Friday, July 29, 2011

Do “Kids Eat FREE” Promotions Work? Guest Blog by David Archer

One of the classic traffic drivers for restaurants is the Kids Eat FREE promotion. It used to be found mainly in family style restaurants such as the IHOPs and Dennys of the world, but now as guest traffic is down across all categories, you see more and more types of restaurants running a Kids Eat Free promotion. The question is, "Does it work?" The easy answer is, yes it works to drive traffic, but the better question is, "Is it right for my business?"
Free is a very good price, and will always bring people in to get the free food. Look at the lines out the door each time a national chain has a free food giveaway promotion. The problem is, just getting people in the door no matter what it costs is not why you're in business. Sure you need customers, but you need to make a profit on those customers. Your ultimate job is to make money for yourself and your investors, not just drive guest counts.
The typical Kids Eat Free promotion has some strings attached so you can be guaranteed to recoup your food costs. Some restaurants require the purchase of a kids beverage in order to receive the free meal. Others require the purchase of a regular priced adult meal in order to receive the free kids meals. These requirements protect you from going into a negative transaction territory where you're actually losing money on the deal. There's also often a limits on the number of children allowed per adult, usually 2 kids per adult meal purchased, so you don't get a busload of kids from the local camp and only sell one adult meal to their leader while you give away 27 kids meals.
A price based promotion like this does not build loyalty. It attracts customers who are price sensitive, and without the low price incentive to come in, they won't continue to keep coming. It's much like your coupon customers. If they have your coupon in hand this week they'll visit you, but if they have your competitor's coupon in hand next week, they'll visit them. I was involved with a chain that offered Kids Eat Free on Saturday and Sunday nights, two very slow nights for this chain. While we promoted Kids Eat Free, guest counts grew quickly, but as soon as we took it away the counts went right back down to their previous levels.
The other factor to consider is the length of time you're willing to offer this promotion. Many owners roll out the kids promotion as an immediate fix to low guest counts on a certain day or daypart. Once that fix starts working, the increase in guest counts is like a drug and you want more and more. If it worked for Tuesday, let's also offer it on Thursday. And at some point you've devalued your product in your customer's eyes. Why should I pay $5 for this kids meal today when it's FREE tomorrow? And if you keep the promotion in place for any length of time, your customers grow to expect it. There may be a backlash of angry customers when you decide that it's time to stop offering the promotion.
So should you rollout a Kids Eat FREE promotion? If you do, go into it with a plan. Know what it costs you. Know how much growth you need to offset the food costs. Prepare a marketing plan because you have to tell the world about it, otherwise you're just giving away money to current customers. And make an exit strategy. Offer it for the summer or a certain period of time, to keep customer expectations under control, create some urgency, and keep yourself out of the situation where customers expect to have their Kids Eat Free at your restaurant forever.
Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fresh & Easy getting better and not going away.


Fresh & Easy is owned by Tesco. Tesco is a British company and one of the world’s largest food retailers. Fresh & Easy is not burden with the copy cat mentality that seems to be over flowing in the US foodservice sector. Sure there have been some miss steps early on, but they are learning fast. What the heck, they are trying new things and the American consumer is very forgiving.

With a smaller food-print than most legacy US food retailers l be a long term advantage. What the consumer do not want is more copy cat companies or follow the leader market positioning food companies.

I think that Fresh & Easy with a consumer centric focus will not only do well but very well may lead a blended niche for years to come. Fresh & Easy is helping the Grocerant niche grow both top line sales and bottom line profits.

Fresh & Easy is becoming what Eatzi’s and Boston Market both wanted to become. That is the consumer’s first choice for ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food. The latter two both got stuck in a quagmire of their own creation and lost focus of the customer. The both relented to legacy metrics defined by Wall Street or industry niche and tried please the street with non relevant consumer focused metrics.

Key to the success for Fresh & Easy is packaging size, bundled meal components, ready-to-cook flavored meats, and a blend of quality private label and branded fresh products.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Take-out, Take-away, Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food regional players lead.


Without any doubt grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is driving top line sales growth in the retail food sector. Not entirely unexpected but as with any growing trend regional food retailers continue to garner market share (with but one exception) leading this exciting and growing niche.

From San Juan, PR to Orange County, CA, New York, NY to Seattle, WA retail success can be found in the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food grocerant niche at outstanding regional players. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner success can be found at with the following retailers:

1. Super Max, San Juan

2. Metropolitan Market, Seattle

3. Super King, Orange County

4. Duane Reed, New York

5. Wawa, Philadelphia

6. McDonalds, Chicago Coast to Coast and around the World its “My McDonalds”

7. Trader Joe’s

Super King store director Raffi Karayan describes just some of the prepared food menu:"We have ceviche, we have pico de gallo, tabouleh — the most famous middle eastern vegetarian salad, we got avocado salsa, we’ve got Armenian chicken salad, everything for everybody," Karayan said.

The center of the store is not Dead yet, but is becoming less relevant than ever before. Consumer relevance can be found at McDonalds, with a changing menu and packaged for take-away and Super King where flavor profiles reflect regional demographics with an ever increasing global flavor. Are you ready for a Grocerant Emersion tour?

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Retail food sales success clues.

Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Foodservice Solutions® has documented, followed and even defined the grocerant niche.  It is no wonder the success his grocerant blog has garnered.  It is followed by thousands on LinkedIn daily and thousands more via Facebook. The grocerant niche is booming.  
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 within the C-stores sector of the foodservice industry that it 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.
Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant

Monday, July 25, 2011

Focusing on the Consumer ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food garners market share.

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.
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.  Food success is in the minds-eye of the consumer. 
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! 
Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat mix and match meal components are steps to food retail success.

As long as multi- generational family’s gather for meals together, the demand for more divergent flavors will continue to permeate.  Grocerant style food offerings allow for increased family integration, understanding and acceptance. Food retailers that incorporate flavors of the past and present can win.
Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables places the grocerant niche in the middle of consumer attention.  The food value proposition equilibrium for the consumer today balances; better for you, flavor, and traditional products all blended into something with a twist.
In industry speak, differentiated does not mean different to the consumer it means familiar. That is where the Grocerant niche falls, it is consumer inspired, component driven and flavor familiar.
Creating and bundling distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part in a mix and match meal component format.  Will set the stage for continue sales building success. Outside eyes can bring new light and assist in your pace of concept growth, redevelopment and deployment of new products.  Grocerant specialist can work with you to identify distinctive differentiated food consumables.
Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food retailers utilize sustainability to drive sales.


The new normal in food retailing too garner top line sales and bottom line profits is grocerant niche ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and fresh prepared food. In every sector of growing food retail today can be found Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price bundled into a success formula.

Today the grocerant success formula is a mix and match of meal component opportunity that is very empowering for the consumer. Consumer’s select by meal occasion what “better for you” flavor or attribute they want in a meal component and buy it. It could be line caught Tuna, Organic Green Beans, cooked to order, or green packaging.

Here’s the formula:

Price + Quality + Service + Portability = Value

Incremental Value = Constantly Changing Menu (Seasonally / Sustainability with creditability).

With new non-traditional points of food distribution opening daily the value of consumer choice becomes even more important. The consumer is establishing the definition of “better for you” in food. The consumer is selecting which avenue of distribution they want for the long haul. Remember the formula for retail food success is a mix and match of small portion, fresh products, green packaging all combined create convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization and consumers are responding.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Brand managers of private label food wooing consumers.


Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, H.E.B., and Walmart all have now utilized End Caps to position their own private label products as top of mind in the minds eye 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 private label brand managers creating a halo of quality around each private label product.

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. How well did that work? It’s time to reward those who are garnering customers, while reducing basket size as well. Trader Joe’s private label brands are driving success in sales per square foot now the highest in food retailing.

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, July 15, 2011

Food prepared fresh that is Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat continues too drive customer frequency.


An exclusive article by Don Longo in Convenience Store News magazine reveled” Dining frequency at convenience stores was up 63 percent, from an average of 1.6 times a month to 2.6 times per month, according to the study conducted by AlixPartners, which also included a business review of more than 120 foodservice concepts from QSRs (quick-service restaurants) to fine dining to convenience stores.”

Regular readers of this blog understand that many new viable avenues of fresh and prepared food distribution are increasing the competitive nature of the retail food industry. No one sector has benefited more over the past three years than the Convenience Store sector. Companies the ilk of Sheetz, Wawa, Rutters and QuickChek have outstanding retail food programs. 7 Eleven is expanding its fresh food offerings while increasing their food positioning with new quality fresh food products.

Walgreens entrance in 2011 has been well documented here as well. Without doubt Walgreens will continue its test of fresh food due in large part to the documented success seen in the Convenience Store sector and early results with Duane Reade. The grocerant niche continues to boom all the while legacy grocery stores and legacy QSR’s may be the unsuspecting capitulators of market share.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Restaurateurs the food landscape is changing are you?


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: What is your local grocery store are selling? More important how are you positioning your brand and products? Below are local grocery or C-store offering from around the country.

Goat Cheese Strawberry Salad: spring mix topped with thinly sliced strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.
Cajun Seasoned Potatoes: roasted potatoes topped with Cajun blackening 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

Cauliflower Spinach Gratin
Artichoke & Asiago Croquette
Spaghetti with Seasoned Tomato Sauce
Escarole & Beans
Apple Almond Yam Cakes

Cajun Chicken
Chicken Saute with Artichokes
Mushroom & Asparagus Israeli Couscous
Sage Roasted Turkey Breast
Vegetable Fried Rice
Salmon Nicoise Salad

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One, two, three, how dumb is YUM brands.


No legacy food company is a better example of what happens at the confluence of Brand Protectionism and inflated C-level ego’s than Yum brands. Yum brands at one time was at the center of retail foodservice growth in the US retail food marketplace. Now caught up in a quagmire of their own making in part because it was easy to cherry pick profits from a fast growing Chinese middle class all the while spending 5 million plus franchise dollars per year too promote a single horse race? That’s not chicken; it’s a lot of tacos.

Capitulating market share is nothing new for YUM brands, they have been doing it in the US market for years in each of the three key sectors Pizza, Mexican, and Chicken. (Regular readers of this blog I assure you can name to competitors in each sector that have garnered share from Yum.) While hand held food for immediate consumption continues to garner market share Yum brands continues to capitulate share in each sector they still compete.

Legacy companies that practice brand protectionism simply do not understand or forgot that the consumer is dynamic not static. All food brands must maintain a relevant relationship with the consumer or give ground to competitors. Success in retail food service today can be found in Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price.

Today retail food is a mix and match meal component opportunity that is very empowering for the consumer. Consumer’s select by meal occasion what “better for you” flavor or attribute they want. It can be fresh hamburger, low salt, cooked to order, or green packaging. Don’t discount the value of consumer choice or limit the world of “better for you”. Mix and match of small portion, fresh products, green packaging is making meal time a time of convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization and consumers are responding. Yum must remember its about bundling product not price points. The consumer has moved and Yum must move with them or risk losing additional market share.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

7 Eleven is ready for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner think fresh food.


What Do Consumers Think About Lunch at 7 Eleven?  Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is becoming the fastest growing and most profitable sector in retail foodservice aka the grocerant niche and 7 Eleven is in the expanding with fresh prepared food too drive frequency.

7 Eleven is perfectly situated to capture a large share of the marketplace. 7 Eleven will experience strong sales growth  in 2011as 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.

Consumer are multi-tasking more and more; convenience stores with a plethora of food offerings combined with other services may have an edge moving forward. According to a recent 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.” 7 Eleven is on track to capture share of stomach in fresh prepared food.

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. Keep your eye’s on 2011 growth numbers for 7 Eleven.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Food Oasis a confluence of quality research, sustainability, and the consumer.


Squarely positioned in the heart of the grocerant niche Walgreens continues its consumer focused sales growth and loyalty building initiative from coast to coast with fresh and prepared meal components. Regular readers of this blog understand the huge upside potential the grocerant niche has been delivering in the retail food sector.

Walgreens is one company that has begun testing, expanding and building a sustainable, consumer focused ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food program. That program is building “Food Oasis” currently in urban centers across the country in New York City, Chicago, and now in San Francisco.

Grocerant fresh and fresh prepared food has driven growth during our economic malaise in the retail food sector particularly successful in the convenience store sector. Walgreens is now offering an “assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean protein and other healthy meal components to help address the need for greater access to affordable, nutritious food” at select urban outlets.

While other food retailers scoff at the idea of fresh and prepared food at a retail drug store chain and dismiss the competitive threat. I suggest that they review Walgreens success and legacy with food. At the same time they must remember that any company with sales of $67 billion that operates 7,730 retail stores in all 50 states should be taken seriously. Walgreens is on the right track and will in five years or less be one of the largest retail food outlets in the US. The grocerant niche is booming.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Monday, July 11, 2011

Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of Food Marketing are today’s foundation for successful food sales.


Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing are: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. When grocerant Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food is thrown into the mix consumer frequency and customer loyalty both increase for retailers driving top line sales and bottom line profits.

Simply look at the retail foodservice growth and sales leaders of today. Trader Joe’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, 7 Eleven are all growth leaders. Trader Joe’s leads in sales per square foot at over $1,750 per Sq Ft. Chipotle, Five Guys and 7 Eleven are all growing units and garnering share of stomach from everyone else. All are members of the grocerant niche.

One of the most interesting new developments is bundling of the meal components with a “better for you” focus. It’s a mix and mach game that is very empowering for the consumer. Consumer’s select by meal occasion what “better for you” attribute they want. It can be fresh hamburger, low salt, cooked to order, or green packaging. Don’t discount the vale of consumer choice or limit the world of “better for you”. Mix and match of small portion, fresh products, green packaging is making meal time a time of convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization and consumers are responding.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson

Friday, July 8, 2011

Restaurant sector store count down while Convenience store sales numbers are up.


Location, Location, Location combined with new quality proprietary grocerant niche ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh food is creating consumer food purchase choice rotation in retail foodservice. Consolidation may have been the big event with the convenience store sector last year. However it was driven by the success of new quality fresh and prepared food offerings garnering customer from legacy chain restaurants.

According to a recent study by Mintel a leading market research firm. The firm forecasts foodservice sales in convenience stores will reach $22.8 billion, a 4.1% growth in 2011. While the restaurant sector is forecast to grow at less that 1.5% in 2011 according to Chicago based Technomic.

Driven by innovative new programs aimed at consumers in search of fast service, fresh ingredients and value pricing when choosing a retail food solution; convenience stores are proving up to the challenge of delivery top line growth.

Many legacy restaurant chains rather than innovate are recycling legacy marketing promotions, or simply waiting for the economic cycle to turn. The grocerant niche is expanding points of quality food distribution while elevating fresh food choice for consumers.

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® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Walgreens entering fast casual with “need it now” grocerant focused food.


Excitement, niche expansion, evolving retail foodservice the grocerant niche continues attracting consumers in non-traditional outlets. With a focus on grocerant niche better for you fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food, Walgreens is positioned to capture market share from both the grocery and restaurant sectors.

Walgreens via Duane Reade opened a store at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan that may well prove to be a disruptive new footprint in food retailing. The new store has a “fresh sushi station, The Juice Market, offering fresh made-specialty themed smoothies; a Starbucks coffee and fresh bakery counter; a Coca-Cola “Freestyle” machine dispensing 130 varieties of fountain drinks; and an expanded natural and organic section containing fresh fruits; vegetables, wraps, sandwiches and salads.” O’ya that’s not your average chain drug store. It is the next ideation and a clear step above the 400+ CafĂ© W’s.

Paul Tiberio, senior vice president of merchandising and chief marketing officer for Duane Reade stated “the fresh and healthy food offerings will be unparalleled within the drug store industry…We have positioned 40 Wall Street to best service the ‘need-it-now’ trips of the area’s growing residential and professionals populations, offering an ‘up market’ fresh food proposition and their one-stop shop solution.

Walgreens is not new to retail food. This new grocerant style concept has the ability to work in all major urban area and with a bit of tweaking it may be the template for continued success in the suburbs as well.

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® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

NPD, coffee can tilt the scales in favor of convenience stores if done right.


The confluence of ready-2-eat, heat-N-eat fresh prepared food with a quality coffee program can tilt the consumer frequency scales in favor of convenience stores. NPD’s Convenience Store Monitor recently revealed that “86 percent of coffee purchases are planned.

In fact the report stated that “ The average customer purchase is $6.83. In addition 45% of consumers who purchased coffee between 6 and 10 am included a food item.” Grocerant mix and match bundling products have been leading the retail food service sector in growth for several years.

The reason a strong beverage consumer is so imported was highlighted in the report. “According to the Convenience Store Monitor, dispensed beverage buyers are much different than average c-store customers, who tend to be 18- to 49-year-old males. Dispensed beverage buyers are often female, aged 35 to 64, white collar, Hispanic and from larger households. Those who purchase coffee tend to be 45 to 65 years old, white and blue collar, strong military connection, smaller households and higher income.”

These consumers are migrating to a non-traditional fresh food format and abandoning legacy retail shopping patterns for a more contemporize consumer focused retail foodservice experience. If success leaves clues all food retailers need to pay attention too the quality attributes found within the grocerant 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® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

List Your Restaurant On Google Fast and Free Guest Blog by David Archer


A first page listing on Google search results is the Holy Grail when it comes to search engine marketing. Many companies invest big dollars to appear on the first page by advertising through Google Adwords. For example, to achieve the top ad position when a user searches for “seafood restaurant New York,” the advertiser is paying $2.35 each time someone clicks on their ad. That can become very expensive very fast. Wouldn’t it be better if there was a way to appear on Google for Free? The good news is there is, and Google wants you to do it.

Google Local Business Center is designed as a way for local business owners to provide information about their business, so Google Maps can deliver more relevant findings. But in the Google tradition of ‘more is better,’ it goes far beyond a simple location description. This is an essential online marketing tool that is provided to you for Free!

Beyond listing your business, you can add important restaurant information including your phone number, website, description, category, payment options, business hours and service area. But it doesn’t stop there. You can also add photos and videos, and now they also give you the option to provide both printable and mobile phone coupons. And here’s where it gets really interesting because they provide information on your results – how many viewed your listing, what actions did they take, and where did they come from. And did I mention this doesn’t cost you anything?

Here’s how to take advantage of this great Google resource:

1. Visit http://local.google.com

2. Click on “Put your business on Google Maps”

3. Sign In with your Google account. If you don’t have an account, it’s simple and Free to sign up for one.

4. Click on the “Add New Business” button. The other button is “Upload A Data File” which is a very handy option if you have multiple locations. You can take a spreadsheet of all your locations, and upload them all at once.

5. From there, you start adding your information. It’s as easy as that.

Results appear with the “Local Business Results” map that you often find at the top of a search. Take a few minutes and add your restaurant to Google Local. It’s time well spent.

David can be reached at: http://www.RestaurantMarketingSecrets.net

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® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Increase Restaurant Profits Through Menu Engineering


Guest Blog by David Archer

Let’s go inside your restaurant to examine ways to turbocharge the marketing power of the most important selling tool you have – your menu! This is where the customer decision can be influenced. It’s the last sales opportunity you have before they make their final choice and place their order. As a traffic driver, you’re trying to increase return visits by capturing the hearts and minds of your customers.

Different restaurant concepts have different types of menus. The following menu enhancing ideas can be applied in one way or another to almost any type menu – you’ll have to decide which ideas work best with your concept. The underlying goal is to increase your check average and your margin. To do this, you’ll first need to know what your margins are. If you sell a steak for $15 with a food cost of $8, and you sell a plate of linguine for $12 with a food cost of $4, you’ll want to feature the linguine because when you do the math, you’re putting an extra dollar in the bank every time the customer chooses pasta over steak.

Once you decide what you want to sell, there’s a variety of ways you can guide the customer into making the choices you want them to make…

• List Management – All locations in a list are not created equally. Our eyes naturally look at the top item in a list and the bottom item, often glancing over the middle items in a list. Be sure to put the items you want to sell at the topand the bottom of your lists, and break up long lists into smaller ones so you don’t have so many unseen locations.

• Box Featured Items – An easy way to draw attention to an item in the middle of the list is to draw a box around it. This has the added value of not only drawing attention to that item, but it also creates two lists out of your long list. You now have a “top” and “bottom” location in the list above the box, and a “top” and “bottom” location in the list under the box.

• Picture It – Pictures sell. If you have a quality photo of an item on your menu, it’s a virtual guarantee that the sales of that item will skyrocket.

• Icons – Draw attention to an item with a little graphic. It can say “New” or “We’re Famous 4 It” or just be a tiny version of your logo to signify it’s your specialty. Any of these will make that item stand out from the others and make the readers eye stop on that line.

• Name It – Add some pizzazz to your menu items by naming them. Would you rather order “Oysters” or “Chesapeake Bay Oyster Platter?” By getting descriptive and creative with your names, it will enhance the sales of those items.

• Exclusive Creations – Customers love to order items that they believe are unique to your restaurant, especially if they can’t experience the same thing at other restaurants. If you don’t have something unique, try creating something new that you can claim as your own. Unique creations can command a higher price point, because customers can’t do a price comparison, so don’t be shy when it comes to pricing.

• Emphasis Add-Ons – Are there ways to enhance your normal plates, such as
“add shrimp to your steak for $2,” “Add Blue Cheese crumbles for $1,” or “Add a second vegetable for 99 cents.” These add-ons are incremental sales that do wonders to your check average!

• Create Combos – Have you ever done the math on the combo meals at quick service restaurants? They usually have little if any discount to the price, yet they make it much easier for the customers to say “yes” to adding a drink and chips to their meal. Look for ways you can create a combo to increase your sales.

• Feature other Courses – Encourage your customers to order appetizers and desserts. Beverage sales are another add-on that increases profits. Feature these items in your menu, or make a separate menu that focuses on selling these items.

• Price Increase – It may be the most obvious way to increase income, although you always walk a fine line between an increase in income and a potential loss of customers. You can accomplish a hidden price increase by adjusting the items you offer on your menu. If you add some NEW interesting items that
are higher priced and get the customers to buy them, you essentially have a price increase. To take this one step further, you could also delete some lower priced items, however you probably don’t want to take off popular items or you will have unhappy customers. If a low-priced item is too popular, try reintroducing your “New and Improved” version that has something added to it, which can justify a price increase.

And that wraps up a good list on ways to enhance your income by focusing on your
menu. Print this out and put it in a file so you can be reminded to look at your menu every few months, to determine if you have new opportunities to increase sales through menu engineering.


David can be reached at: http://www.RestaurantMarketingSecrets.net

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® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven

Friday, July 1, 2011

To Coupon, Groupon or Poupon Your Restaurant Marketing


Guest blog by David Archer

It’s one of the biggest decisions you have to make when planning your restaurant marketing, and with today’s weak economy the pressure is greater than ever to coupon as a way to drive guest traffic. But is that the right decision? There are a few key questions you need to ask before jumping onto the coupon bandwagon.

Do I Want To Cheapen My Brand Image?

Remember the old mustard commercial where the Rolls Royce pulls up, the passenger rolls down the window and asks, “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” That’s a classic example of a product that built a brand image of being a higher-class, premium product worth paying a little more for. When customers perceive a product as a premium product, you cheapen the value in their minds when you start couponing and reducing the price of the product. Take that to the extreme and you end up in the pizza category, where couponing reaches as high as 70% of transactions, and customers feel like suckers if they actually buy the pizza at menu price. So is your restaurant a Grey Poupon Restaurant, or are you a generic mustard restaurant?

Can I Afford To Coupon?

The sharply-dressed sales reps will come in and talk a great story with you, telling you how advertising with them is an investment and the restaurant will be full and there will be a line out the front door if you put coupons in their publication or on their website. Funny thing is if you ask them to guarantee the results or you pay nothing, they won’t be willing to take that bet because they want to make their money. But before you commit, you need to do your marketing math to see if there’s any way that you will also make money.

Example 1: Buy One Get One Free – To make the math easy, let’s say you sell your plate for $10 and have a 30% food cost, so for each plate it costs you $3 dollars. For the BOGO Coupon, you receive $10 for the “Buy One,’ and you have $3 x 2 = $6 in food costs for the two plates. So you’ve cleared $4 dollars. Those 4 dollars have to cover the advertising costs it took to print and distribute the coupons, plus rent, labor, and all your other fixed expenses. If you figure it was an incremental sale that you wouldn’t have had otherwise and all the other expenses are fixed that you already would have paid, then you probably did alright especially if you were able to add on some beverage and dessert sales.

Example 2: GROUPON 50% OFF – This new popular traffic driver comes in many different forms… Groupon, Living Social, Radio Stations’ Half Price Fridays, and now Google and others are jumping on the bandwagon. But beware, 50% Off may sound the same as Buy One Get One Free, but in these deals it’s a far different animal. For many of these, the consumer buys your Gift Certificate for half price, so a $10 Gift Card is sold to them for $5 dollars. Now you have to split that $5 with Groupon or the other media outlet. So you receive $2.50, and your food cost is $3.00. No matter how many guests the promotion drives, you are losing money. The more successful the promotion is, the more money you will lose.

How Will I Get The Coupons Distributed?

There are endless ways to distribute your coupons. From free-standing newspaper inserts in the Sunday paper to direct mailers, local coupon clippers, nickel ad papers, and a wide variety of mom and pop coupon mailers, you have options. Add in the internet and all the coupon sites, there’s no shortage of outlets for your coupons. You also can distribute them in your restaurant but this needs to be done strategically. Use them as bounce backs that are good on their next visit. The absolutely worst way to coupon is to place a stack of coupons by your register. Every customer will use a coupon at that point, and you are just giving away money.

If I Start, Can I Ever Stop Couponing?

That question can only be answered by you. For many, coupons are like a drug. They distribute the coupons, see the spike in guest traffic, then want to see that again next month. If you judge success on year to year comparisons, you had that traffic spike last year so you want it again this year to match last year’s results. But the real test should be whether those guests are making you any additional profit.

The reality is that most coupon customers are not loyal. If they don’t have a coupon they probably won’t come back in for another visit, so they have to be profitable on their coupon visit. Know your numbers, do your coupon math, and you’ll be able to judge whether you should continue couponing or not.

David can be reached at: http://www.RestaurantMarketingSecrets.net

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® Bing or Google Grocerants or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven