Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's time to drop legacy Grocery store metrics.


Many legacy supermarket and grocery stores industry executives study sales numbers, customer visit, basket size, in addition to listening and working directly with category managers, national brand product managers. Then they fall back into the trap of demanding slotting fee’s for product shelf space too garner profit. Why not focus on demand driven sales and profits? It’s time to drop the legacy industry metrics.

Trader Joe’s is an example of a new refined smaller footprint with a focus on customers and customer choice. They do not sell packages of 30 pork chops. The Trader Joe’s C-level executives studied the same research information as the legacy supermarket and grocery store executives did and understood that the customer wanted smaller portions, fresh prepared flavorful meal options and the ability to get in and out quickly, thus the small footprint. Fresh & Easy has done the same thing, now they are seeing results and adding one new unit a week. Success does leave clues and those whom react to the clues best win.

However there are companies like the new Freshco which debuted last month at eight former Price Chopper sites, the new brand at legacy locations may only see short term results. The stores maintain competitive pricing of Price Chopper with a keen focus on fresh produce, local and international offerings set in a “controlled flow” format that leads shoppers through the entire store department by department. In consumer talk that means ignoring consumer wishes to get in and out fast! In today’s world implementing against legacy metrics may become the sure fine way to fad away.

Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food is garnering the attention of consumer. This niche is filled with better for you products that are portioned, priced and portable in ways that legacy operators have yet to understand.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It’s time for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company too become Great Again!


Remodeled, rebranded and repositioned The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company is the retailer that cant’ shoot straight! Winston Churchill once stated: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company has a revolving door at the C-level. This swinging door is indicative of a Board of Directors (BOD) with loyalty to a particular family and industry knowledge based of legacy metric’s not grounded in relevant realities.

This regional grocery retailer continues to run a plethora of branded grocery companies each in a niche they have felt is serving an unmet need. The results continue to prove them wrong! The A& P BOD comes with a distinguished international grocery legacy but is obviously blind too what is happening here in the US. Even in Tacoma, WA we can see the miss-guided disingenuous efforts they have undertaken.

They have shown micro success, which provides insights they do truly understand. Yet they are unwilling to be bold, settling for compliancy and more of the same. Its time to for them to start with a clean slate and focus on contemporize food retailing not saving legacy brands or location names. Their Northeast US locations are ripe to become full fledged Grocerants.

It’s time for them to take a page from other European food retailers that are now garnering market share, customer loyalty and brand relevance while creating industry buzz I am speaking of Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy. I invite Christian Haub to Tacoma, WA for a grocerant program review. The macro view from the micro site may produce the results you have been looking for. If success leaves clues, Foodservice Solutions is one of them.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions BING: steven johnson grocerant or google the same.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Retail foodservice upping the game for share of stomach: advantage consumers.


Convenience stores continue to improve there fresh food offerings industry leaders Wawa, Sheetz success have inspired or pressured 7 Eleven into multiple fresh prepared food test around the globe and currently they are rolling out new fresh prepared food offerings here in the US. Casey’s is the target of a corporate takeover in large part due to the success of there fresh food offerings.

Recently 1642 C-store chain, The Pantry unveiled its new fresh food options that not only include warm breakfast sandwiches and fresh fruit with a wider assortment of pastries and fresh salads, but they have focused additional attention on traditional QSR metrics Fast and Friendly service with Clean stores.

Target continues to benefitting from entrance into fresh food sales and now is planning to offer meat, fruits, vegetables and dairy in even more stores over the next three years. Both Target and Walmart are expanding the fresh prepared food niche as well improving and expanding offerings.

Amazon Fresh yes, that is from Amazon.com and Sears are both offering grocery deliver. It’s clear that if each expands into fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat they will garner both consumer loyalties while increasing frequency.

Food trucks and mobile Kiosk are sell authentic food just down the block from traditional brick and mortar legacy chain restaurants. They are also selling food for much less and the perception for fresh, authentic is building a legion of followers. The grocerant niche of fresh prepared, portable food that is better for you is on the move. How are you positioned to grow your share of stomach?

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Friday, June 25, 2010

The new normal grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat is Home Cooking.


