Monday, April 30, 2012

Darden Restaurants umbrella of growth is shining bright.



Joe Lee knew he could grow Red Lobster into a retail food success story. However what an outstanding job he did creating a culture of evolution focused on daily quality execution.  All the while building a overarching strategy of moving the business forward with the consumer.  If success leaves clues over the course of the past year Darden’s growth pattern has been established.

With a new global vision well in hand Darden is positioning to remain an industry leader not only within the United Sates but around the world. Equipped with a plethora of viable concepts under its umbrella Darden began growing via area development agreements.  With new agreements in place and new operating partners opening or running restaurants in Dubai, Mexico, Puerto Rico.  Can Asia, Europe and the rest of the Middle East is far behind?

Understanding you can’t continue to open restaurants without high quality sustainable food.  Darden is constructing the world’s first Lobster Farm in Malaysia providing products for its mainstay brand Red Lobster while empowering continued global growth.  Combine that with new opportunities with companies the ilk of Blue Ocean and Darden’s supply chain is fast becoming sustainable.  Retail food operators are adopting this new farm to fork supply chain positioning around the globe, evolving once more.

Most important to my clients and for regular readers of this blog is Darden’s growing understanding of the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food marketplace.  Many of Darden’s concepts provide Take-Out placing the chain in the middle of the growing grocerant niche.  When they announced last week that Sam’s Club would be the exclusive seller of Darden’s new ready-2-eat retail salad dressing, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, it was clear the $300 million invested in sustainable crustacean farming would also provide a competitive advantage within the seafood heat-N-eat retail marketplace.  

Darden’s strategy is evolving with the retail marketplace, domestic foundational ownership, global franchising and retail dominance.  Success does leave clues Darden has pick up many and is positioning for many more years of success.  Darden understands the consumer is dynamic not static and is moving in step with the global consumer of today and tomorrow. Darden’s umbrella of success is bright.  Is yours?

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Malaysia Grocerant Development Well Underway.



Malaysia’s Jaya Grocer currently in the Empire Shopping Gallery has focused on ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food.  They are transforming grocery shopping; blending a dining and shopping experience. Here is how it has been describe in Malaysia.“THE next time you head for Jaya Grocer to get your fresh cut of steak or seafood, you might not land up taking it out in a bag with you. Instead, you are probably going to enjoy tucking into the steak or fish, the way you like it prepared, sitting down in the middle of the supermarket. This is Jaya Grocer’s newly introduced “grocerant “at its Empire Shopping Gallery outlet – a one-stop shopping and dining experience within a supermarket. Shoppers can walk in, choose their choices of meat or seafood from the butchery or seafood counters, head to the El Fresco cashier to pay for it and specify their choice of how they want it cooked.

El Fresco – The Italiano Café Authentic Italian cuisine is served here.  Situated right in the middle of Jaya Grocer, El Fresco is the heart beat of the dining experience offered when shoppers step in. According to its manager Azhar Khairuddin, freshness of ingredients is the strength of Italian cooking. Being in a grocery store, freshness becomes a no issue. “Diners can choose fish, meat or vegetables from the grocery and we cook it for them according to their choice.”  “We offer mid-range pricing but fine dining experience, not compromising on our presentation or quality of food,” he said. El Fresco offers a wide variety in their menu, ranging from starters to desserts with a big emphasis on pasta and pizza.”

Enough, sounds like any contemporized US Whole Foods or Central Market. The world is getting smaller people around the globe are repositioning the concept of food and traditional avenues of distribution.  If you are a food retailer and you think you can do what you have done for the past 20 years, well you can’t!  You just might end up looking like A & P who could end up being bought by Jaya Grocer of Malaysia!  Have your called Foodservice Solutions? Are you ready for a grocerant program assessment or grocerant brand positioning plan?

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Restaurant consumer discontinuity creates opportunity.



Here is a look at this week’s food related new and our view of the opportunity to be garnered from it. We learned that ninety-two percent of U.S. energy drinkers vist quick-service restaurants.  The research stated 81% of those consumers would be likely to buy energy drinks in a quick service restaurant. We learned that it’s time to reposition beverage to include bottle, cans and supplements.

