Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pick-Up, Take-Out Delivery Fresh Prepared Food is a Driver of Success.



Ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared take-out, delivery or take-A-way food continues to drive top line growth and bottom line profits in retail foodservice today. Creating or identifying distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part that are portable is a key driver of that success.

Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables allows companies to identify, quantify and qualify new regional products that become successful.

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.

Cultivating a brand is more important that managing a brand. Brands are dynamic not static, they develop and grow with/for your clients and the consumer.  Identifying distinctive differentiated programs, positioning and consumable’s by day part that reflect the brand, industry trends, consumer preferences is an area of the grocerant niche that Foodservice Solutions particularly excels.

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization contact us via Email us at: grocerant@q.com or visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Consumers Increasingly Find Value in Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Food.



There is an underlining change in how consumers see value in ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared grocerant food from Grocery Stores, C-stores, and Restaurants.  That value is being determined by a new set of metrics.  Included it those are: Healthy, Quality, Price, Speed of Service, and Appearance.  Just as important is where the consumer can consume the food. 

Consumer continue to be time starve, on the run, and multi-tasking in all day-parts.  They are simply allotting less time for a full service sit down restaurant. Today grocery stores, Convenience Stores and supermarkets and Restaurants offering To-Go Meals are winning.

What are the most compelling reasons to buy ready-2-eat food or heat-N-eat fresh prepared food?

“Better for you”:   Healthy or less time
Quality:  Fresh in appearance and how it is presented in store and To-Go
Price:  in price value equilibrium (Time+ cost of food+ cooking skill set)
Portability:  On the run consumers want food that they can serve at home, work, soccer

If success leaves clues food retailers today that find develop a balanced branded broad approach to fresh food distribution beyond the traditional four walls will find success.
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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

KFC’s is back in the grocerant hunt focusing on Superbowl Sunday.



Arguably KFC’s was the first American chain grocerant selling ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared meals for the time starved family.  With bundled meal components from the very beginning KFC understood that mix and match meal bundling was both consumer interactive and an invitation for family fun time.  Yet they somehow lost track of consumer contemporized relevance.
“Couchgating” incorporates the consumer value attributes of the Kentucky Fried Chicken of old. It’s an invitation to interact with the brand, bundle meal components with legacy menu items and contemporized menu items as well.  “Couchgating” has yet to catch fire, however it shows that the marketing team is on-target with consumer desires and brand valued attributes.
KFC needs to keep in mind that the price, value, service equilibrium continues to reset with consumers.  It’s time they quite capitulating market share and integrate the 5 P’s of food marketing fully into the KFC brand.
Restaurant chains striving to garner share within the grocerant niche must include the 2013 grocerant formula for success which is:  (Product + Price + Placement + Portability + Packaging) + Mobile Interactive Participation.

Success does leave clues and KFC is seemingly getting back in-line with consumer wants, and needs. “Couchgating” incorporates many favorable consumer retail attributes but not enough.

Is your company interested in learning how integrating the 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food product or brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization contact us via this blog or Email at: grocerant@q.com
Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® a Tacoma, WA based retail foodservice consultancy has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact via: grocerant@q.com, the Grocerant LinkedIn page or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or Grocerant on Twitter

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Restaurant, Grocery, C-Store Food, Price, Value, Service Success Formula



Consumers are experimenting with (buying) traditional food from non-traditional points of distribution, format’s and concepts.  Everything is on the table from Burger King’s Burger Bar, Wawa’s Fast Casual To-Go, Amazon’s fresh food Spotlight, Walgreens fresh food, Papa Murphy’s take-N-bake, Pinkies sandwich’s and casseroles To-Go, Whole Foods Fresh Prepared Grocerant meal components.

These new offerings combined with consumers the on the go lifestyle’s have created a mobile meal mania in some markets.  Where experimenting has created a platform of consumer food shopping pattern discontinuity.  The opportunities for restaurants, grocery stores and C-stores to garner share of stomach have never been better.  The winners will be those to experiment with consumers not those who sit back and wait.

