Thursday, March 31, 2011

Menu magic comes from positioning product in the minds eye of the consumer.


The quagmire of reality that corporate foodservice menu managers find themselves in to day is stifling. The niche focus required by many chain restaurants, grocery stores, Convenience stores in the foodservice is to narrow and stifles pro-active consumer focused development. Let them out of the box.

Company after company within each niche imposes odd regulations on its teams. The stated reasons range from; end product price to labor guide lines, food costing goals etc all non consumer focused reasons. No matter what the reason they are self imposed, self regulated, and limiting.

This quagmire of internal regulation stifles creativity, limits growth and reduces the chance of true breakout products within the niche. If success leaves clues the customer is number one.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy 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, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The price, value, service equilibrium is resetting in retail foodservice.


Grocery stores, Restaurants, C- stores and now drug store chains are selling quality ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food. Each is reconfiguring their ready-2-eat ready to heat-N-eat food product lineup. Most interesting, the new food items are not niche focused but are consumer focused with a mix and match bundled component.

Each company is now 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 particularly at price and away from the consumer. Which in turn has caused a loss is consumer traffic as important as price might be other attributes are much more important. The consumer is turning to the grocery store hot prepared food section and the C-store sector in greater numbers.

The problem is the grocery stores are not ready for the volume increase and have lost focus on the customer service component. They have dropped the ball much of the food quality is still reflective of a bygone era of fried food or heat lamp food warm with few qualitative attributes.

There are of course exceptions like Wegmans, Central Market, Whole Foods and Metropolitan Market. Consumers will not stay long if things don’t improve rapidly. The battle for the consumer dollar continues in the Grocerant ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food niche.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy 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, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Monday, March 28, 2011

Burger King it time for Foodservice Solutions® 10 steps to build a solid food brand.


Symbolism: 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 and moving forward with society.

A story: Most major brands have a story. Examples: Starbucks a social “third place” handcrafted fresh coffee. A great example is Subway, fresh better for you with personalization and customization empowering consumer choice.

A track record: 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: McDonalds no one says they have the very best burger. Yet the convergence of product quality, product consistency, contemporized brand messaging build long term trust.

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. Differentiation does not mean different it means familiar.

Imitators: Imitation is the sincerest form 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. Know how you’re going to get there; have a plan.

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 with new products in avenues of distribution and flavors.

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.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy 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, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Papa Murphy’s John Barr drives success.


The grocerant niche filled with retail foodservice operators has no better example of a leader who understands today’s food consumer than John D. Barr CEO of Papa Murphy’s. Ignoring legacy pizza retail foodservice success metric’s, Barr as over seen the most substantial growth in Papa Murphy’s chain which now has over 1,250 units.

Papa Murphy’s core focuses on differentiation via customization and individualization with consumer interactivity and participation the binding element. Foodservice Solutions® grocerant guru Steven Johnson has repeatedly stated that “Papa Murphy’s integrates the 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price; as well as anyone in the industry.”

Papa Murphy’s has built its success with distinctive differentiated food consumables as an entity with identity by category, by season all while integrating customization. That is no small feat. On Monday when they launch a new media campaign focused on the brand’s core message, I predict they will once again garner market share from the rest of the pizza category. It’s just what they have been doing for 30 plus years.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy 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, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Friday, March 25, 2011

Groupon is the penalty price restaurant marketers pay when the brand becomes boring.


Restaurant chains have been unwittingly capitulating market share to grocery stores Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food for years. Convenience stores studied consumer trends, focused on the consumer, entered the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche with fresh and prepared quality food capturing additional market share as well. Currently the C-store sector has posted positive same store sales numbers longer than any other retail food sector.

The restaurant industry has become know as the home of copy-cat marketing. An industry loaded with unremarkable new food products, innovative in only the length of time it takes to copy a competitor’s product, pricing or marketing campaign. Groupon has been the life line for chains simply trying to hang on.

If success leave clues Copy-Cat marketing is simply put unremarkable. Several restaurant chains now are developing bigger burgers. I think both Burger King and Carl’s Jr. did that, are they simply headed to Groupon.

Marketing KID EAT FREE has been around for years yet when sales are slow it’s at times much easer to take a step back than invest in research and move forward. Companies must look out side the current mode of employee mind set of following someone else, doing what they did three, four or five years ago and focus on the consumer. Deep discounting is the price chain restaurants pay for lack of innovative positioning of both food product and messaging. Foodservice Solutions® 5P’s of food marketing might be a place too start if moving forward with consumer is your goal.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy 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, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grocerant niche flourishes as legacy niche leader KFC repositions message.


Without doubt KFC was one of the first retail foodservice companies to thrive in what is now called the grocerant niche. Today, the world of ready-2-to-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food can be found within the convenience store sector, grocery sector, chain drug store sector and every niche of the restaurant sector.

Since KFC has launched its new “10-piece 10 Buck Sunday Bucket Deal,” offering 10 pieces of Original Recipe, Extra Crispy or Kentucky Grilled Chicken for $10 plus tax on Sundays at participating restaurants nationwide. KFC renewed focus on the chains core valued consumer focused attributes have garnered positive attention.

Allowing the consumer to Mix & Match product meal components of the 10 Buck Sunday Bucket reflects the success contemporized grocerant of Mix & Match meal components readers of this blog have long followed. Companies that utilize Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price; will understand success can be found within the grocerant niche. Clearly KFC now getting back on track.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy 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, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

4PM and what in the world is for dinner?


Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru Steven Johnson thinks that Whole Foods has the answers. When 4PM rolls around and most consumers start thinking about dinner, our research show if they live near a Whole Foods the answer just might be inside the doors.

Whole Foods has developed for consumers into a meal Ready-2-Eat and or Heat-N-Eat “better for you” food emporium. Whole Foods is the largest national retail food chain to date to understand Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. When it comes to Ready-2-Eat and or Heat-N-Eat better for you food, Whole Foods it top of mind with consumers. If success leaves clues Whole Foods is one company many of the reader of this blog should keep and eye on.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Restaurant chains introduce “better for you” food.


Understanding that in American, people want to eat there way is but one reason restaurant chains are starting to focus on better for you menu items. America’s favorite food the hamburger is getting better for you; at lease a version of it.

Carl’s Jr. the national hamburger sector chain will "offer four Charbroiled Turkey Burgers, each under 500 calories. The plain Turkey Burger weighs in at 490 calories and 23 grams of fat, vs. 660 calories and 39 grams of fat for the Carl’s Famous Star burger. It will sell for $2.99, the same price as their Famous Star burger.

A few regional chains have tried Turkey Burgers, with minimal impact. Jeff Harvey, CEO of Burgerville, a better-for-you burger chain in the Northwest, says they only account for 1% of sales. But he thinks CKE is smart to offer them. “You’ve got to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd,” he says."

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Monday, March 21, 2011

Menu mix drives top line sale and bottom line profits.


Channel blurring is simple hogwash. Industry insiders and Wall Street analyst enjoy categorizing concepts by speed of service, market share and check average. CEO’s, CFO’s and CMO’s buy into channel blurring concept to reap praise from Wall Street. The American consumers think that life is a food buffet and they want to eat there way thin.

Consumer enjoy QSR’s, Quick Casual, Fast Casual, Fine Dinning Convenience Store food, Grocery store deli’s and Drug store chain fresh and prepared food. They chose preference first by time allocation, second by meal period, third by occasion including family breakfast at home, family breakfast on the road, lunch with friends, family dinner at home etc.

Today, how the consumer eats is more important that any channel they may choose to eat in. The evolution of how consumers eat has been greater over the past 20 years than the development of anyone particular channel. Retail foodservice success comes from understanding the consumer not the industry defined channel.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

European’s food retailers utilize relevant metrics for success.