Then we heard approximately 9% of generation X adults strongly are strongly committed to buying organic foods whenever possible, while 39% say they buy organic on occasion. Are you offering organic food, if so, is it positioned as “better for you” product?

Nearly 36% of Danish consumers are prepared to pay more in taxes in return for policies to promote consumption of healthier food.  They pay some of the highest taxes now. Opportunity “better for you” might be better for business.

Then Technomic found 58% of U.S. consumers have at least one food-related application on their mobile device.   If it is not your app wow there is an opportunity.  Banner ads are dead; mobile is in and will continue to grow.

Evolving flavor profiles create new menu opportunity.  A new study found U.S. foodies significantly more likely to choose menu items with bitter, sour and umami flavors, yet general consumer say sweet is their personal taste preference. Keep sweet up front but add a little bitter.

I think we learned that 18-34 year olds don’t understand the implication of double dipping. In one study we learned 67% of Americans restaurant patrons age 18-34 say it’s OK to double dip, while only 28% of those ages 55 and older say it is acceptable. That study came from TGI Friday’s by the way.   Am I wrong or just too old?

There just might be an opportunity in food safety education and your customers.  When 57% of Canadians have no idea what food irradiation is and 38% have not heard of it and 5% are not sure what it is.  But when informed 66% strongly favor practice one being told the definition.    Allow your food safety to guide and reassure consumers.

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Friday, April 27, 2012

Carrefour should use Safeway for its entrance into North America.



Around the world when you’re ready-2-eat millions of people turn to Carrefour every week. North America is the one key spot that Carrefour has yet to enter and Safeway just might be the vehicle needed for Carrefour to move into the profitable US and Canadian marketplace.

Headquartered in Paris, France Carrefour is one of the best in class with fresh ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food companies.  Carrefour has successful experience with and aging population, demographic changes and evolving ethnic food offerings that could be leveraged to lift Safeway from its current doldrums.

Safeway headquartered on the west coast of the United States continues to utilizing legacy category management techniques that while once viable simply don’t reflect the evolving food retail environment. That category focus is but one reason that they were unable to compete successfully in the US, east coast marketplace and are now selling or closing locations.  Carrefour has the ability to leverage its global success with ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food if they buy Safeway and would have plenty of room for additional growth.  Carrefour understands the grocerant niche and can be successful in the United States. 


This blog is supported by ads.  Please view them.


Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Starbucks: restaurateur, food manufacturer, retailer simply evolving with retail food success.





The grocerant niche filled with ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food has no better example of success than Starbucks.  The retail food world is evolving at a faster rate than ever before and many legacy brands simply have not kept up.  To many legacy chain restaurants and retailers practice brand protectionism rather than evolve with the consumer.  The retail food consumer is dynamic not static.  Here are some ways that Starbucks has evolved with the consumer.

Entered Single cup coffee selling 100+ million K-cups in non-traditional points of distribution.
Entered Fresh Juice market with Evolution Fresh non-traditional product sold in multiple retail channels.
Expanded Organic with  Galápagos San Cristóbal coffee Non-traditional and exclusive.
Entered instant coffee world with VIA® Ready Brew Non-traditional sold in multiple retail channels.
Exclusive provider of coffee for Alaska Air lines
Exclusive new restaurants located within Disney World

Starbucks founded in Seattle, Washington operates more coffee focused restaurants than anyone in the world has not limited itself to the restaurant world.  Starbucks focus in on the evolving consumer.  With the dynamic growth of the middle class in China, this year Starbucks will open more than one store every four days in China while simultaneously expanding VIA in all food retail channels in Asia. Starbucks with
industry leading products, positioning and ever evolving cross channel business success is a perfect example of success within the grocerant niche.  What are you doing with your food products, food brand or chain restaurant? Contact Foodservice Solutions if you would like to unlock your potential within retail food.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Drive Thru Food, Packaging the Experience.



Taco Bells success with its new Doritos Tacos placed the focus clearly on product.  Taco Bell quickly realized an unintended consequence of a single new product success created disequilibrium within the 5 P’s of Food Marketing 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price, specifically packaging.  What do you think they should consider for new packaging?

Since they are under the Yum Brand umbrella do you think that they considered a bucket, a box or car cup holder cardboard trays? Our research shows that there is a universal commonality among consumers of all ages.  When it comes to Drive Thru Food Packaging, less packaging is “better for you”. While brand marketers love placing brand logo’s on buckets, boxes, cups and wraps.  Consumers have grown tired of the excessive packaging on Take Away food and view it as non-environmentally friendly. Consider Papa Murphy’s Take-N-Bake pizza consumers rave on the simplicity of the package.  No Box, No Bucket and No logo on the packaging itself. 

Regular readers of this blog know that our recommendations include packaging the drive thru itself with visceral digital graphics. Restaurateurs should be adding mobile messaging, order conformation, payment and voice access via smartphone or phone while in the drive thru. Follow Wienerschnitzel’s lead and have a drive thru access door for personalized service while speeding up service during rush hour with hand held ordering device for exterior use.  Most important have fewer boxes, buckets and wraps.  Drive thru packaging success can be found in visceral digital presentations.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caffeine for the captive, Disney moves forward.



Traditional food retailers can edify consumers while building brand value together. An intriguing new relationship was born that will edify two of America’s best known brands Starbucks and Disney. Long faulted for limiting choice of food offerings within its theme parks and practicing food brand protectionism, Disney has shifted gears.

These two global brands both with outstanding leaders within the fresh and prepared ready-2-eat grocerant niche announced an alliance that I am sure over time will reach around the globe. This is another key turning point in the growth of the grocerant niche. This is an example where two very strong global brands create synergy to meet or exceed consumer demand without diminishing individual brand value.

My friend and founder CEO of Technomic may have said it best. "I don't expect to see Mickey drinking coffee any time soon,"….. "But from a marketing perspective, you have two iconic brands coming together, which has to be a positive."  From my perspective Starbucks belongs on Main Street USA.

Hand held food for immediate consumption have been a mainstay on Main Street US.  The new branded Starbucks offerings will complement and enrich the consumer experience for both brands.  Where does your brand belong?  Do you need positioning, placement or brand building ideations?

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Monday, April 23, 2012

Non-Traditional Food Retailers are selling Ready-2-Eat food and lots of it.



Ikea's  a Swedish home furniture retailer is selling  Swedish ready-2-eat meatballs and smoked salmon at its cafeteria, as well as hot dogs and frozen yogurt at its to-go food counter at the European flavors add a level of mystique and foodie adventurism.

Looking for a fresh prepared frozen yogurt, try Costco.  You can get yogurt in chocolate, vanilla or a swirled combo with both chocolate and vanilla at Costco.  Fresh prepared Pizza whole or by the slice and Costco’s famed ready-2-eat Chicken Bake garner loyal customers with prices that drive local QSR’s to wonder how they do it?

Volume speaks success and Costco's director of operations for the food court and bakery, Bob Collins recently stated “the company expects to sell more than 300 million hot dogs, pizzas, and other items at its food courts this year. Despite the low prices, it sees a "modest profit" from food court sales.”

Non-traditional retailers are finding success selling ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food all contributing to the success of the booming grocerant niche. Is your product or brand ready for a non-traditional outlet? 

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 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Food Price Clarity Drives Sales



Phoenix Marketing International recently tested eight television ads for national restaurant brands such as Wendy's, Subway, Burger King, KFC, and Arby's. Here is some of what the found, “Top ranked spots included Wendy's "$0.99 value menu," Subway's "$3 flatbread" and Subway's "$5 footlong" ads, all with scores significantly higher than Phoenix's QSR advertising norms.”…

In addition to strong creative, what differentiates these top ads from the rest is their ability to weave in a value message with appetizing food items and a positive dining experience. If executed correctly, value messaging can work even with higher price points: KFC's "$11 bucket" spot came in a close fourth despite its relatively higher price. In contrast, most of the ads without price points proved to be weaker performers, even if they showcased premium, appealing food items and conveyed a pleasant dining experience.”

In addition Phoenix's AdPi® Express found “demographic differences in response to these value ads: women responded better to advertising featuring healthier menu choices such as Subway's "$3 flatbread" and family items such as KFC's "$11 bucket," while men tended to favor hearty and super value choices such as Subway's "$5 footlong" or Wendy's "$0.99 value menu." …Wendy's "Where's the Beef" ad excelled with a strong nostalgic appeal among consumers over 35 who rated it highly in terms of food portrayal and dining experience. Despite this, it lacked a price point and missed the opportunity to be a top performer.”  You can register to get a sample report at: www.phoenixmi.com/adpiexpress/

Integrating Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of Food Marketing; Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability, and Price are steps to retail foodservice success.

If you are interested in learning how the 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization contact us via this blog or Email at: grocerant@q.com

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Within retail foodservice differentiation does not mean different it means familiar, but with a twist.



Fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food is empowering, sales, customers and success in every sector of retail including non-traditional food companies the ilk of: Walgreens, Rite Aid, Sears, Target, Amazon, 7 Eleven and Walgreens.
This blog focus is on the grocerant ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food sectors of the foodservice industry.  The ability to bundle Mix and Match meal components for a meal is empowering consumer choice.  In addition the focus is on the role of food products within the mix and match component set.
Fresh prepared, ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food is driving sales and profits in the restaurant, grocery and convenience store sectors. Most interesting is the strength of motivation and empowerment that customer are developing for this sector. 
Sheetz a leading Northeast convenience store company has had lots of success with it’s “Made To Order—MTO” sandwich program. So much so that now their customers are producing videos and posting them on YOU Tube.  I have posted the link here or visit: Sheetz MTO video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orlFI7SbS8A.
The Grocerant niche is about convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization.  Success does leave clues and many retail food operators are now adopting Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. Join me here on my blog for insights, information on today’s foodservice.
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, April 20, 2012

Burger King must abandon brand protectionism, innovate not copy for growth.



Burger King’s food trucks elevate menu while creating much needed buzz sort of. U.S. restaurant industry same-store sales fell 0.2% in March, with guest traffic down 3.4%, partly due to rise in gas prices, according to new report by Black Box Intelligence. Wally Doolin Black Box Intelligence founder said, “The results for March were disappointing following 6 straight months of positive comparable sales growth”.

Burger King feeling the sales pinch as well is continuing to reach out to consumer trying to make up for ground lost to Wendy’s, Smashburger and Five Guy’s.  With a new copy-cat menu in hand Burger King is deploying 30 Burger King food trucks to 40 different U.S. cities in an effort to build consumer interest and media BUZZ.  Looks as if they are off to a good start, I’m talking about it.  But is that enough?  No.

With the $275,000 per store proposed remodel still pending franchise approval. The question is what sort of rebranded messaging can a legacy brand get for that amount?  Copy-cat menu items, a new paint job are not enough to revitalize a legacy brand.  Burger King must abandon brand protectionism, innovate not copy menu ideations in order to elevate the brand stimulate the consumer.  Want buzz look outside of the box.

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, April 19, 2012

Safeway might be for sale and Fresh & Easy might be closed by dropped by Tesco.



Unable to achieve the scale they needed for profitability within a reasoned time frame and under pressure at home.  Tesco has been asked over and over again what are they going to do with the “American experiment?  Tesco continues to insist that repositioning to a smaller footprint while closing miss placed units with wrong components is the answer.  Why not convert them to Wawa’s? Wawa works!

We think they might consider selling the lot too well funded German owned Trader Joe’s might be one of the best solutions.  Another might be leasing all the units to Eatzi’s!  Americans love Eatzi’s food offerings, package sizing and mix and match meal components. Eatzi’s is America’s first Grocerant and positioned for growth.  Phil Romano has done and can do what the Tesco team could not, sell food.  By the way we can help too!  Do you think that Walgreens should buy Fresh & Easy? Look at the success Walgreens is having in Fresh food that is ready-2-eat in NYC, Chicago and Boston.