The 2013 retail formula for success is:

 (Product + Price + Placement + Portability + Packaging) + Mobile Interactive Participation
Consumers are on the move, 6 million cut the cable cord in Q4 2012.  Less that 36% of households get the newspaper. 5 % of U.S. new business now have no line phone service. Multi-generational households are on the rise and ready-2-eat multi-ethnic meal components are in increasing demand.

Are you positioned to fight for share of stomach?   If success leaves clues the dynamic nature of consumers will continue to lead the way.  Differentiation does not mean different in the mind’s eye of the consumer it means familiar. Consumer food retail discontinuity does not have to mean sale disequilibrium.
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

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why do restaurants practice brand protectionism?



Restaurant brand protectionism is what many chain restaurant marketing managers focus on and continued to do.  All retail food and restaurant industry research consistency shows that that brand and or “Channel” protectionism is only important to the BRAND MARKETER.  The research concludes it is not important to the consumer.
Many brand marketers are seemingly entrenched (singularly focused) on “this is who we are” or “this is what we do”.  That narrow focus is not in the mind of the consumer. In fact consumers expect a freshness and newness as part of all brands including in menu and points of distribution.
The industry term for all this is channel blurring.  Channel blurring studies repeatedly show that channel blurring is not in the mind of the consumer, it is only in the mind’s eye of the brand marketer. Only when chain brand marketers truly understand that the consumer is dynamic not static will a concept be able to move to the next level or in today’s world maintain market share.
Brand protectionism has stifled, growth, profitability and long term viability of many a chain. Burger Chef, Shakey’s are just two names of those chains that were stuck in time and are falling or have fallen to the wayside of success. Grocery stores and C-store leaders are better at experimentation and introducing new fresh food formats, points of distribution and ready-2eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food.
 In addition both C-store and grocery stores have leveraged price as a competitive advantage.  McDonalds and Burger King are two brands that are expanding beyond brand protectionism building sales with non-traditional product and points of distribution as we have repeatedly documented here are this blog as regular readers know.
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Food Industry Professionals This is A Grocerant Blog



Top of the day to you! By way of introduction I am Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, Washington based Foodservice Solutions. This blog focus is on my specialty: GROCERANTS.

 A grocerant is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores aimed at the time-starved consumer with ready-2-eat  or heat-N-eat fresh prepared food components that can be bundled into a meal.

Grocerant food refers to any retail food item that is ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat  / reheat sold in a Grocery store, Convenience store or Restaurant To-go via Drive-thru or Take Away format.  Traditionally these items can be found in grocery stores  in the deli / lifestyle section,  C-stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, ready to eat items and in restaurants under the To-go, takeout or Drive-thru  or delivery  section of the menu or on the website.

However around the world we are now seeing sections in department’s stores and kiosk in malls in Europe and Asia and airports around the world.   The items can range from entrees to side items and deserts.  Some examples of items range from fried chicken, mash potatoes, cream spinach, to liver and onions, pizza, hot dogs, steak, prime rib, various casseroles (hot-dish) to salads, side salads pie, cake and any single proportioned deserts.  They can be picked up at the specific unit, or delivered. 

Having research, consulted and followed the grocerant sector since 1991.  I again am as mad as hell at the quality, presentation and packaging options now being exhibited by some legacy retailers.  I waked into a GreenWise Market grocery store the other day in Florida ordered two vegetables as a side order with an entrĂ©e they were undesirable, one simply unrecognizable.  The side orders that day were so bad that I of all people would never go back to that store for anything.   This has to change!  My goal has been and is too assist the industry in elevating the quality, presentation and packaging of ready-2- eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food. My work is clearly not done.

 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

Friday, January 25, 2013

C-stores branded food to outperform restaurant industry again.



Leveraging legacy locations, convenience, speed of service while integrating branded fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat prepared food; convenience stores are garnering customers from both the restaurant and grocery sectors.

Convenience stores foodservice offerings have largely been over looked or dismissed by Quick Service Restaurant chain operators and grocery stores.  Following the lead of Wawa, Sheetz, Rutters and now 7 Eleven the convenience store sector is branding food programs from coast to coast.  More importantly they are garnering a lager share of stomach with improving food quality, healthful offerings and speed of service that quite frankly QSR’s can’t keep up with.