With an aging population during the 1990’s European food retailers began bundling smaller portion, mix and match meal combo’s and the grocerant niche was born. Loaded with 20 years of success leveraging and bundling quality food in new and alternate points of distribution Groupe LeDuff SA is prepared to make it mark in the US.

LeDuff can succeed here in the US first because they are not burdened with running a company utilizing outdated financial metrics. LeDuff unlike many American Hedge funds, understands companies, brands, and a niche’s are not static they are dynamic.

Creating synergies among and within foodservice brands is what LeDuff is very good at. Leveraging their commercial bakery business the United States and Canada which specializes in artisan breads, croissants and pastries only plays to there strength. Look for other global companies too enter the US this way as well.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Friday, March 18, 2011

The “Food Court” fresh or frozen is the Chain Restaurant Brand Manager’s best friend.


Evidence shows that the distinction in differentiation is a value of the brand. Successful brand managers leverage that distinction in multiple channels building top line revenue and bottom line profits. If success leaves clues and listening is a key to success then we all need to listen when grocery store category managers refer to the freezer aisle turning into the new restaurant "frozen food court".

Channel blurring only exists in the blind eye of Neanderthal restaurant brand managers the disregard the consumer. Today, restaurant brand managers must understand their brand and their customers. If they do; they can integrate marketing plans that complement their customers while intersecting with the brand in multiple channels of distribution.

Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Safeway each has incorporated a "frozen food court" in the frozen food aisle. Utilizing both national and regional restaurant branded food. Boston Market, TGI Friday's, PF Chang's, California Pizza Kitchen and now Burger King are the most-thorough players with complete or nearly-complete programs at retail.

Repeated evidence shows that the distinction in differentiation is a value of the brand. Leveraging that value within additional retail segments is simply contemporary consumer relevance. Is your brand relevant?

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Food competition intensities; Grocery stores, C-stores and Chain restaurants fight for survival.


“The future has already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed.” Too quote William Gibson

If you have been waiting to see what’s next, you might have just missed the bus. National food retailers risk being marginalized by new concepts with smaller footprints, lower cost of goods and faster service and local authentic fare.

Understanding the new retail food retail dynamics in the industry and reacting properly will accelerate your growth. Many national chains will close lack luster stores; pontificate on repositioning and capitulate market share for years to come, repositioning within the grocerant niche may be your answer to success.

Here is what we understand; consumer discontinuity in food retailing began in 2005 and continues. New points of distribution are growing, becoming smaller in size and worked out many of there problems.

Fresh & Easy for example reports last quarter sales are up again. They have continued to focus on ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food portioned for one or two people. Trader Joe’s ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food positioned in consumer friendly Mix & Match bundling continues to garner favor with consumers. Walgreens is building the prepared fresh food arena in unban locations with high quality grocerant style fresh prepared meals portioned for one or two and fresh coffee. Now CVS is selling fresh prepared food in select locations.

“The future has already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed.” A quote made famous by William Gibson sure comes to mind don’t you think. The big retail companies are jumping in head first and food manufactures are simple thrilled that they have. The grocerant niche continues to boom and the consumer looks to be the beneficiary with new point of distribution and competitive pricing.

Chain Restaurants, Grocery Stores, C-stores and Drug store chains are all looking to increase their share of stomach. The grocerant niche so far has been the beneficiary.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Food retailing moving forward.


Grocerant niche positioning is not back to the basic’s it’s a step into the future of food marketing, positioning and essential for legacy brands continued consumer relevance. Grocery stores, Drug stores chains, Restaurants and Convenience stores are all scurrying to reposition their menu mix of better for you prepared food to garner an increase in share of stomach. Competitive may not be a strong enough word for the battle between sectors and companies for the consumer. The Grocerant niche is where all the action is consisting of better for you prepared portable ready-2-eat and to-heat-N-eat food.

McDonalds, Wegmans, Starbucks, Sheetz, Boston Market and Wawa have done great things in the foodservice area but the equilibrium between financial success and breakthrough top of mind recognition might be amiss. In Seth Godin's book Purple Cow where the entrepreneur wants to recapture some of the magic that the brand at one time had. Godin suggests that the key to success is finding a way to stand out and be remarkable, like a purple cow in a field of regular cows.

McDonalds new coffee program is a Grocerant niche positioning focused on it brands core and consumer relevant issues. This is a Purple Cow for McDonalds. Purple Cow’s assist leading companies; capture additional market share and most important share of stomach.

Equally as bold is Domino's change to its core product its pizza and crust! The new crust will be a garlic-seasoned recipe with parsley, and the sauce will be sweeter and bolder with a medley of herbs and a red-pepper kick." The cheese is made with 100% mozzarella, flavored with just a hint of provolone”. Not only are these moves bold, they are targeted directly at the consumer, grounded in consumer relevance. Congratulations Domino’s; marketer’s around the world will be watching in envy, wondering why they have been held back. Domino’s is not utilizing copy cat marketing. This was a Purple Cow for Domino’s.

Safeway’s “lifestyle” is another example for Grocerant niche positioning a turn away form the middle of the store and focus on consumer relevant fresh, prepared food. These “lifestyle” units have proven a focus on the grocerant niche prepared food sector provides a halo for even the burdened center of the store. This is about winning the heart and minds of the consumer.

The challenged for each company is the ability to see and understand the customers focus at it’s core, not your brands core. Success does leave clues and companies leading the charge in 2011 will be leaders within there niche for years to come. Those that do not will be reading headlines that C-level change is coming or came. Without bold new leaders those brands may simply become non relevant. In the event that they are more about their brand than the consumer they will simply fall to the way side.

Does your team have the ability to ask outliner questions of researchers in order to identify outliner results for your product or brand? Have you identified a new avenue of distribution or a new product that can be your Purple Cow? Many companies are in turmoil due to the economic quagmire, very few companies will do something bold, new and fresh if they do they will garner market share for years to come.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Safeway’s Mix and Match dinner for two only $ 9.99 rivals Restaurant deals.


Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price; are the common thread between Chain restaurants, Conveniences stores and Grocery store chains food sales growth.

Vertically integrating Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food marketing messaging Safeway’s is becoming an aggressive competitor within the grocerant niche. Bundling Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meal options with “necessities” can create a competitive advantage.

Chain restaurants have unique consumer brand positioning with bold flavor differentiation that help s maintain top of mind consumer awareness. The opportunity for bundling additional complementary products has been over looked up until now.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Monday, March 14, 2011

Family meal focus is on Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food at 4 PM.


Demanding family members continue requesting high flavor, Multi-Ethnic meal options every week. Grocerant niche mix and match meal components both fresh prepared and fresh frozen are finding there way to the family dinner table.

Chain restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, drug stores chains CVS and Walgreens are all offering meal component options. Mix and matching meal component options from multiple outlets is increasingly the platform of family meal customization and individualization.

The NPD Group found that 16% of dinners each night will come from the freezer aisle that number is at and “all-time” high up 5% during the past 10 years. Simply put time starved consumers are looking for time saving ways to assemble the family meal.

When 4PM rolls around the questions is What’s for Dinner? In more and more cases the answer is Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food. Companies that utilize Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price; will understand success can be found within the grocerant niche.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® too provide brand, product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Each is available for Chain Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Amazon waits too see who will win the food delivery war in New York City.


With the rise of the grocerant niche, the success of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food, there is no looking back for the retail food sector. Amazon.com has launched food delivery in Germany, Great Britain and Seattle, Washington. There is no doubt that Amazon is waiting in the wings watching who wins the battle for the consumer in NYC, then will step in.

Whole Foods, Peapod, Fresh Direct are all well established companies capable and competent none of them has positioned themselves with the growth and footprint mindset of Amazon.com. With an urban focus, it’s clear to see Amazon’s retail food delivery strategy. Amazon is clearly thinking global, loaded with retail shopping research intelligence that is consumer focused not industry focused.

The grocerant niche in which Amazon.com falls continues to evolve and garner market share. Legacy food retailers will need much more than a regional or “city” set of tactic’s if they want to succeed in retail food industry in 2015 or beyond. Food retailing is not about legacy metrics, it is about the consumer today and tomorrow. Food retailing is in transition; new leaders will appear as legacy companies the ilk of A&P disappear.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance, grocerant program assessment; all available for Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores and other food retailers. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why the center of the Grocery store is dying fast.


It’s time category managers focus on the metric’s of the marketplace rather than the legacy metric’s of the center of the store. During the past twenty years legacy grocery store companies implement “new” center store programs. One plan after the other resulted in center of the store disappointment and inevitably lead to anther new plan. There are two reasons this keeps happening.

1. DOLLAR STORES are cherry picking center of the store products and consumers know it. The consumer has responded and in the past 20 years industry numbers indicate that there are 25,000+ new dollar stores and 20,000+ fewer grocery stores.

2. Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food has captivated the time starved consumer. Restaurants are selling more and more Take out, in store delis are building sales, Drug stores the ilk of Walgreens and CVS are entering the fresh prepared food niche. Consumers are simply preparing meals differently. Not from the center of the store, but from the perimeter.

New metric’s will not make the center of the store more meaningful. However, smart retailers may make the center of the smaller. The consumer is more important than legacy metric’s.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment available for Restaurants, Convenience stores and Grocery stores. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Thursday, March 10, 2011

7 drivers of the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat grocerant food niche.


Restaurateurs continue to see an up tick in ready-2-eat and heat-n-eat take away food. When I pressed industry professionals, collectively they came up with 7 drivers. Not including fuel cost.

Here are 7 key items that “bug” consumers and are contributing to the growth in the grocerant trend. Feel free to add your own by leaving a comment on the link below or Email me directly at: stevejohnson77@msn.com

1. Waiters interrupting an important meal to ask if 'everything is OK?

2. Asking what composes a certain dish and getting shrugged shoulders for an answer.

3. Bad lighting.

4. Unclean table next to me

5. Stacking plate of food on top of each other. I don't want the bottom of other plates touching my food.

6. Grab the glass toward the top, near the drinking area.

7. Chewing gum while serving.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment available for Restaurants, Convenience stores and Grocery stores. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good Food sells, remember who you’re cooking for.


Food innovation blends experimentation with contemporary relevance. The outcome is a unique point of differentiation that relates directly to the targeted consumer. I believe that differentiation does not mean different it means familiar with a twist. Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food that is better for you is driving the success of the grocerant niche.

With all the talk today about posting calories, excessive salt there is one thing that we all must keep top of mind; customers eat FOOD that taste good. For all of the pontification and legislative maneuvers to change the food you are selling to your customers beware! If you want your customers to come back, the food had better taste good. In the minds eye of the consumer, food quality trumps all.

Better for you food means many different things to each segmented group of consumers. Each new menu or product may have one or more new “required constraint” targeted at a specific niche few will be all things for all groups. The one universal attribute or success clue in food innovation is: it better taste good!

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment available for Restaurants, Convenience stores and Grocery stores. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Electric cars positioned in fresh food Market Share Battle.


The restaurant industry known for following trends not creating them is once again getting out positioned in the battle for the food dollar. This time it is an attack on the restaurant Drive Thru and Convenience Store quick serve food options. Drug store giant and industry leader Walgreens is installing “green refueling” outlets for electric cars in the Houston, Texas.

Walgreens reentered fresh food retailing last year with ready-2-eat and heat-n-eat fresh and prepared food much of which is termed better for you. Installing “green” refueling outlets at stores clearly positions them to become fresh food superstars. Convenience stores have led all retail food sectors with top line growth bungling in large part fresh food options and fuel in recent years. Walgreens is positioning with the fuel of the future and better for you ready-2-eat and heat-n-eat food for success.

Ready-2-eat and Heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food that is “better for you” portioned as meal components that can be mix and matched have been driving the success of the grocerant niche. Time starved consumers have long loved the Drive Thru restaurants. However, better for you food and family meal mix and match assembly is tilting the food dollar the direction of the grocerant niche.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment available for Restaurants, Convenience stores and Grocery stores. 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 twitter.com/grocerant



Monday, March 7, 2011

Food for the 65 inch TV: Why the food landscape is changing.


Americans love affair with restaurants is not dying. However increased competition with innovative food with a twist broadens consumer choice of dinning with quality, ease at home. Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food is expanding consumer choice of Mix & Match Meal component options.

Restaurants, Convenience stores and Grocery stores are all selling Take-Away food. Meal Mix & Match grocerant meal components have been the leading sector in retail foodservice of late. It’s menu magic.

Mix & Match grocerant food allows the consumer too spend more time in front of the 65 inch TV. Grocery store brand loyalty and frequency increases with each advancement in quality Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food. Here are examples of Mix and Match Meal components from Grocery stores only: If you want to what grocery stores are selling the items below, Email mail us and we will let you know!

Goat Cheese Strawberry Salad: spring mix topped with thinly slicedstrawberries, blueberries, walnuts and crumbled goat cheese,

Cajun Seasoned Potatoes: roasted potatoes topped with Cajunblackening seasoning,

Coconut Crusted Mahi Mahi and Chicken Tenders: coated in toasted panko bread crumbs and cream of coconut (ready-to cook),

Mexican Lasagna, Mushroom Risotto, Crabcakes,

Aegean Salad: shell pasta with Feta, onion, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives,

Caprese Panini, BBQ Chicken Quesadilla,

Matzo Ball Soupeared Chicken Breast with Peach & Chive Sauce, Parmesan Chicken Fingers,

Turkey Roulade with Cranberry Stuffing.

Side orders:

Cauliflower Spinach Gratin,

Artichoke & Asiago Croquette,

Spaghetti with Seasoned Tomato Sauce,

Apple Almond Yam Cakes,

Florida’s Farm Stores offer Online meal components:

Cajun Chicken, Chicken Saute with Artichokes, Mushroom & Asparagus Israeli Couscous,

Sage Roasted Turkey Breast, Vegetable Fried Rice, Salmon Nicoise Salad, Flan, Key Lime Pie.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment available for Restaurants, Convenience stores and Grocery stores. 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Private Label food takes center stage.


Wegmans, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, H.E.B., and Walmart all have now utilized End Caps to position their own private label products1st in the minds eye position of the consumer. Yes, even the 800lb food retailing gorilla Walmart has recently positioned at minimum 7 End Caps within their stores with either Great Value or Marketside products.

Utilizing legacy category management metric’s Walmart has positioned low end private label brand Great Value and their higher end private label Marketside on End Caps squeezing attention from legacy brands. Consumer have embraced and accepted private label products. What is needed for success is not a battle of private label vs. brands but new private label category brand managers. Each category needs a brand manager of its own. i.e. dairy, cereal, bread, etc.

Wall Street analysts who pride themselves on “state of the art information” need state of the art metrics. A&P and Supervalu tried to please the street with legacy metrics. Who well did that work? It’s time to reward those who are garnering customers, while reducing basket size as well.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Friday, March 4, 2011

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner fresh prepared food is entering the marketplace at new locations.


What Do Consumers Think About Lunch at 7 Eleven? With ready-2-eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food becoming the fastest growing and most profitable sector in retail foodservice aka the grocerant niche.

7 Eleven is perfectly situated to capture a large share of the marketplace. I think 7 Eleven will experience strong sales growth as they roll out an integrated grocerant food program with distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part. 7 Eleven’s successful food product branding has allowed them to own the flavored crushed ice niche with the Slurpee! They will do it by daypart with other food items as well. If success leaves clues keep your eye on 7 Eleven they are changing and changing fast.

Quiznos desire to open 600 new locations within convenience stores highlights that the race for the share of stomach at lunch and dinner is only heating up. In a recently completed consumer proprietary research study Quiznos found that 54% of people eat lunch in 20 minutes or less. This works equally well for convenience store location and QSR’s.

Consumer are multi-tasking more and more; convenience stores with a plethora of food offering combined with other services may have an edge moving forward. According to the same study “ 75 percent of consumers are more satisfied when offered a variety of menu options to choose from; 60 percent of consumers say price is important when choosing between lunch options; 47 percent of consumers choose restaurants that are "earth-conscious"; and 76 percent of consumers take calories and nutrition into account when deciding on lunch.”

Grocerant ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food is garnering the attention of the consumer. This niche is filled with better for you products that are portioned, priced and portable in ways that many legacy operators have yet to understand.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The rise of the Grocerant; food success clues.


Foodservice Solutions® president Steven Johnson has documented, followed and even defined the grocerant niche. It is no wonder the success his grocerant blog has garnered. The grocerant niche is booming. It is followed by thousands on LinkedIn daily and thousands more via Facebook.

Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food that is better for you continues to spread from restaurants, into grocery stores, convenience stores and now into the drug store sector. Grocerant niche food is entering the convenience store niche at such a fast pace that the C-stores sector of the foodservice industry has lead all other retail food sectors in year over year growth for the past two years.

The primary driver of the grocerant niche is quality food bundled as components allowing and promoting consumer choice. Meal time is now becoming a time of convenient meal participation, with differentiation and individualization for the entire family. When a family can mix and match components everyone wins.

Companies that utilize Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price; will understand success can be found within the grocerant niche. Building strong sales if they roll out an integrated grocerant niche food program with distinctive differentiated food consumables as an entity with identity by day part.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Better for you food getting noticed.


Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared grocerant niche food had been growing in popularity and now it is getting noticed.

Kay Logsdon, editor in chief of The Food Channel published the Top 5 gourmet food trends for 2011:

The Top 5 gourmet foods trends for 2011 include:

1. Chocolate for Breakfast—Tea, Belgian waffles, granola and hot chocolate on a stick.

2. Foods for Healing—Ancient healing teas, Blackwater with 77 minerals, aloe and cucumber drinks, plus micro-batches of healthful beverages.

3. New Noodles—Yam, kelp, farro and spelt.

4. Heat with Flavor—Ghost peppers, yuzu-wasabi sauce and piquillo almond glop.

5. Creative Chips—Pinto beans, naan, peas, mung beans, kale and wild rice.

Logsdon noted that :“Breakfast is certainly hot including alternative grains and portability," …the intensity of the spice has certainly been increased in almost everything." Bold flavors and portability have been mainstays on this blog as many of you know. We have a large following via Linkedin and Facebook including food editors and Wall Street types. Success leaves clue, thank you for reading and sharing.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales 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 twitter.com/grocerant

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Food fight and the Convenience store sector is winning.


It all started with the $ 5.00 food long and the Subway restaurant chain has be the individual retail food winner. Subway is growing units and top line sales like no other food retailer in the United Sates. Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food is driving top line growth and bottom line profits in food retail today.

The Dollar menu has pushed the QSR sector along and now with inflation on the horizon; a global food price war in the food sector and grocery sector particularly has broken out. It is painfully clear whom ever is the last to raise prices in the QSR sector will be the clear winner, garnering market share.

In the grocery sector; Wegmans is freezing prices on “basic” items, Tesco’s ala Fresh and Easy’s parent has targeted its largest European rival in a price war. Tesco has found it’s footing in the US and is now expanding again with a focus on Price and Product differentiation. Don’t count on large price increases in grocery any time soon, at least in urban centers. Kroger and Safeway must try and keep competitive.

The only over all sector of food retail that has gained both top line revenue and more units during the past two years is the C-store sector. Both the Grocery store and Restaurant sector have lost units. Companies that utilize Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price; will understand success can be found within the grocerant niche.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales 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 twitter.com/grocerant