Bloomberg reports that Safeway stores are an idea candidate for a takeover.  Clearly Safeway is burden with legacy grocery store processes and management mentality from 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s that they simply refuse to let go of.  I will give Safeway some credit, they understand that the customer is dynamic not static.  Yet when remodeling units into “lifestyle” stores they expanded floor space and what consumer wanted was a smaller footprint, fast in-out, with ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food (legacy mentality).

Success does leave clues and legacy food retailing is in flux.  Dollar stores are cherry picking all legacy food retailers while entering the fresh food niche. Walgreens is finding success in fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food in urban locations.  The grocerant niche is booming garnering share of stomach.


This blog is supported by ads.  Please view them.


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, April 18, 2012

Eatzi’s Market & Bakery the first US Grocerant is back in growth mode.



Foodservice Solutions® grocerant guru coined the phrase grocerant back in 1997 to describe Phil Romano’s Dallas based Eatzi’s Market & Bakery. Romano an industry icon understood the drive for consumer choice, customization and mix and match meal bundling long before anypne else. Phil was not early too the grocerant niche.  The rest of the retail food industry was simply late to the party.

Today Walgreens is leveraging the grocerant niche for fresh food success in New York City, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.  Success does leave clues Phil Romano has left many clues and consultants like me have made a very good living picking them up while utilizing them to edify the industry and delight consumers.

Many companies stumble, Eatzi’s did as well, but the core of the concept never wavered nor did consumers.  Whole Foods, Central Market, Wegmans, and foodies from around the world have visited Eatzi’s looking for clues.  You can see success attributes of Eatzi’s at many concepts around the US today (your welcome).  Can you tell I am please at this new wave of success?  Of course you can.  I am, and our industry should be as well. Retail foodservice is booming within the grocerant niche. 

Wawa, Sheetz, 7 Eleven have or are entering the grocerant niche serving fresh prepared food that is “better for you”. Some day we might even see the end of the roller grill.  There is no roller grill at Eatzi’s and you know it as soon as you walk in.  The sights, sounds and scents of food and retail success abound.  The grocerant niche is larger now than Eatzi’s but you never forget the first grocerant.

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, April 17, 2012

10 Food Branding Clues from The Grocerant Guru for your marketing tool kit.

The value of a product or brand at times diminishes in consumer relevance. The vernacular of the consumer is ever evolving and the vernacular of your brand must as well. Foodservice Solutions® understands that the consumer is dynamic not static. Here are 10 clues to keep your brand dynamic:

1. 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.

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

3. 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.

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

5. 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.

6. 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.

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

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

9. 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.

10. 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.


This blog is supported by ads.  Please view them.


Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Monday, April 16, 2012

Do consumers want Take Away and Fast Food On-Line?

They do in the United Kingdom. Look at the positioning success of Just-eat.co.uk has found by offering ready-2-eat fresh prepared and fast food options. Just-Eat.co.uk has found a way to offer local fresh prepared ready-2-eat food for consumer that is familiar / local and delivered to your door.

They do in Seattle at Seattle.Eat24hours.com from Belltown to Madrona and Northgate to Capital Hill neighborhoods reay-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food is focused on home and office.

They do in Houston, Texas you can order on line at Yapa fresh Kitchen Take Away via yapakitchen.net

They do in Australia at menulog.com.au with over 1.5 million meals delivered from 1,300 different vendors.

They do in Ireland via letseatin.com is Dublin's international cuisine delivery service. From Italian pasta and pizza to Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Thai and European food, Let's Eat In will cook and deliver delicious, beautifully prepared meals from around the world straight to your door. More than a take away or take home restaurant, Let's Eat In is a premier kitchen and home delivery service you will want to use again and again.

Ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food is in demand around the globe. The grocerant niche continues redefining fresh food options while expanding points of distribution. Is your food packaged, positioned to 2020 or 2002?

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Instagram elevating and educating Foodies. How does your food look today?







Instagram is changing the way you do business today and next week. Are you prepared? Do you understand how to leverage your 4 walls for success? Instagram can help edify your brand. Foodservice Solutions® understands the power of social media.


Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy. Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fresh and prepared food leverages “better for you” too drive grocery sales.


Food manufactures continue to find success with ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat prepared food. The grocerant niche driven by cultural trends; particularly meal assembly rather than cooking from scratch. Has turned it focus on better for you products


Food Marketing Institute (FMI) U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report found consumers “choose to save money by eating at home but they also believe, overwhelmingly, that the food they eat at home is healthier than eating away from home. It is clear supermarkets are positioned to help their customers save money and help them make healthier choices when it comes to food.”

The mix and match meal components options allow the family to customize a home prepared meal. This may drive the “check average / basket size” down but it increased frequency. The FMI report states that “weekly trips to the grocery store, which continues an upward trend averaging 2.06 visits per week”. There was a decrease in “primary store trips, but that may be a outdated legacy metric’ focused more on Wall Street than the consumer.

While it has been documented that the last couple of years consumer were eating at restaurants less. Restaurateurs have lowered prices, introduced new menu items and sales are trending up. There has been but one winner here and it is 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 Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Friday, April 13, 2012

Burger King the Big Sell Off or Three Success Clues what do you think?


Can you paint the inside and out side of a Burger King and do any interior remodel for $275,000 and have the consumer notice the difference? NO, is the answer. Remodel a legacy unit built 20 years ago for $275.000 and does any industy expert think that will garner a single new customer?

With digtal viseral sinage evelating brand messaging today particulary in ready-2-eat retail space what in the world was Bill Ackman’s team thinking. Here is some free advice, don’t waste the $275.000 per store Bill save your money. Focus on the menu, quit follwing and start leading copy-cat menu items do not garner consumers attention.

If Ackman’s team proceeds with it’s plan to sell off 900+ company owned units what’s left to sell when he leaves? With per unit sales of Burger King 57% less than McDonalds, 17% less than Wendy’s is Mr. Ackmans team simply selling real estate locations? Who will be the buyers? Smashburger, Five Guys Burgers and Fries or Starbucks? At what price will they sell 5 x earnings, don’t think so; 0.75 % of sales? With average unit volumes at $1.25 million even at 1 to 1 Ackman can not even get his investment back. Bill retail foodservice success does leave clues and clue number one is build unit volume. Here is how utilize 5 P’s of Food Marketing.

Tacoma, Washington based Foodservice Solutions® has been gathering retail food success clues. Within the clues they discovered some universal commonalities from those commonalities they developed: The 5’P’s of Food Marketing:

1. Product

2. Packaging

3. Placement

4. Portability

5. Price

Creating or identifying distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part utilizing the 5 P’s of food marketing works better than copy-cat menu items that’s clue number one.

Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables places is clue number two.

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 clue three.

The 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization. Remember Have it your way!

OK time to vote: $275.000 remodel or New Menu items as entity with identity? Email: grocerant@q.com

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing in Food: CUSTOMIZED MEAL KITS.

Do you have time starved friends that can’t cook?  Heck can you cook all of the multi-ethnic foods your family has become a custom too? A reason that the grocerant niche filled with ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food niche is booming is consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization.  Meal Kits are becoming all of that in both new and traditional points of distribution.

Papa Murphy’s has a new “Mini Murph Make “N” bake pizza kit” that is consumer interactive and participatory for kids.  What you have to like about it is an incremental sale.  Complemented with mix and match bundling a staple of grocerant offerings this make N bake kit is menu magic.  The “Mini Murph” is an item that will again drive top line growth and bottom line profits for Papa Murphy’s.  In the pizza sector success does leave clues.