What’s for dinner? If your cooking for an at home family meal for two, four, or five family members, chances are very good your buying several ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat foods. Grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants are all bundling fresh prepared meal components into the meal. The home cook is responding buying individualized components then mix & match to the families liking.


Foodservice branded and private label food manufactures are all vying for attention. Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods from Swiss Steak, Meatloaf, Baked Salmon, Rotisserie Chicken, Pizza and Bean & Rice fresh prepared, portioned and portable in portions for 1, 2, or 5 are now available at most foodservice retail location.

Most exciting is the opportunity for new start-up’s and regional manufactures to produce sustainable business built on local, fresh and unique flavor profiles. Legacy national brand manufactures are experiencing an increased consolidation and acquisition activities. They have taken there eye off the customer and increasing new points of distribution. Thus the opening for regional focused manufactures.

Consumer are responding buying meal components in new food channels, experiencing new flavor profiles all the while individualizing the family meal. The foodservice industry is evolving with the consumer. Those companies looking for opportunity for growth times have never been better.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Thursday, June 24, 2010

10 Reasons Why Wawa is Awesome: Residents of Philadelphia and Beyond Speak Up

Prepared food garners favor from consumers.  Both national and regional retail food chians a learn from telling a story!  Wawa has and that story become's dynamic in the hands of your conusmer.  That's good! Today I want to post an article by Tara Clapper written n June 24, 2010 in Community, Food, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Food.  It show cases how a regional company can build a brand while creating a base of loyal customers that will tout your brand for you!



Wawa with gas station; Horsham, PA. Photo: Dough4872, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Image.

SHARE IT:

A long time ago at a computer two states away, I remember locating an online phenomenon. As soon as forums and communities began cropping up online (long before Facebook came to be), Wawa fans grouped together and expressed their love and adoration for what they feel is the world’s best convenience store, founded in the Philadelphia area. Every time I see Wawa mentioned online, I see multiple comments about the awesomeness of the store, so they’re obviously either providing great customer service or hiring secret ninja monkeys to spread propaganda.*

Although Wawas are chain stores, local residents seem to like them. They don’t have the same stigma as Wal-Marts or Burger Kings. Some Wawas accomplish this by adapting store features to better match or serve the town—take the Wildwood, NJ Wawa, for example—it’s outfitted in a retro design to match the shore town’s aesthetic.

I asked my Wawa-fan friends to list their reasons for loving Wawa convenience stores. Those suggested by friends list the friend’s name.

Wawa stimulates the economy and gives back to local communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and Maryland. According to the Wawa site, Wawa employs about 16,000 people.

BEST COFFEE (hands down) that is more reasonably priced than some of its, shall we say “frou frou,” competitors. –Kristin L.

[They offer] stuffed pretzels in so many flavors. –Michael W.

One of the original Wawa founders carries the name Dick Wood. For real.

Wawa keeps me supplied with delicious snacks and the best coffee anywhere. AND it’s not 5$/cup! –Rebecca Z.

Wawa is the healthier alternative during those dire late-night munchie attacks! – Kristin L.

Wawa is awesome because they sell really great made-to-order food and have such a bigger selection than our alternative here in the South—Sheetz. –Michelle M.

They really see the value of hiring individuals with disabilities and actively recruit such folks. –Robb S.-W.

Wawa stores, particularly newer ones, have really nice layouts. They have wide aisles, and you don’t get the typical let’s-cram-as-much-crap-as-we-can-in-as-little-space-as-possible convenience store ambiance. And their hoagies are tasty. –Kierstyn Z.

The new chocolate banana smoothies are addictive and fantastic—everyone should give up on ice cream and just consume these.

Foodservice Solutions specializing in the grocerant niche, performs, product, brand and niche positioning assistance. Interested in increasing customer frequency, loyalty needs a grocerant program assessment, call Steven Johnson at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fresh prepared breakfast will contribute to top line foodservice sales.


Grocery store operators within the fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant niche are expanding into the breakfast daypart with success. Companies like SuperMax and Pueblo I have previously been featured on this blog for doing great things with breakfast.

Bonnie Rigg of The NPD group stated yesterday that: “breakfast accounted for nearly 60 percent of the restaurant industry’s traffic growth over the past five years” Wawa one of the leading grocerant fresh prepared food leaders in the convenience store sectors is another company that has focused on the AM daypart to drive sales while building customer frequency and loyalty.

According to NPD’s soon-to-be-released "The Future of Foodservice," Annual servings per capita of breakfast sandwiches at foodservice are forecasted to jump from 11 in 2004 to 14 in 2019. " NPD’s Rigg stated. "Currently only one out of ten breakfast opportunities is satisfied by foodservice, and there are more breakfasts skipped than served in restaurants, all of which means that breakfast is a significant growth opportunity for the foodservice industry."

Whole Foods, Central Market, Metropolitan Market, Kroger at some locations are all entering the breakfast daypart. They all have a way to go to keep pace with the success of SuperMax, Wawa and Sheetz. The opportunity for daypart success begins with the AM daypart.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Restaurant Online Brand Image Taking charge of your online world.


Consumers are looking for your restaurant products online, in the grocery stores and for your unit locations. Your brand is in the minds eye of the consumer even when your not. Have you ever wondered what they thought about your Brand while they were on line looking?

Onlinebrandimage.com was designed to address the needs of your business today. Each tool is designed to help your company to:

1. Drive your Brand’s online performance

2. Increase Customer interaction and loyalty

3. Build awareness, image and market share for long term success

Marketing tool kits today require a proactive, pro-social media tool. I have found one that will assist you in edifying your brands On-Line Awareness Index (OAI) and Restaurant Quality Index (RQI). Both tools these state of the art tools are exclusively focus on the retail foodservice industry and proprietary to ONLINE BRAND IMAGE® please visit :www.onlinebrandimage.com for tools to double your current online index score.

RQI is the state of the art tool that can contribute to your long term growth and profitability. Every digital marketing strategy must vertically integrate with your Brand, with the goal of obtaining measurable results. These tools will allow you to measure mark and manage you brands online image to your advantage.

Moreover, the growing impact of social media and online rating web sites make it imperative that every organization has effective marketing tools that help them measure and manage their web results and plan for competitive success

If your interested in obtaining a very informative, quick and easy to view presentation. Email me directly at: stevejohnson77@msn.com  and I will get it right out to you.  I am confident you will see its benefits immediately for additional information visit Steven Johnson on Facebook.

Convenience stores operators getting help selling fresh prepared family meals.


European based Greencore is expanding in the US and plans to focus on the convenience store niche with high quality fresh prepared grocerant food that is better for you and portable.

“Greencore aims to build its Convenience Foods business in North America to the same scale as the current European business over the next 10 years. We will do this by taking a region by region approach. The first stage will be to grow the Home Made Brand Foods business in Newburyport (40 miles outside of Boston), where there is capacity and scope to more than double the size of the existing business to reach $100m sales.”

Tesco another European based company, that now has 159 Fresh & Easy units in the South West has “seen an incredible response to brand prepared foods” and is adding dozens of new products to its range, including FamilyValue packs. (The family-sized Four Cheese Meat Lasagne ($8.99) has been particularly popular, apparently.)

Mr Coveney of Greencore also thinks that one of the big trends in US prepared food is to “encourage family eating”, and notes that there is more of this in the UK too, partly because it makes the ready meal more affordable. Interestingly, the ready meal has proved to be relatively recession-proof, as shoppers perceive the increasingly high-quality fare on offer as an affordable treat – and an alternative to going out.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Monday, June 21, 2010

Convenience propels prepared food sales in Grocery stores, Supermarkets and Grocerants.


Legacy retailers call the prepared food section of the store the Deli; contemporized food retailers label it ready-meals or meal solutions, but industry leaders are now clearly Grocerants.

Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Whole Foods, Central Market and Fresh & Easy are gaining market share while increasing customer frequency within the grocerant niche.

In the NPD Group’s “DeliTrack” study they found “easy at home meals to be the top-ranked reason that consumers buy supermarket prepared foods.” In addition they found that nearly half of the purchasing decisions were made in the store. Make your offers viscerally compelling.

With the report stating that one in five adults buys a prepared ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat item from retail in a typical week. One key too success of a grocerant fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat section that the retailer must understand that differentiation does not mean different it means familiar.

Without doubt Trader Joes does and excellent job of providing fresh, portable familiar contemporized ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat meal options. Whole Foods is another that routinely out performs other retailers at this as well. Safeway lifestyle stores offerings of legacy products are a step forward but lacking the consumer focus to drive top line sales to new levels.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day




"I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be." -- Abraham Lincoln




Please take time to visit: vvhttp://www.onlinebrandimage.com/services.html

Friday, June 18, 2010

Retail foodservice blending successful attributes builds sales in each sector.


The grocerant sector continues to grow margins, top line sales while increasing customer frequency. Grocery stores like Wegmans, Metropolitan Market Whole Foods and Central Market utilize dramatic visceral displays to portray the food in the prepared sections as fresh, authentic and qualitative.

Phil Romano who created such concepts as Fuddruckers, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Eatzi’s, developed successfully the ideation of the interactive participatory look and we see around the industry today.. His concepts are consumer interactive, participatory, with visceral production customer vantage points located for customer creditability and authentic food actualization.

You can now check your On Line Brand Image at: http://www.onlinebrandimage.com/services.html

Subway does and outstanding job portraying freshness within their units. The product is made in front of the customer, empowering consumer choice with aromatic bread baking as a proactive kicker for the consumer buy in. Transparent Menu’s may soon become the next standard. No more hiding behind the in pictures!

Consumers are now demanding transparency concerned with more childhood obesity, more fat in food, salt and calorie options run amuck. Let’s give credit to Burgerville USA, for a Great Job with printing on the receipt information with recommendation on how to reduce calorie’s on your next visit. All Grocerants consider this as an option for their ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat foods.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kicking it up a notch; competition with the convenience store industry enters new level.


Convenience store chain Lawson will soon start an in-store fresh food service across Japan, in an effort to showcase Fresh and goes beyond prepared food.

"By offering freshly made food, we want to attract not only young customers but also those who are reluctant to buy prepared food at convenience stores, such as housewives and elderly people," Lawson President Takeshi Niinami said.

This will be “the first time for a major convenience store chain in Japan to equip its stores with full-scale cooking equipment. Lawson plans to introduce the new service to some 200 stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Kansai area by fiscal 2010, and expand it to 1,000 stores by fiscal 2015 and 3,000 stores -- one-third the number of Lawson outlets nationwide -- in the future.”

Competition in the retail food space continues to heat up!

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why is there such a focus on Walmart they do not seem to be the problem in retail food.


The retail food equilibrium is resetting. The new companies are entering food retail with a serious focus including Target, CVS, Sears, Amazon and Walgreens. Targets CEO says adding perishables to its general merchandise has been a BOON! Sears and Amazon are testing fresh food delivery, while CVS and Walgreens are selling fresh prepared food. Walgreens now has 400 Café W’s open.

Legacy Restaurants, Grocery stores, Convenience stores and Drug store chains that utilizing metric’s of success from 20,15 or 10 years ago will not find a formula for success. Retailers that have been complaining about the how “unfair” it is to compete with Walmart can now stop. It’s obvious many others believe that they can and have found a niche they feel they can find success.

Retailers that are side stepping the issue at hand are simply prolonging success. During the past 20 years there are now 25,000 new / additional dollar stores (smaller format) and 10,000 fewer grocery stores? There are now hundred’s of thousand of new restaurants that have opened during the same period of time.

What are the metric’s that important to your consumer is the only question you should be asking. Could it be that consumers prefer fresh prepared food that is perceived “better for you” and portable. This ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat niche is the grocerant niche and it is booming within the, convenience sector, drug store sector and restaurant sector.

Could Fresh & Easy with 159 units open and opening 1 per week all a smaller format of prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food be the success model other should be looking at? Fresh & Easy success platform is built on: pricing, packaging and portability; it is both fresh and easy! The retail foodservice customer is not static your brand and your company must not either.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

By By American Pie and Roller Grilled Hot Dogs; here comes, Salads Waffles, Panini’s, Burritos and Croissants.


General Motors is in the process of down playing the famed “Chevy” moniker immortalized in song. This legacy moniker harkens back to the hay day of GM. GM now wants to become forward looking and believes an update is in order.

Convenience stores are in the process of repositioning from simply a place to obtain gasoline and a cold Coca Cola with a roller grill hot dog as an emergency meal replacement too destination food locations where you can in-buy gasoline.

Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Assn. of Convenience Stores, whose members sell about 80% of the nation's gasoline stated, “it might seem strange to order a salad in a service station now, but in 20 years, it will be commonplace.”

Convenience stores are focused in on the grocerant niche of fresh prepared and portable better for you food. In large part that means replacing the ROLLER GRILL. You will soon see new multi purpose cooking equipment and increase in quality fresh food offerings at more convenience stores in order to keep ahead of the retail drug stores chains like CVS and Walgreens. Who are entering the fresh food arena.

Consumer interactive meal components bundled with mix and match options can be found at: Rutters, QuickChek, Wawa, and Sheetz. All of which are on the leading edge in the convenience stores sector. For more view the following article:

http://www.foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=5512&title=Roll, Roll, Roll, Away Roller Grill!

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Monday, June 14, 2010

The United States remains a melting pot of flavor and food diversity.


Within the grocerant niche of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared better for your food that can be portable; it is the ability to mix and match components of a meal into a customized meal for one or a family that we find more times than not cross nationality flavor profiles with be matched.

Without doubt the United States cultural diversity has contributed to and endless supply of new blended food flavors appearing in every retail food sector from street food to fine dinning. If your creating a new menu here are the “top five” trends for 2010 defined by Giorgi Di Lemis vice president of F& B for Benchmark Hospitality International:

1. Trend #1 Cultural Diversity and Authenticity Reign Supreme

2. Trend # 2 Health and Wellness Begin at Home

3. Trend # 3 Biodiversity, Sustainability, Family Farms and Beekeepers

4. Trend # 4 The Future of American Flavors is the World

5. Trend # 5 Social Media is revolutionizing Restaurant Menus and Service

Within the grocerant niche Mix & Match flavors from around the world continue to contribute greatly to consumer’s positive reaction. Retailers that embrace traditional food products then empower consumer customization via mix & match component bundling will continue to garner new customers.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Amazon FRESH, Sears and Café W what’s making waves in groceries!


Are you still operating a 60,000 SQF legacy grocery stores or is it your goal to open a 70,000 SQF store? If so why? Consumer's change slowly, technology is fast and getting faster. Consumer are now catching up, open to new avenues of distribution, and they are beyond experimenting, they are settling in.

Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat Grocerant niche food is available almost anywhere you are! From coast to coast the more and more consumer can now get food fast. Two of the world’s top retailers are delivering groceries to your door both Amazon via Amazon-Fresh and Sears Holdings via Sears. Amazon, in the Seattle area and Sears in New York City / Long Island and maybe everywhere else from fresh food Walgreens.

Café W operated by world class retail drug store chain Walgreens has expanded their footprint into fresh prepared food. The consumer has evolved, the process of shopping has become faster and faster. Each of these huge retailers understands this and it’s there way to proactively complement the consumer.

When it comes to delivering on the promise to deliver fresh food fast, the company that best blends in fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food that is “deemed” better for you, will win the largest share of the consumers dollars. The company that is doing the best job currently just might come from the restaurant niche in the from of Boston Market. If success leaves clues one clue is clear in the Fresh Food space: the status quo will not work.

Foodservice Solutions specializing in the grocerant niche, performs, product, brand and niche positioning assistance. Interested in increasing customer frequency, loyalty needs a grocerant program assessment, call Steven Johnson at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solution.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Friday, June 11, 2010

Convenience stores, Grocery stores and Restaurants are all selling fresh prepared food.


Restaurateurs are not the only one now selling fresh prepared food. Competition for share of stomach continues to heat up in the retail food world. New choices and avenues of quality fresh food distribution continue to grow. C-stores, Drug stores Grocery stores are all offering affordable quality fresh prepared food.

Legacy food retailers driven by outdated metric’s just may be unwitting marketshare capitulators. One needs only to look at the prepared fresh food area expanding in grocery stores. Once called the deli section, meal solutions, quick fix’s or ready-to-eat sections has now evolved into the Grocerant niche. Company after company is expanding, enlarging and repositioning in this booming niche to accommodate the demand for increased options for the consumer within fresh prepared food.

Super Max is a great example of a grocer on the path to success within the grocerant niche. Super Max is one food retailer that has done and outstanding job with both the breakfast daypart and lunch daypart. Safeway’s lifestyle stores are building on the lunch daypart and doing great things in the PM or dinner daypart. Wawa, Sheetz, QuickChek do great things with fresh prepared food and now 7 Eleven is entering the grocerant niche as well with testing new products from coast to coast.

Here are some of the new values driving consumers in the grocerant niche:

1. Ready-to-eat

2. Fresh, local better for you

3. Portion size options, single serve

4. Multiple choice of sides and entree per day

5. Portability

Retail foodservice marketers can no longer rely on preconceived segmentation strategies, but rather need to think differently about who they are trying to reach and how to reach them. In a world where all shopping has become faster, the grocerant niche provides the bundled solutions consumers are looking for.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Restaurateurs thinking outside the box can draw inspiration with traditional foods.



Revitalizing your restaurant concept? Is it time to reposition a traditional product within your brand; maybe a burger, salad, side dish, desert or do you need a new product or avenue of distribution? Are you ready to catapult sales of the product while building interest and greater brand value? Consider the Grocerant niche of fresh prepared food that is better for you and portable.

Here is an example the age old apple. Consultants at Foodservice Solutions knew sales would boom if you cut the apple first; then placed it into a different channel sliced and packaged sold as Apple Fries at Burger King and Fresh Better For You Wedges at McDonalds. If you were raised in Washington State you might have known there would be winners and they are the Apple farmer, the healthier consumer (kids) and the QSR niche via TOP LINE SALES & BOTTOM LINE PROFITS for all.

Winston Churchill once stated: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.

Grocerant products are a multi-channel products consisting of traditional foods prepared fresh that are ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods that are/can be portable; found in grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, supermarkets, mobile food units and kiosk. You have them in your current portfolio, are you leveraging to the benefit of your brand?

We are seeing each niche create its own answer for convenient ready-to-eat foods; and when they do the consumer rewards them with purchases and increased frequency. Utilizing traditional food and food products but updating with a new twist.

Success does leave clues; it’s time to revitalize your brand, your products and positioning. Consumers want ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food more often than in the past by all age groups and income levels.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Convenience stores growth outpaces supermarkets for obvious reasons.


In a special report by Convenience Retailing 2010: Future Trading Strategies, with focus on United Kingdom the report showed that “the C-store sector is growing at a faster pace than the overall UK grocery market”. What is of particular interest to all of us is that the report also states that consumers “make more frequent trips to smaller shops instead of one large supermarket shop each week.”

That reflects the messaging that has dominated the grocery sector for years here in the US. Time starved consumers do not want to spend all day walking around up and down isle after isle looking for the 6 – 8 items they want! Thus the growth in the Grocerant niche, prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh portable food. Legacy grocery stores that are worried only about “basket size” days are in fact number (this is a attribute only important to the retailer). There are other attributes more important to the consumer. Companies that focus on the consumer will win. Not those focused on legacy metrics.

C-stores are responding to consumer with new item’s, faster service and inviting promotional offerings. I believe that that differentiated does not mean different to the consumer it means familiar: Here is just one fun example of a Fresh & Familiar food that a regional C-store is leveraging to their advantage .Rutters Farm Stores has added fresh-cooked waffles -- a regional favorite -- to its food menu.

They begin with the standard fare: “Waffle ice cream sandwich, with a choice of vanilla or Neapolitan ice cream, served with powdered sugar on top”; then the intriguing and fun for the consumers begins a “Waffle sandwich, with chicken and gravy; and,-- Waffle dinner, with chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes;”. Then too top things off and make the offer interactive and participatory for the consumer “Rutter's also added waffles to its bread options, joining white, wheat and rye” bread.

If success leaves clues it clear the convenience stores sector has picked many of the clues and is running away with consumers.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Monday, June 7, 2010

Safeway Lifestyle stores are examples of integrated category management and Grocerant success.


Viscerally attractive with interactive mix and match ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food components, Safeway is building a successful future. Coupled with inside seating, fireplace, CNN on the large flat panel TV; Safeway’s lifestyle stores are evolving faster than Kroger, A & P and Walmart. Utilizing an integrated category management approach with a focus on the customer, fresh prepared food and meal component bundling it is easy to see why customers are returning to Safeway.

Beginning with a contemporary sandwich station, hot Chinese food station, sushi station, soda fountain/with free refills (Coke Cola) or consumer can visit the Starbucks kiosk; Safeway is moving from a legacy deli while skipping the food court and moved head first into the grocerant niche. Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food is fully integrated into and active category management plan with Safeway’s newest remodeled store in Washington State.

Walmart recently added digital signage to select end caps within their stores. Digital visceral attractiveness is a contemporary standard in food retailing Walmart is doing a good job with it. Safeway is missing the boat particularly in the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food area with digital signage.

On the other hand Walmart obviously focused on the “center store” has missed a huge opportunity to build customer delight and meet the consumer focused demand for quality fresh prepared meal options within what many legacy operators continue to call deli. Upon recent visits in multiple states Walmart’s deli harkens back to the early 70’s with a miss guided attempt by grocery retailers even think about quality fresh prepared food offerings and customer service.

Kroger is utilizing an incremental approach enhancing continually the fresh prepared food offerings. It appears however that incremental approach may not be sufficient enough to hold consumers in the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat grocerant niche. Safeway, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Central Market and HEB are all moving with the consumer or are a step ahead.

Supermarkets, Convenience stores and Restaurants all must avoid unwittingly practicing Brand Protectionism and saying no to items that consumer come to expect. Visceral attractiveness is now as important as cleanliness and service. The Grocerant sector is leveraging digital informational tools that sell freshness, attractiveness contemporary relevance.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grocery stores and Convenience stores are in a race to obtain Restaurant consumers.


Proactive and entrepreneurial both Grocery stores operators and Convenience stores operators are entering the ready-to-eat ready-to-heat prepared food niche. Full speed ahead from coast to coast, each sector is increasing the number of new high quality offerings to entice restaurants consumer to make the switch.

Here are just a few new menu offerings:

1. Publix Bacon Peppercorn Flavored Rotisserie Chicken

2. Trader Joe’s Wine Country Chicken Salad: with white-meat chicken, pecans, celery, poppy seeds and dried cranberries

3. Rutters Breakfast subs with double egg, double cheese and double meat

4. Central Market with Chimichurri Rostisserie Chicken

5. Whole food roman style pizza

6. Sheetz Grilled Chicken Cesar Wrap and Garlic Fryz

NPD Group restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs. Stated "This is something that had been happening prior to the recession, and it has only gotten exacerbated by the recession,…Riggs expects supermarkets to continue to see decent takeout business as the recession fades, largely because NPD projects takeout meals eaten in-home will grow by 20 percent during the next decade.

Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food is growing in number of locations, quality of offerings and in many cases a pricing advantage over traditional restaurants. Consumer retail foodservice patterns are repositioning and new sector leaders are beginning to surface.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Better for you food just might not be all that is better.



Are people buying “better for you” food today and how? They are utilizing a confluence of new tools including mobile app’s, from wireless phone, On-line ordering from computers and PDA’s, IPad’s to name just a few. More over the younger the consumer the more likely they are to find any of these alternate forms of ordering preferable. This is also perceived as better for you from the consumer perspective.

Foodservice consumer responded to a research survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) on Functional Foods. The survey found that “89% of Americans agree that certain foods can have benefits for long term health including reducing the risk of disease or other health concerns. Consumer identified the following:

1. Fruits and vegetables

2. Fish / seafood

3. Milk & Yogurt

4. Meat & poultry

5. Herbs & spices

What is most interesting to me is that the number one item on the list also appeared as the number one food preferred by college students in dorm meal plans for the past 20 years!

Now think about it, our customers are looking for a better for you food products when they go out to eat and at home. Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared food must be comprised of better for you food and available in better for you formats for contemporize consumer relevance.

Prudent retailers will soon understand the power of the Grocerant niche! Ready-to-eat, Ready-to-heat quality bundled meal options that are better for you, create demand in new and alternative channels of sales and distribution.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Retail Foodservice one year later, Lane Cardwell guiding Boston Market to success.


With the consumer demand for ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food that is fresh prepared, portable and profitable ala the grocerant niche. Why do many grocery stores continue utilizing procedures and operating paradigms of the 70’s,80’s & early 90’s that has contributed to a continued decline in market share too the restaurant and convenience store sector.

Grocers that are relying on category and brand managers that focus on utilizing slotting fees and outwitting consumers with category management or continuous category management, results will continue to slip.

In the grocerant sector Boston Market is successfully focusing on the consumer, making adjustments addressing concerns of the consumer, they again gaining market share. Utilizing the Mix & Match meal components bundling Boston Market has successfully demystified the consumer paradox of choice. Credit must focus on leadership. Lane Cardwell has spent years focusing on the consumer, not just the brand and the focus is now paying dividends. If success leaves clues one might be watch this company.

The average size of the American family is smaller today than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago, however grocery category and brand mangers continue to focus on “basket size” rather than customer, customer frequency or measurable brand value attributes.

By focusing on increasing check size and bundling meat in packages of 30 pork chops, a chicken and a half in a package, or mix and match- buy any 10 for $1.00 each. What’s with that? Do they think the industry is going backward? What family are they selling too? Do brand mangers in the grocery industry have degrees in marketing? We all know that frequency contributes to an increase in impulse buying; why then do grocery marketers want to build a basket size so large they keep the consumer away? It might be time to change?

Consumers want small portions or portions sized for today’s family particularly ready-to-eat meals. Buying 10 ingredients for one entrée or side dish is the not goal of 80% of consumer Monday –Friday. With family size much smaller than it was in the 70’s and people living longer while living alone, the demand for quality food prepared continues to grow. Look at the winners, Safeway’s life style stores – smaller check average and higher frequency the same holds for Harris Teeter.

Product freshness, visceral attractiveness and consumer focused flavor and texture attributes will continue to dive frequency, loyalty and top and bottom line profits.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Private Label brand managers need to come out swinging vs. lame slotting fees.


Diminished is the role of the legacy national brand manager in a world where private label is branded. When national brand manufactures continue paying slotting fee’s to grocery stores and supermarkets as the easiest way to reach the consumer. The slotting fee’s continue to go for space on the shelf but the key location End Caps are now being filled with the stores own private label products. If your paying a National Brand manager and your brand value is gone, fire the brand manager or pay higher slotting fees and fool some of the people some of the time.

Who likes slotting fee’s well for one wall street analyst love to see sales via pushing slotting fee’s at the end of a slow quarter to meet “goals”. Why they like it is beyond logical reason. Mediocre C-level grocery store chain managers like it better than being force to become merchants. They utilize slotting fee’s to supplement profits. It justifying being a poor merchant with rationalization. By the way wall street likes that too!

The brand managers of the private label products are utilizing a tool out of the National Brand Managers playbook to build loyalty, reinforce value and generate additional sales and profits for the store and their particular private label product. They are taking the end caps for themselves!

Price Chopper is utilizing what they call “power displays”. Wal-Mart is utilizing the end caps to reinforce value of their private label products and consumer is picking them up! Wegmans gets the customers coming and going utilizing the vestibules with the likes of Wegmans private label potato chips and the next week Wegmans own canned tuna and their own mayo for example. I say keep it up!

Deep in the store the private label battle continues with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat portable food. All prepared fresh and in most cases right in front of the customer. Private Label Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food now has brand managers of their own and they are building sales not slotting fees. Think about it, building sales on demand from consumers? Novel ideation or business fundamentals, you chose.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions to provide brand and product positioning assistance. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson