to the old-think "market share").

That's because today's consumer doesn't think in segmented channels like we do in business. When you're hungry, you look for meal solutions. Those solutions might be away-from-home, snacking, vending, at work, at home. Some of these choices are dictated by circumstance: vending consumers are often stuck in places where they can't leave (factories, offices, colleges). Breakfast as a daypart is often determined by scheduling ("I have to get the hell out of here fast and don't have time to stop off and eat a good breakfast").

Sadly, most restaurants are looking at the future by scouring the past, offering $$$-off coupons or specials that drain their bottom lines while doing little or nothing to boost consumer loyalty (I'll go to your restaurant for the special, but that doesn't mean I'll come back when I have to pay full-price). You can bet that Panera will be looking at ways to leverage its brand to retail now that Simon is on board. Too bad other chains aren't as forward-thinking. This was posted by Bill Cross of Broad Street Licensing Group at http://foodbiznews.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 2, 2009

BE A SUCCESS – THINK LIKE A ROCK STAR




The complexity of running a national chain of prepared food outlets, Grocery store, Conveniences Store, Restaurant or Dollar stores in today’s environment is a challenge. The stress on non-customer focused departments has been highlighted during this recent round of earnings conference calls. Where legal and development departments report renegotiating leases reducing cost and capturing a one time economic opportunity cost are leading the way. With purchasing recapturing volatile commodity cost reporting as a second wave of importance, we might have cause for concern.


Concern, is for a loss of customers and reduced frequency this is reflective of a continuation of consumer discontinuity. Consumers are moving to prepared food venues and away from traditional food preparations methods. That focus is (was) mandatory and obviously required, but we must move on back to THE bread & butter THE CUSTOMER and customer service.

Bob Brothers states: “BE A SUCCESS – THINK LIKE A ROCK STAR” “Think your job has nothing in common with the career of a rock star? I would have agreed - until my youngest son dipped his toe into the music industry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDVIE5tKTpUhttp://www.myspace.com/davidbrothers

Here's what it takes according to Bob ...

1. TALENT - Your ability to do something that's useful or valuable. But pure talent's not enough ...

2. SHOWMANSHIP - People have to know what you do, and what you can do for them

3. BUSINESS SENSE - Success requires convincing an employer, a customer, or an audience to pay you for your talent. Understand and be responsive to the people who can make or break your success.

4. MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK - There's nothing like meeting someone who knows someone, or being in the right place at the right time. Improve your chances by getting to know the people in your business.

Paying more attention to your work life won't guarantee you'll be the next superstar of your field, but you can become more successful by investing some of your time and energy to strengthen your talents, increase your visibility, and make yourself more valuable to the people who matter. http://market-intel.com/blog/2009/11/01/be-a-success-think-like-a-rock-star/ How is your company thinking? Is your Food Operation a Rock Star! Is your company Rocking if not we can help. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Smile or You’re Fried Seven Lessons for Managers of Service.





The price, value, service equilibrium is resetting in Grocery stores, restaurants and Convenience- stores. Each is reconfiguring their ready-to-eat Grocerant niche food product lineup. Each sector is looking for new product, packaging and consumer price points that will drive traffic. All have noticed a discontinuity in consumer food shopping behavior and all are fighting for share of stomach. Contributing to this displacement is a focus by restaurant chain leaders on short term market metrics and away from the consumer. Which in turn has caused a loss is consumer traffic.


The consumer then turned to the grocery store Deli and hot food section filled ready-to-eat & ready-to-heat prepared food. The problem is the grocery stores were not ready for it the influx of consumer. Customer service was a bad as it could b and in many cases continues to get worse. They have simply dropped the ball. Food quality is slipping and they do not understand customer service in the prepared ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat grocerant niche! The consumers will not stay long if service is not improved rapidly.

The battle for the consumer dollar continues. I would like to suggest and recommend Robert Fitzgerald’s book: Smile or You’re Fried Seven Lessons for Managers of Service. Seven lessons of that can and should be utilized daily by managers who just might need some practical help. Contact me for more at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or leave a comment below. For more read this article: http://www.anything4restaurants.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/restaurant-consumer-discontinuity-the-consumer-moved-first/