David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts stated "By enhancing foodservice quality and variety, we believe convenience stores are poised to benefit from increased sales of gasoline and other merchandise, as consumers seek to consolidate their purchases in the interest of efficiency"…"Because it is so well positioned, we anticipate that convenience store industry foodservice sales growth will outperform the retail and restaurant foodservice industry average through 2013."

In fact Packaged Facts projects that convenience store foodservice sales grew 6% in 2010, and rose an additional 6% in 2011 and 5% in 2012.

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 Email: grocerant@q.com

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cook from Scratch Most Americans Say Not So Much.



Do you cook the entire meal from scratch? Where do you buy the ingredients or components to create the perfect family meal?  Grocerants ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food is blurring the line between restaurants and grocery stores. Grocerant foods target the time-starved consumers, not with ingredients to make from scratch rather with ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat food components that can be bundled into a meal.
Just think about how you shop for most meal preparation needs. You might buy a rotisserie chicken, pick out something from a salad bar and maybe an appetizer at the deli service case. Those are components vs. buying uncooked chicken, a head of lettuce and then having to clean, cut, season and then season and spend time cooking.
Steven Johnson, is the Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solution® and defines the niche this way "Grocerant means any retail food item that is ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat while fresh prepared. Currently these items can be found in grocery stores in the deli / lifestyle section, Convenience stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, ready to eat items and in restaurants under the To-go, takeout or take away or delivery section of the menu or on the website and now at Chain Drug Stores Walgreens and Duane Reade."
What is Driving the Grocerant Trend
Its 4 PM: your customers are just beginning to think about what's for dinner. 81% of American consumers are unsure about what's for dinner. Time Starved Consumers are looking for high quality ready to eat foods and ready to heat meals. Today's time starved consumer wants to purchase meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking.
Examples of Grocerants
Restaurant examples are McDonalds, Pret A Manger Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy's and Starbucks, each having a fresh ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat food menu. You may not think of Walgreens as a food destination yet Walgreens sells fresh soft-serve yogurt, coffee and sushi at selected stores, so they are technically grocerants. In the Casual Dining sector Maggiano's Little Italy offers a buy one take a 2nd home for free in their Classic Pastas menu section.
Convenience Store examples are 7 Eleven, Wawa, Sheetz and QuickChek, all of which sell fresh and prepared sandwiches, salads, beverages.
Supermarket examples are Whole Foods, Central Market, Safeway and Kroger… all sell fresh prepared chicken, salads, sandwiches and most offer sushi and beverages.
Drug Store examples are Walgreen and Duane Reade both offer in both New York and ChicagoSushi, Smoothie, Wine, Coffee, and Fro-yo Bars then there are the 455+ CafeW’s severing baked goods and beverages.
The retail supermarket and convenience store sector have unique grocerant challenges. Presentation of the ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat fresh food is important. When you get a meal at a restaurant, the plate and the food look great… let's call this "food for now". Retailers are primarily selling "food for later" or take-out and unless an item is a sandwich, the looks of ready-2-eat meals and snacks begin to change.
Why is it so hard to package food to go? In the Hot food section of the grocery store the food in most cases does not look appealing so our expectations drop when we get it for Take-Away. In convenience stores like Wawa, the ready to eat food looks great in the to-go containers. Why? Because Wawa puts the entire package together. They exert more control on the look and feel of "food for later".
Around the world we are now seeing sections in department's stores and kiosk in malls in Europe and Asia and airports around the world. The items can range from entrees to side items and deserts. Some examples of items range from fried chicken, mash potatoes, cream spinach, to liver and onions, pizza, hot dogs, steak, prime rib, various casseroles (hot-dish) to salads, side salads pie, cake and any single proportioned deserts. They can be picked up at the specific unit, or delivered.
In summary, a Grocerant is a result of the blurring of the line between restaurants and grocery stores aimed at the time-starved consumer with ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat food components that can be bundled into a meal. With new non-traditional points of distribution and retail food competition opening daily.
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, January 23, 2013

Mix and Match Meal Bundling is Driving Food Retail Success.



What is menu magic? Are you a restaurant or food merchant? Starbucks is a food merchant, outstanding food retailer and restaurant that consumers continue too coverage almost daily.  Do you place limits on your restaurant menu? If you do you might be limiting you retail value as a food merchant.  What food are you selling? Who are you selling it to? Where are they eating, consuming it?

If success leaves clues Non-traditional fresh food retailer SavOn Convenience Stores have picked up many from fresh food retailers and is reaping rewards.  SavOn owned by the Oneida Indian Nation recently added drive-thru's to the mix where customers can now pick up fresh brewed coffee, fresh doughnuts without having to park or enter the store.

Sean Brown, SavOn's operations director, stated "The on-the-go lifestyle of guests is increasing and we needed to be more convenient," … "As a guest fuels up, it is very convenient to drive up to the window and get moving very quickly."

After reviewing customer feedback on the new drive-thru’s Brown began to add products to sell at the drive-thru, with the latest addition being K-Cups. Brown said “"We have a K-Cup program that is very popular, with strong sales in our stores; guests said they wanted it offered at the drive-thru,” … "We are going to tailor the offerings to their feedback. Breakfast sandwiches are something we are planning for the near future based on the demand as well." Customer wanted K-cups for both home and office.

SavOn sell packs of them, they also offer a mix-and-match program that allows guests to create their own six-, 12- or 18-pack. "They are wildly popular, and customers are able to try different flavors,"

CS News On-line reports that SavOn has seen double-digit growth week over week in the number of people using the option. During the launch, customers took advantage of the promotional offer of a 16-ounce coffee and a Daylight Donut at the drive-thru for only $1.49.

Mix and Match Meal bundling should be driven by consumers demand not by marketing managers or menu developers practicing brand protectionism all the while placing limits on the brands retail success.

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, January 22, 2013

The 5 P’s of Food Marketing Propel 2013 Food Retail Success.



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

Look at the US 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 match 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 value of consumer choice or limit the world of “better for you”.  Mix and match of small portion, fresh products, green packaging all are contribution to 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 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us   visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us

Monday, January 21, 2013

Portable Meal Components Drive Retail Food Sales



Alice May Brock said: “Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon make it French, sour cream makes it Russian, lemon and cinnamon make it Greek, soy sauce makes it Chinese, garlic makes it good.”

Convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization; are each hallmarks of the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared grocerant niche.

Meal components allow customers to select from Italian, American, French, Russian or Greek and utilize the components at home any way they like.  The new American meal can be a composite of any prepared food components that the individual may want and they can mix and pair them any way as well.  The United States is a melting pot of people from all over the world, with different cultures, traditions and flavor preferences.  The new American meal is a melting pot of flavor and choice.  Meal components that can be mix and matched.

Fresh prepared and portable ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods are now available for all comers and can be found at Convenience stores, Drug stores, Grocery stores, Restaurants, Mobile trucks all just waiting for the taking.

Consumers have been exposed to a plethora of flavors and have not the time to master the skill of cooking each.  This growing trend is empowering the consumer to establish new customs and traditions in eating better, more flavorful food.  The Grocerant niche is about convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in consulting within the Grocerant niche for more on Steven ohnson and Foodservice Solutions on AOL search Grocerant, at ASK.COM search grocerant or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Foods Trends are Driven By Innovation and Consumer Desires for Meal Solutions



Non-Traditional Fresh Food: Amazon Fresh is Bold, Brave, Branded Amazon Fresh launches new Seattle Spotlight program offering access to restaurant meals and ingredients limited to the Seattle area with items like this Samurai Noodle Ramen dish.
Seattle-Tacoma, Washington has a legacy of food industry innovation, leadership and success. There are no signs that food innovative leadership will diminish any time soon. With industry leading independent restaurants the ilk of Canlis, Palace Kitchen, El Gaucho, Wild Ginger, Dahlia Lounge anyone can tell Seattle loves restaurants, fresh food and legendary quality service.
From one of the first multi-national syndicated TV cooking shows, "The Galloping Gourmet" which featured charismatic and continued Washington State resident Graham Kerr focusing on rich and decadent recipes began 1969.
Then came Jeff Smith was the author of a dozen best-selling cookbooks and the host of The Frugal Gourmet, a popular American cooking show which began in Tacoma, Washington around 1973 and aired onPBS from 1983 to 1997 (as produced by member station WTTW Chicago), and numbered 261 episodes.
We have to mention Starbucks the world's leading chain of coffee outlets and global food merchant that continues to break the retail food distribution mold continues expanding at break neck speed.
Then there is Seattle native Nathan Myhrvold with the most important cookbook of the first decade of the 21st century according to Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2010. The cookbook Modernist Cuisine: The art and science of Cooking by Mayhrvold, Young, and Bilet consist of 6 volumes is 2,438 pages long and weighs in at 52 pounds. It cost more than 1,000,000 dollars to produce the first 6,000 copies that rapidly sold out. Myhrvold's The Cooking Lab order a second hard back printing of 25,000 copies and toady it is being sold both in hardback and paperback around the world.
Amazon Fresh Innovating Online Food Shopping
Entering the food space is most disruptive book retailer the world has ever known, Amazon.com. When Amazon started a new fresh food retail group called Amazon Fresh we here at Foodservice Solutions® predicted that Amazon may have found its solution to "the last mile" in delivery with Amazon Fresh. Consumers Want Quick and Easy Meal Solutions, driving Amazon to enter the fresh prepared food delivery business. Ah the grocerant niche filled with ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food finally has a global retailer aimed at garnering market share from sleepy legacy food retailers specifically chain grocery stores and chain restaurants.
Book readers, book stores and investors dismissed the force that Amazon.com became early on as non-disruptive and not consumer friendly. Well we all know how that ended up. Amazon is now successfully selling groceries and delivering fresh food in Great Britain, Germany and parts of the United States.
Amazon Spotlight - A New Level of Takeout
Now comes Amazon's "Seattle Spotlight" a delivery program that is leveraging the Amazon Fresh systems that delivers a gallon of milk, 6 apples, tomato's hamburger and paper towels all within just a few hours' notice, is now offering access to restaurant meals and ingredients. Rebekah Denn reported that Amazon via "Seattle Spotlight" "in some cases, an interesting blend of takeout and home cooking, ranging from opening a ready-to-heat container of Pike Place Chowder to grilling your own Skillet burger patty and frying your own fries." This clearly illustrates that consumers really don't cook from scratch very much … being proven out by Seattle Spotlight.
Restaurants contract with Amazon to sell, cook and delivery preapproved menu items. That my friends is disruptive. Denn went on to explain in detail how it works and she was impressed that Amazon "with the selection, but not too surprised by it once I heard that Jonathan Hunt, formerly of Boom Noodle and Lowell-Hunt Catering, is the chef in charge of the Seattle-only program"…. How do restaurants figure out how to deconstruct their dishes for a home cook to prepare, or to package them for delivery so they're still good to eat? In La Spiga's case, I've found it fairly idiot-proof to grill my prosciutto piadina (part of an $11.95 box lunch) at home to melt the cheese. The Samurai Noodle ramen has also come with straightforward directions, taking a few minutes to boil the noodles, warm the broth and pork, and add the pre-sliced toppings.
"We thought it was a neat way to offer better service without... the extra expense of opening a restaurant," said La Spiga co-owner Sabrina Tinsley.
Working with Hunt, "we selected items we thought would travel well. We did a series of experiments, obviously, to make sure they would get there the same way," she said. Soup, for instance, "was a bit of a challenge" on a jostling ride. Baked pastas held up better than boiled noodles.
I asked how the salad, one of my old La Spiga favorites, arrived so crisp and fresh despite what I assumed was a day's delay. "I try to have my staff be really careful about the way they cut it. If you're just slamming the knife down on it it's going to bruise it and brown and deterioriate faster," Tinsley said. "
How Amazon Selects Food Vendors for Seattle Spotlight
Rick Batye, vice president of AmazonFresh was asked how the company figures out which foods to offer, and how hard it is to make their dishes ready-to-eat or workable at home by Denn and he replied via Email.
He said that "the company gravitates "towards iconic well-known brands that are associated with quality and are unique in their offering," as well as being innovative and creative. Hunt worked with Samurai Noodle, for instance, to make their meals "the same experience" as you'd get at the restaurant, providing all the components and making it easy to prepare….
How do they decide who's in the mix? First, Batye said, they brought in merchants and products that customers had specifically requested. Amazon approached Pasta and Co., for instance, "after a customer of ours raved about their oven-roasted chicken." Pike Place Fish Market is so well-known that it made sense to ask the owners to be part of the program. "Right now we think more merchants are better for our customers and there's no need for us to limit the number of merchants or their products; each brings their own style and flair…
How Does Amazon Fresh Deliver Food
Here is Batye explaining how the logistics work? "We pick up orders from each of our merchants once or twice a day and merge them with each customer's regular grocery or general merchandise orders. The products they sell on AmazonFresh are the same that they sell in their store or restaurant, so they are ready to go or easy to prepare as the orders come in."
This program is clearly in the early stage of testing for Amazon. With a track record of success and a goal to find the "last mile solution" Amazon is clearly on the right track. Consumers are dynamic not static food retailers must look outside the box for success, growth and long-term profits. Seattle and the Northwest have a long history of innovation and cultivation of food trends. Is your company focusing on developing success within the booming grocerant niche? Ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh food sales are booming.
Photo: Samurai Noodle ramen courtesy of Amazon Fresh via Denn article
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, January 19, 2013

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

Friday, January 18, 2013

Restaurant News You Can Use to Drive Sales Stop Customer Migration



90 percent of people look for deals to get more value when making food purchases in new national research survey conducted by DiGiorno January 2013.

US consumers estimate that restaurant rewards program would increase their visit rate to a particular restaurant by average of 35%, according to new study; 65% would recommend restaurant more to others if that restaurant offered rewards program in a study by LoyaltyPlus January 2013

US millennials seem to be spending more money than other generations when it comes to dining out, industry officials noted as reported by Ginia Bellafonte of the New York Times as a percent of income January 2013.
Proportion of US commercial foodservice industry's traffic obtained from visits made by older consumers has grown steadily over past five years while visits from millennials have declined, NPD Group January 2013.

Clearly consumers do not want to cook what they want is Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Fresh Prepared Grocerant Niche Food.  Ah regular readers of this blog know that. I would like to introduce you to Threep.com
Threep is a Food Marketing tool for every ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh food marketer’s tool kit.  Threep is a mobile application that rewards users for visiting your business in groups of 3 or more people.  It is consumer interactive and participatory, with real time consumer relevance, adding value to your brand, building sales with incremental group size, and leveraging Micro groups for Macro results.
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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Restaurants Battle Grocery Stores for Larger Share of Stomach.



The line between restaurants and food retailers is growing ever thinner. The fight for America’s food dollars continues to intensify as consumers find fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat food options at a wide and growing array of outlets across almost every channel: convenience stores, chain drug stores, restaurants, grocery stores, club stores, vending and even more non-food retailers like dollar stores.  While manufacturers, retailers and restaurants worry about choice overload, consumers have embraced their new choices and show no signs of returning to the old ways. This fight is taking place in what is called the grocerant niche.

The restaurant industry is not an industry known for trying to be first as in fastest to market with an ideation, food or technology advance. In the United States the larger the chain in almost all cases the more slowly they are to adopt something than a smaller chain or independent restaurants will.  Chain restaurants goal is simple feed one meal at a time in the restaurant while protecting and edifying the brand.

Historically chain restaurant leaders have denied the credibility of start-up competitors as non-relevant. The pizza sector is a great example; evolving from family dinning independents to national chain of “Red Roof” Italian, then to delivery only outlets and now take-N-bake is garnering market share in the pizza sector.

At the intersection of the consumer, fresh prepared food and technology we fine that consumer eating behavior is evolving and is now beyond the control of traditional food marketers. Evolving culture and lifestyle, demographics along with the new uncertain economy are all putting pressure on the American food consumer: Demands of work, economic shrinkage, demands of raising a family, commuting, social interaction, kid’s after-school activities, all contribute to a food marketplace where convenience vies with price over legacy brands. Recent advances in food packaging and new points of non-traditional food distribution have empowered consumer choice, and Americans are embracing these choices even as legacy marketers cringe. Who’s after restaurant food dollars simply put everyone.

Why should you care if Walgreens is selling fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Made-2-Order sandwiches? Why should you care if Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Wegmans are selling ready-2-eat and or heat-N-eat fresh pizza?  Why should you care if Coinstar is selling Seattle Best Coffee at 1,000 locations for $1.00?

You should care because they are selling it, and you are not! The fastest growing sector of retail food service for the past four years has been the Convenience store sector.  The C-store sectors growth in large part has been driven by fresh prepared food. Non-traditional avenues of distribution are growing, gobbling market share while establishing new patterns of consumption, price points and customer loyalty.

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have created Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food items with qualitative differentiation as an entity with identity that has help propel them into Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food leadership.  In fact recent research shows that both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are each known for high quality (restaurant quality) Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat foods with distinctive offerings.   More important each is leading with innovative products and package size that create value and have positioned each chain as a food shopping destination for meal components customized and personalized for immediate consumption or mix and matched for a meal time at home. In short they are stealing your customers.

Walgreens fresh prepared food is restaurant quality and priced less than Panera Bread or Corner Bakery.  Both Panera Bread and Corner bakery thrive in urban locations. Walgreens is now growing price, quality and speed of service advantages over legacy retailers.  Legacy restaurant chains must reconsider the speed at which they evolve and adapt or non-traditional outlets will capture profits margins as well.
Traditional views of meals and mealtime can pretty much be discarded. Legacy retailers waiting for the “next big thing” to copy simply might be out of luck this time.  Legacy food retailers may not like to be first movers very much but it may prove that waiting too long will not work this time.

The retail food world is evolving at an ever increasing pace filled with innovation in food, portion size, points of distribution, and quality fresh prepared meal solutions.      The price, value, service equilibrium is resetting in retail foodservice.   In order to edify the brand and reinforce consumer relevance restaurateurs leverage Foodservice Solutions® 5P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price.

Many legacy food retailers continue to practice brand protectionism, stifle the brand while diminishing consumer relevance.  The consumer is dynamic not static.  Brands must be dynamic, evolving with the consumer.  Four years of watching other retail sectors thrive should be long enough. Success in the restaurant world is no longer simply about what happens within your 4 walls.  



www.FoodserviceSolutions.us since 1991 is a global retail food consultancy based in Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant Niche, Mix and Match Meal Component Bundling Ideations.  Follow us at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant, twitter.com/grocerant or Facebook Steven Johnson Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chipotle Mexican Grill embraces the 5 P’s of Food Marketing



Steve Ells Founder and Co-CEO of Chipotle understands the undercurrents of the evolving retail food space. Consumers are in growing numbers attracted to “better for you” food, bundled as mix and match meal components.  Chipotle targeting consumers within the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food grocerant niche is expanding catering options across the US.

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru Steven Johnson has been gathering retail food success clues.  Within the clues they discovered some universal commonalities from those commonalities he developed, the 5’P’s of Food Marketing.  The 5 P’s are Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability, Price.

Steve Ells stated ““We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food by offering our customers better ingredients from more sustainable sources in a way that is affordable and accessible,” …“With catering, we can now better serve our customers by allowing them to bring Chipotle into their homes, offices and schools where they can conveniently and effortlessly share the food that they love with large groups of people.”

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

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® a Tacoma, WA based retail foodservice consultancy has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact via: grocerant@q.com, the Grocerant LinkedIn page or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or Grocerant on Twitter