In the non-traditional avenue of distribution the focus is on Grubkit.com (OK maybe only I consider online meals non-traditional). You can order authentic pad Thai noodles kit, healthy banana muffins, or coconut shrimp curry to list but a few items.  Here is how it works, Grub kit will do the prep work prepare recipe all dry ingredients, you provide a couple of spec fresh items and the have fun cooking.  Special orders no problem.  Again consumer focused convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization, that is another retail foodservice success clue.  Here is some fun for all…..

Grubkits.com with its new GrubKits, prepackaged recipes in a box, has teamed up with The Daily Meal for a Design Your Own GrubKit contest.  Now that’s taking it to the next level. Here are the rules from The Daily Meal, “Here is how you need to design a GrubKit:

• Each dish consists of two components: Dry or non-perishable ingredients, and fresh ingredients.

• Kits should mostly contain non-perishable ingredients, and only up to two liquid ingredients.

• Kits should have 10 ingredients or less, depending on the size of each item.

• Recipes should only require two to five fresh ingredients, which should be easy to find (no fresh curry leaves or anything like that).

To enter the contest, and for your chance to win, you must submit ideas to Thedailymeal.com  and you must have an Email address so they can contact you if you win.

And even if your kit isn't selected, 15 randomly selected participants will get their hands on a Pad Thai Noodles Kit, with pre-measured ingredients and a recipe card to make pad Thai at home (worth $21.95).

Are you ready to step up your retail food game?  Have you entered the grocerant niche yet?

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hand Held Food for Immediate Consumption garners market share.

In 1975, full-service chain and independent restaurants had nearly 60 percent of the restaurant industry market, while QSRs (including fast-casual concepts, pizza chains, drink and snack concepts) had only 35 percent. GE Capital’s annual Chain Restaurant Industry Review found last year, sales at full-service restaurants totaled $195.7 billion while QSRs generated $195.1 billion I call that equal in terms of market share. When you add in the 10.7% growth of retail fresh prepared food at C-stores and a total Technomic estimates at roughly 11 billion, clearly full-service restaurants continue to be out of favor.

With QSRs surpassing Full-Service Restaurants in both numbers and sales one needs to ask if the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat growth is leveling the playing field or simply expanding points of retail fresh food distribution. Are Americans all time starved, lazy or simply have they moved on from the day to day drudgery of cooking, planning meals and cleaning up?

When looking at many of the nation's fastest growing chains, including Chipotle, Five Guys, Starbucks, Jimmie John's, Subway, 7 Eleven, Firehouse Subs, Panera Bread and others. Wingstop just reported 10.5 percent same-store sales growth, and its unit count is exploding. Wisconsin-based burger and frozen custard chain Culver's just had the best quarter in its history, 16-percent same-store sales growth. It's adding units too it is clear hand held food for immediate consumption is a long term trend.  7 Eleven is opening a new store (all with fresh food) every 2 hour in 2012 somewhere in the world.

Clearly full service restaurants are not going away but with the growth of fresh prepared food growing at C-stores, within grocery store deli’s and retail chain drug stores.  Each sector providing high quality fresh prepared food with full flavor profiles that reflect the region full service restaurant market share may continue to decline for some time.

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mobile Food Marketing is growing fast. Is your food photo ready?

Facebook spent a billion dollars yesterday for a mobile photo company.  Within the grocerant niche of fresh prepared ready-2-eat and  heat-N-eat fresh prepared  food we see that Mobile Marketing can make a difference.  Dean Steinman CEO of TheMobileXperience.com has convinced me that, Mobile Marketing is not the future; it is the present. It’s here now, and it’s not going away. Here is how he started with me.
“Text Messages Demand Attention
Please answer this question: “If you get 50 texts, how many do you look at?” I’m guessing almost everyone answered the same way, “Every One.” Imagine: A marketing message almost guaranteed to be seen by everyone who gets it . Which is why Mobile marketing is poised to bring results that can dwarf other channels, times they have changed.
Email Received by Mobile Has Better Odds, Too
Do you get your emails on your cell phone? If so, chances are you will not look at those emails again when you get to your computer. Which means that, increasingly, marketers have one chance of getting the person who opens a Mobile email to take a call to action.
Every Email Needs Its Mobile Counterpart
If you are asking a message recipient to buy something, register for something, see a video, or get more information, that email must be Mobile ready. Unfortunately more than 90 percent of websites are not Mobile ready. So if you are having the end user click to your site from that email, you must now make sure they can get the same experience on their phone as they can from their computer.
Mobile Marketing Is Fresh
Are you getting lower and lower results from your email and direct mail campaigns? The reason probably is that you are reaching the same person over and over again, using the same methods. Now you can implement a Mobile component in your next campaign.
Instagram sold for 1 Billion dollars yesterday to Facebook.  Instagram allows users to upload photo’s to multiple site at one time.  Never has it been as important to have a clean, friendly well groomed operation.  More important is how your food looks!  It had better look great every time.
Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Monday, April 9, 2012

Food retailing evolving at break neck speed, are you keeping up?



Ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food that can be portable is now being sold at traditional restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores and dollar stores. Blend in these new avenues food of distribution, with traditional products packaged with a “twist” and witness sales success.

Baby boomers continue to drive sales of new grocerant ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food product growth, demographic shifts particularly empty nesters living longer and living is smaller family units than ever before will continue to drive this change for years to come. Retailers must understand and focus on the fact that 50% of US adults over the age of 18 are single.
Richard Cope was quoted saying “as people are working longer into retirement, there is a greater need for products geared towards vitality and health in a more senior workforce. “At the moment energy drinks, foods and snacks are marketed towards the youth market,” he said, “but they will become more about getting people through the day at an older age.”

We are entering a new era in food retailing; it is bringing new products and new avenues of distribution.  Men are increasingly shopping for the family looking at products for the first time or for new products that either caters to traditional male preferences or new family focused products.  Cope wonders “While retailers may presume they are pitching to women shopping for families, Cope questions whether there is a need for more masculine takes on health and value.  Consumers are evolving and the grocerant niche is leading the pack within retail foodservice space.
Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Sunday, April 8, 2012

5 P’s of Food Marketing our gift to you on Easter from Foodservice Solutions®.


Tacoma, Washington based Foodservice Solutions® has been gathering retail food success clues.  Within the clues they discovered some universal commonalities from those commonalities they developed: The 5’P’s of Food Marketing:

1.       Product

2.       Packaging

3.       Placement

4.       Portability

5.       Price

If you are interested in learning how the 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization contact us via this blog or Email at: grocerant@q.com

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Want Retail Food Sales Success? Here are six clues to get on track.

The convergence of non-traditional points of distribution, an evolving grocery fresh prepared sector and lingering economic conditions have created the perfect opportunity for retail food brand expansion. The key to that success can be found under the ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat retail food umbrella?

Companies need to develop a platform that allows consumer focused meal co-creation; in the car, at the office or at home, are winning the hearts and minds of today’s retail food consumer.  The grocerant niche comprised of the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food is driving the success of the retail foodservice today building top line revenue and bottom line profits.

Each sector has innovators; Restaurants started with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, Domino’s Pizza, MCD, BK and a whole lot more! Grocery started with Wegmans Metropolitan Market, Whole Food and now fast charging Safeway and the “lifestyle stores.  Convenience Stores have Sheetz, Wawa, with fast charging Casey’s General stores and a sleeping giant 7 Eleven is opening a new store every 2 hours somewhere on the world in 2012.  The six clues are all consumer interactive and participatory.  Here they are:

1.       Visceral presentation, Freshness based on how it looks and is presented.

2.       Bundling, the ability to build your meal with components family member will eat.

3.       Individualized portions, power to select quality and quantity of items viewed.

4.       Convenience, unit /store location on the drive home from work.

5.       Time Saving, ability to evaluate price vs. time to cook from scratch.

6.       Portability, empowering choice eat in or take home / office

Success does leave clues and many retail food operators are now adopting Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. Are you ready to extend your brand?  Are you looking for successful positioning assistance?

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant