Kamis, 30 Desember 2010

Grocerant meal components bundled and portable make a family meal, a happy meal!


Convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization all hallmarks of grocerant fresh prepared food. Whole Foods, Central Market, Sheetz and now 7 Eleven are all creating a new level of competition for restaurateurs. Each focused on new fresh prepared food with restaurant quality are offering bundled meal options.

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.”

Grocerants allow customers to select from Italian, 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. Our society is a composed for 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.

Prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods are now available for all comers and can be found at Convenience 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® a Tacoma, WA based consultancy has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Rabu, 29 Desember 2010

Food retail compliancy, economic doldrums, too quagmire and now a prepared food fight.


Our industry has been forced to reposition itself during our current economic doldrums. The grocerant niche once again provides evidence of an ongoing emerging trend. I have dubbed it the “grocerant trend” (fresh prepared ready-to-eat and or ready-to-heat-food--that is better for you). Times have never been better for manufactures to create new products, collaborate and bond with clients while building top lines sales and bottom line profits.

Two strong factors are expanding the niche from emerging to main stream. Dramatic new points of distribution are on the way. Fresh prepared food is emerging in non traditional points of fresh food distribution.

First is at 7 Eleven, which is entering the niche with fresh fruit and fresh prepared food at test locations around the world and at 105 units here in the US. Solid positive signs of consumer acceptance have been reported and this program will rollout to and additional 7,210 units within three years.

Second, Walgreens expanding brand quality in the pursuit of “fresh” prepared food. The halo effect will bolster the brand as contemporized and relevant to consumers. Focused, on its core consumer, portioned, positioned and priced competitively, Walgreens has the ability to over the next 3 to 4 years roll out that program too well over 7,500 locations.

Grocery stores the ilk of Wegmans, Metropolitan Market, Central Market, Harris Teeter, and Whole Foods are each expanding fresh prepared food. Safeway’s lifestyle stores are exceeding initial projections and the company is all smiles while expanding the fresh food focused units.

Convenience stores current grocerant leaders Sheetz, Wawa, Rutter’s, Quick Chek continue to test the bounds of fresh prepared food while doing an excellent job at bundling the meal components and pressuring the QSR industry to keep pace.

Many restaurant chains have or are preparing new programs and offering for this specific niche including Subway, Nathan’s Famous, Atlanta Bread, Denny’s, Jamba Juice and Quiznos. Yes, there does appear to be a new food fight and it is in the grocerant niche for consumer seeking better for you fresh prepared food that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Selasa, 28 Desember 2010

Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Foodservice Solutions® most quoted articles of 2010.


If success leaves clues Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru at Foodservice Solutions® obviously has left his share again in 2010. Here is a list of his published articles with links that were quoted from Wall Street to Main Street during 2010.


1. Restaurant Consumer Discontinuity

a. http://foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=4112

2. Convenience store sector: the stage is set for consolidation in 2010.

B. http://foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=7513

3. The frozen “Food Court” is the new restaurant real estate play!

c. http://foodservice.com/blogs/show.cfm?contentid=14231

4. Roll, Roll, Roll, Away Roller Grill!

d. http://foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=5512

5. Legacy retail foodservice operators, why are many stuck in the middle without direction?

e. http://foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=11328

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Senin, 27 Desember 2010

Legacy grocery stores are winning with private label products.


Whole Foods, Central Market, and Metropolitan Market are but a few of the companies leveraging grocerant style fresh and prepared food to build top line sales and bottom line profits. Private label sale are reported to be 18%. However most grocery stores and tracking firms do not record or claim their fresh prepared food sales. That alone can push the 18% much higher. When you add in store prepared meat, fish, poultry and bakery products private label again moves into a new and increasingly valuable position much higher than 18%.


Walmart has focused on price to drive sales in doing so they quit requesting “trade funds”. Instead they focused on driving customer value while building consumer loyalty with private label products that shout competitiveness.

Legacy food retailers the ilk of A&P that have been focused on driving inside margins through trade funds that manufactures offer can’t stop taking the money it’s like a “monetary drug fix”. The problem is the companies relying on trade funds are all going to go the way of A&P.

With that said, there are many additional food retailers who are doing an excellent job with private label, such as Wegmans, Byerly's, Dorothy Lane, Stew Leonard's etc. If success leaves clues building strong fresh and prepared private label food programs at the retail level rank very high.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Jumat, 24 Desember 2010

Kamis, 23 Desember 2010

Ready-to-eat, ready-to-heat fresh and prepared food is convenient meal planning!


Grocerant niche food is filled with fresh and prepared ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat meal components. It may be from Wawa as a salad or fresh hoagie! It can be from Whole Foods and come as sous vide /cook chill or fresh prepared from one of the display food stations ready-to-eat, it must have the ability to be portable however.

It can be eaten on site, in the car, at the office or down the road at the park. At times it is reheated; it is focused on single serve portions or portions for two. The list of companies in the grocerant niche doing a very good job continues to grow, Central Market, Speedway Super America, Boston Market, Ralphs, Food Lion, Tesco, HEB, Safeway, Sheetz, Burger King, Subway and KFC.

One of the most interesting new developments is bundling of the meal components it’s a Mix and Match combo that is very empowering for the consumer. Subway and Burger King have for years been doing this with individual sandwiches. Today however now consumer’s can buy from grocery stores and restaurants a fresh prepared sauce, and utilize it on fish, steak, chicken, a burritos or pasta. Two people in a home may use the same sauce on two different entrees! The same can be said for each course of the meal.

This mix and match of portion controlled, fresh and prepared food components makes meal time easy. Meal time is now becoming a time of convenient meal participation, with differentiation and individualization for the entire family.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Jumat, 17 Desember 2010

Independent restaurants are mastering the art of 5-minute takeout food.


Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared portable food has been driving top line sales and bottom line profits for the convenience store sector for over two years. The C-store sector has led food industry in top line growth recently driving sector consolidation. The grocery sector has found new life with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared food. Chain restaurants continue to grow takeout and to-go food at a faster and faster pace.

Independent restaurants are not being left out and they are garnering attention from consumers and the press. Sue Kidd a staff writer for The News Tribune in an article titled: Master the are of the 5-minute takeout in Tacoma states that independent restaurants food is “CHEAP, GOOD, FAST”

Consumers have been finding grocerant bundled meal options within every sector of the retail foodservice industry. Independent restaurateurs have been paying attention, following the success of industry chain leaders most importantly listening to consumers. They are bundling meal combos from Tacoma, WA to Miami, FL and San Diego, CA to Portland, MA.

With new competition entering the fray for ready-to-eat food from the drug store sector and dollar store sector watch for innovation and regional leaders to emerge from independent restaurants.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® or visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Kamis, 16 Desember 2010

Well funded grocer joins Publix entering the restaurant business.


Restaurant companies constantly looking over there shoulder at competitors now have two strong retail grocers focused on the restaurant space. Publix successfully has grown Crispers into a consumer driven chain and last wee Wegmans entered with The Food Bar after success with the concept within the store they now feel it ready stand on it’s own.

“The Wegman's supermarket chain is entering the restaurant business with the launch of The Food Bar, a fast casual/casual dining hybrid opened Dec. 10. The restaurant is located next to Wegman's flagship store in Pittsford, N.Y., and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The restaurant gives customers the option to order at the counter or to have full table service at the bar. Three varieties of wine and beer are on tap and orders are served in picnic baskets with plastic utensils.

Menu items include burgers and other sandwiches, crab cakes, sundaes and milkshakes made with Wegman's proprietary frozen custard. Price points range from $4 to $14.

The Food Bar boasts a distinctive décor “washed in seashore colors,” according to the Wegman's website. “Big windows invite the sun in. Sand-colored brickwork soars over tables and the booths, upholstered in deep-ocean blue. Sky blue walls meet wood-tone floors in the colors of dry and wet sand. Curving design motifs over the counter hint at the motion of ocean waves.”

Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh grocerant food is entering both Drug store sector and convenience store sector and during 2011 restaurant companies must be prepared for these new competitors as well.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche positioning products and brands for success. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Senin, 13 Desember 2010

Top five disruptive food trends of 2010.


The consumer drove change and acceptance of new opportunities in food retailing during 2010. It was the year the consumer rejected retail food niche labels while demystifying channel blurring. Empowered with technology and driven by choice the retail food consumer entered new channels of food distribution and like what they found.

Legacy food retailers 2011 will not be an easy one for those of you practicing brand protectionism. The grocerant niche filled with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh and prepared food continued to boom in 2010. That niche filled with customer perceived “better for your” products, packaging and price continued to add focus too the new retail foodservice model on how to grow your brand.

The top five disruptive food trends / developments of 2010 are:

1. Low price point war while we are seeing commodity inflation:

2. New avenues of distribution: Walgreens, Dollar Stores:

3. New Product trial with deep discounts via electronic distribution – Groupon:

4. Convenience stores consolidation with new fresh food focus:

5. Burgers, Burgers, Burgers.

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. Foodservice Solutions® can assist you in understanding the role of each P and it relationship to each other is key for all companies in today’s retail food environment.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Jumat, 10 Desember 2010

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


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

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

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

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

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

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Kamis, 09 Desember 2010

Don’t dust off your stove yet.


Restaurateurs the world is a little brighter after the NPD Group reported that “use of stove” is still flat and even more exciting microwave cooking is not growing either. Broad Street Licensing Group (BSLG) reported that in a recent news letter that “There has been a gradual increase in per-capita meals prepared & consumed at home (including partially pre-prepared foods): 877 in 2010 vs. 861 in 2007 (though the trend began in 2003).”

BSLG continued “This is far below the 1980s when the peak was 914 (1986). The nadir was 817 in 2002. More significant are the changes in how food is prepared: in the 80s, 72% of main dinner dishes were homemade; today only 59% are. The shift has been to prepared foods or meals that can be “assembled.”

NPD predicts ready-to-eat meals prepared outside of, but eaten at-home, along with fresh and frozen foods will grow in the next ten years. That convenience trumps everything is underscored by the decline in the number of items per meal from 4.44 in the 1980s to 3.5 in 2010.

Microwave usage rose between 985-1994 (from 10.5% of main meals to 20.4%), but remained between 19%-20% through 2008 when it began to grow slightly (currently it stands at 22%). How are Americans cooking their meals, then? They are purchasing ready-to-eat take-home foods in restaurants and food stores, along with the rise of grilling and slow-cookers. Use of grills grew by 42% between 1998-2008, but still only accounted for 3% of main meals by 2009). Slow cookers grew 36% from 1998-2008 (but still only cooked 1% of main meals by 2009).” Thank you too both BSLG and NPD.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Rabu, 08 Desember 2010

Retail Foodservice the Status Quo is not: from compliancy too economic doldrums, too quagmire and now prepared food fight.


Retail foodservice is an exciting landscape in which to work, follow or enjoy as a consumer participant. The one thing that is for certain is the Status Quo is not! Each day millions go to work with passion and contribute to the ongoing evolution and rediscovery of an ever growing and important sector of our society.

The industry forced to reposition itself during our current economic doldrums has provided evidence of an emerging trend that is once again expanding the size, and availability of food in the US. I have dubbed it the “grocerant trend” (fresh prepared ready-to-eat and or ready-to-heat--- better for you-- food). Times have never been better for manufactures to create new products, collaborate and bond with clients while building top lines sales and bottom line profits.

Two strong factors are expanding the niche from fad to trend. Dramatic new points of distribution are on the way fresh prepared food emerging in non traditional points of fresh food distribution. The first is at 7 Eleven, which is entering the niche with fresh fruit and fresh prepared food at test locations around the world and at 105 units here in the US. Solid positive signs of consumer acceptance have been reported and this program will rollout to and additional 7,210 units is now well underway.

Second, Walgreens expanding brand quality in the pursuit of “fresh” prepared food. The halo effect will bolster the brand as contemporized and relevant to consumers. Walgreens focused, on its core consumer, portioned, positioned and priced competitively. Walgreens has the ability to over the next 3 to 4 years roll out that program too well over 7,500 locations.

Grocery stores the likes of Wegmans, Central Market, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods are each expanding fresh prepared food. Safeway’s lifestyle stores are exceeding initial projections and the company is all smiles while expanding the fresh food focused units.

Convenience stores current grocerant leaders Sheetz, Wawa, Rutter’s, Quick Chek continue to test the bounds of fresh prepared food while doing an excellent job at bundling the meal components and pressuring the QSR industry to keep pace.

Many restaurant chains have or are preparing new programs and offering for this specific niche including Subway, Nathan’s Famous, Atlanta Bread, Denny’s, Jamba Juice and Quiznos. Yes, there does appear to be a new food fight and it is in the grocerant niche for consumer seeking better for you fresh prepared food that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Selasa, 07 Desember 2010

Its 5 PM What’s for Dinner?


When 5 PM rolls around most Americans start wondering what am I going to have for dinner and very, very few will even entertain the idea of cooking from scratch. Most people don’t have a clue what they want let alone what is for dinner. At least that is what research has shown over the past several years. At 4 PM it’s time that the competition between Supermarkets, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores and Restaurants for share of stomach heats up.

The grocerant sector, that is to say fresh prepared ready-to-eat and or ready-to-heat food is booming. Grocery stores tout rapidly growing Takeout or Take Away foods that are fresh prepared ala restaurant quality. 7 Eleven is slowly rolling away from the roller grill and into fresh prepared consumer focused ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food.

Grocery Stores and Supermarkets are pushing the high margin prepared portable food section all the while Convenience Stores are bundling and pricing ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat food extremely competitively. Whole Foods hot food stations are thriving all around the country.

Restaurateurs are packaging, bundling and marketing Take Away and Togo food better than ever. The consumer focused on menu selection, portion size and price have responded nicely to the restaurant new offerings and customer counts are growing again. Subway is now entering breakfast in a big way with better for you products.

Here at Foodservice Solutions we specialize in understanding successful bundling of the fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food. It is the increasing margins and growing sales that are attracting restaurateurs, grocery stores and convenience stores into this sector.

These my friends are the good times. Bundled meal components are changing and evolving by region and family size. If you would like a strategic grocerant program assessment or a grocerant tour we can arrange them for you, your group, by niche, city or country.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Senin, 06 Desember 2010

Accelerating retail foodservice innovation success starts with listening to consumers.


Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food must have a high degree of consumer relevance to succeed in any retail food niche today. Technomic Inc. understands retail foodservice, the foodservice consumer. For over forty years they have been listening to consumer and benchmarking key retail food data for manufactures, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores. They understand what the consumer wants, how they have changed and importantly how they eat. How we eat, when we eat by the way has evolved dramatically over the years.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets listens to consumer and understands that building top line sales and bottom line profits is a result of giving consumer what they want. Fresh & Easy has recently launched a better for you line of products called eatwell “a line of more nutritious products to help customers manage their diets without compromising on taste”. They understand that in America we want to eat our way thin.

John Burry, chief commercial officer for Fresh & Easy stated. “We created a range of items designed to make it easier for customers to eat well without compromising on flavor. With products like mojito shrimp and sweet chili chicken, we’re building on the huge success of our kitchen items and helping our customers more easily manage their diets. This line was based on direct customer feedback, ““Customers asked us for products with less sodium, calories and fat, and we listened “

The eatwell product line contains no more than “25 percent of the daily values (based upon a 2,000-calorie diet) for calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium… The eatwell products also carry front-of-pack nutritional labels, which are designed to communicate the calories, fat.” Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food continues to get better for you!

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Jumat, 03 Desember 2010

Restaurant chains face a confluence of obstacles for growth in Q 1 2011.


While 2010 is winding down restaurant chains have been all smiles with frequency of visits on the rise and sales rebounding. Public restaurant chain stock prices have been on fire and there is hope in our beleaguered industry once again. All of us want this tend to continue.

Three issues could put a damper on those smiles. First unemployment continues to remain high and in fact ticked up again today. There is a direct correlation between unemployment numbers and restaurant growth/sales.

Secondly the retail price of gasoline is expected to reach $ 3.00 per gallon by the end of this year and could well stay there during Q1. The correlation between gasoline price and restaurant sales is direct and this up trend is not positive for restaurants either.

Last but not least is increased competition in the ready-to-eat and ready to heat prepared food niche. Companies the ilk of 7 Eleven are rolling out fresh prepared food. The convenience store sector led the foodservice industry in growth in 2009 and 2010 in large part because of new fresh food sales that drove consumer frequency.

Food manufacturers have been focused and working with Drug store and grocery chains on new fresh food products and portion packaging. In each case they are focused on new consumers and building loyalty for low-cost prepared food ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat options.

NPD group’s Ann Hanson said: “The frequency of meal planning is an indication that many purchase decisions are made prior to grocery shopping. Retailers and manufacturers who can help consumers address meal planning challenges have the potential to become ingrained in the family meal planning and shopping cycle.”

These new avenues of distribution combined with new meal bundling and low cost options provide a window of opportunity for those prepared and focused on the consumer. Restaurateurs will need to be prepared with a competitive set of options entering 2011 in order to maintain current momentum.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Kamis, 02 Desember 2010

Bundling mix and match meal components in 2011 will be an integral part of foodservice success.


McDonalds learned years ago that positioning bundled meal options in the drive thru saved time in the ordering process. Consumers have learned to appreciate the time saved and continue flock to bundled choice in all retail food channels.

Kathryn Sharpe, professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business found in a recent study stated “that consumers place a perceived value on combo meals, even if it costs the same as choosing items a la carte.”

Sharpe continued "Based on our research, it appears that they would be just as happy with including smaller portion sizes as part of the combo meal," Sharpe said. "However, consumers are currently given subtle signals that smaller sizes are not appropriate. Realigning the meals to appropriate levels across the industry would make them just as satisfied."

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. Understanding the role of each P and it relationship to each other is key for all companies in today’s retail food environment.

Bonnie Riggs of The NPD Group found in another study that “Today, the heaviest buyers of healthy/light sandwiches are consumers ages 18 to 34," Riggs stated. "However, it is consumers 50 and older, who are the most health-conscious consumer segment, who will contribute the most incremental servings in the years ahead." OK, you all now get bundle healthier food. Success does leave clues; use those clues to build top line sales and bottom line profits.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Rabu, 01 Desember 2010

Eating our way thin is the goal; only in America!


The grocerant niche filled with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food that is better for you spanning multiple channels including Drug stores, Grocery stores and restaurants are catering too consumer’s desire for less fat, less salt and fewer calories.

Bonnie Riggs a restaurant analyst for The NPD Group stated Restaurant operators are responding to their customers’ needs for healthier or lighter foods…. This shift in consumers choosing healthier foods at restaurants is partially due to the increasing availability of healthier foods on restaurant menus”

Not only do Americans want to eat too get thin. We want to eat and obtain fresh prepared ready to eat and or ready to heat food wherever they are. That is way the grocerant niche is growing so fast. The convenience store sector has led the foodservice industry in top line sales growth for the past two years in large part to the introduction and growth of fresh prepared food.

Yes, by, by roller grill. NPD’s Crest service that tracks consumer usage of foodservice both commercial and non-commercial found “a decrease in consumption of regular carbonated soft drinks, hot dogs, fried chicken and French fries. Simultaneously, some foods that could be considered healthier (lower in sugar and fat) have been ordered more than in the past.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Senin, 29 November 2010

Wendy’s sales and profit quagmire is of it own making!





Wendy’s has become the copycat food marketing king for 2010 with its latest new product the “D.T. Double ala a Big Mac! In other recent test product they tried the bigger burger theme of Burger King. When a company the size of Wendy’s is making rookie mistakes like this everyone must ask; how much trouble is Wendy’s in?

This new product test will take place in both Austin, TX and Providence RI. There is only one question to ask senior management at Wendy’s. Why are you wasting money on copycat products?

What a waste of the quality halo created by Dave Thomas. Utilizing his name on this legacy product is more than a step back it damages the brands image with the consumer. Retail foodservice consumers are dynamic not static. This is a step backward. Where is any sign of contemporized consumer relevance?

Here at Foodservice Solutions® we think differentiation does not mean different it means familiar with a twist. The twist must be distinguishable? A square burger is different with a twist yet familiar. Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing include: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. It’s clear to all that Wendy’s has forgotten a few things.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Jumat, 26 November 2010

Equilibrium is developing in the ready-to-eat and ready to heat grocerant niche.


In the ongoing battle between restaurants and grocery stores for grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food share of stomach a recent Food Marketing Institute study found that 86% of consumers “say they are either “somewhat” or “very confident” in the safety of their food” bought at supermarkets. Those numbers are on par with consumer reflections on restaurant prepared food.

Interestingly the study went on to state: “More than half of shoppers (55 percent) are preparing more meals at home than they did one year ago. They continue to watch every penny they spend. Shoppers’ interest in supermarket ready-to-eat foods (55 percent) is at its highest point in four years, especially among those who are choosing to save money on eating out by cooking at home. They are especially interested in:

• Freshly prepared, heat-and-serve food to take home (47 percent).

• Made to order sandwiches (37 percent).

• Extensive salad bar (37 percent).

• Prepared hot food buffet/bar (34 percent).

• Restaurant/sit-down area in-store (23 percent).

We must take note of the fact that both the restaurant niche and grocery niche are under fire from non-traditional fresh food retailers that are entering the retail fresh prepared food niche including: Walgreens, Rite Aid, 7 Eleven, Sears and Amazon.com.

It’s clear that all food retailers must continually reevaluate their positioning within the food retail space in order to retain consumer relevance and market share. Here is a link too the FMI press release:

http://www.fmi.org/news_releases/index.cfm?fuseaction=mediatext&id=1172

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Selasa, 23 November 2010

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


Fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat 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.

This blog continues to focus on the grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat 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-to-eat and ready-to-heat 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

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Jumat, 19 November 2010

America’s fastest growing food niche Grocerants expanding the melting pot!


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.

I say: grocerant meal components bundled and portable make a family meal, a happy meal!

Grocerants allow customers to select from Italian, 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. Our society is a composed for 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.

Prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods are now available for all comers and can be found at Convenience 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. Success leaves clues: Foodservice Solutions® in Tacoma, WA has been gathering them just for you! For a Grocerant program opportunity assessment contact Steve Johnson of Foodservice Solutions® or leave a comment.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or twitter.com/grocerant

Kamis, 18 November 2010

Who’s eating what and where?


The confluence of a multi-tasking evolving retail food consumer and retail operator’s drive for top line growth continue to expand the grocerant niche of fresh prepared food.

AMC Entertainment Inc which has 380 cinemas worldwide is ramping up food and beverage service in its cinemas, with plans to expand its dine-in theater program to between 40 and 60 of its properties by next year. I’ll quote recent reports.

“The company's dine-in theater concept includes premium dining in the Cinema Suites for a $15 "experience" charge added to a typical $10 movie ticket, or casual dining at Fork & Screen for an added $10 per ticket. The experience charges are deducted from the final food-beverage bill, AMC said.

In addition to the in-theater dining, AMC's food and beverage program includes the bar-lounge MacGuffins — named for a plot device popularized by director Alfred Hitchcock — offering food and drinks for before and after movies.

The just-opened West Orange location has four auditoriums in the premium Cinema Suites option, featuring reserved seating with seat-side service in luxury recliners. The menu includes Bleu Cheese Chips, priced at $8.49; Blackened Salmon, $12.99; and Lobster Ravioli, $17.99. Guests must be 21 or older.

The five Fork & Screen auditoriums are more casual with table-top dining. The menu includes Crab Rangoon Dip, $7.99; Thai Coconut Chicken Tenders, $11.99; and Chocolate Loving Spoon Cake, $6.49. Guests must be 18 or older unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.”

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

Rabu, 17 November 2010

Bob Evans understands the Top 6 reasons consumers are buying ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat food!


Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s for food marketing are a path for chain restaurant success. 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.

Bob Evans stores are now reversing course and focusing on the 5 P’s of retail foodservice marketing. Steve Davis Bob Evans CEO. Stated “Carryout is a growth opportunity for us. In five Ohio stores equipped with a “Taste of the Farm” grab-and-go area to push carryout, off-premise sales are outpacing the rest of the system, Davis said. Those units also recorded a rise in dine-in sales, they added. Carryout sales now represent 11 percent of sales at Bob Evans “

Companies that develop a platform that allows meal co-creation; in the car, at the office or at home are winning the heart’s and minds of today’s retail food consumer. The grocerant niche comprised of the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food is driving the success of the retail foodservice today.

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 7 & Eleven.

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.

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

Selasa, 16 November 2010

Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food continues expanding points of distribution success.


Is the golden ear of chain restaurants over? Growth within the grocerant sector of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared food continues to expanding. Drug stores chains Walgreens, Rite Aide, Dollar Stores, even Sears and Target are now selling fresh prepared food.

The NPD Groups .Bonnie Riggs, told Convenience Store News. "The vast majority of c-stores' business is takeout, which accounts for 95 percent of all visits, with the greatest percent of the business occurring at the morning meal and snacks, but lunch meal business is growing strongly," she said.

The C-store sector’s overall lunch business was up 4 % conveniences stores that are selling fresh prepared food they are up even more. The c-store industry's largest niche is snack business, which has remained stable. "In this downturn, 'flat' is the new up," she said.

The big news is that, the number of quick-service restaurants declined 1 percent, or 2,521 units, from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010, according to NPD's Spring 2010 ReCount, a census of U.S. commercial restaurant locations.

Even worse, visits to U.S. restaurants declined 3 percent for the year ended May 2010. Plus, consumer spending at restaurants declined “1 percent, the first decline in dollars NPD reported since it began tracking the foodservice industry nearly 35 years ago.” Success does leave clues and repositioning while focusing the evolving consumer is clue number one.

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

Senin, 15 November 2010

Mobile Marketing and consumer are ubiquitous if you want them get them!


Within the grocerant niche of fresh prepared ready-eat and ready-to-heat food we now 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.

Mobile Marketing Can Be Broad, Variable, and Targeted

Right now, today, it’s possible to reach over 100 million Mobile numbers who have opted-in to get relevant text messages. This database can be broken down by hundreds of demographics, including geo location, age, income, homeownership, job title, musical interests, sports preferences, buying habits, etc.

Mobile allows the end user to mirror the computer experience while they are out in the world. Mobile allows companies the ability to deliver their brand or message at rates of return that are far exceeding other channels.

The bottom line (and the bottom line is what all marketers are interested in, right?) is: By implementing Mobile with your next direct mail or email program you can expect to see results skyrocket from previous campaigns.” If you have more questions contact Dean at dean@themobilexperience.com.

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

Jumat, 12 November 2010

Mintel: chain foodservice operators; the status quo is not.


Visceral menu boards and or menu delivery improvements will be one of the many trends that retail foodservice operators with be addressing in 2011. Healthier meal options and more and more transparency the status quo will simply not work in times of increased competition and economic transition. The grocerant niche filled with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food leading the charge, opening new avenues of distribution. Here is some of what Mintel had to say:

1. Healthy by Association

Sixty-two percent of consumers say they plan to eat healthier in the upcoming year, but many complain that healthier food doesn’t taste as good without the added sugar, sodium and fat. Restaurants will address this problem by swapping in ‘healthier’ ingredients to their patrons’ favorite dishes and positioning them to appear better-for-you.

For instance, Taco Bell has quietly reduced sodium at 150 stores in the Dallas market, while Jason’s Deli promotes its food as being free from high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), trans fats or pesticides. Consumers enjoy visiting restaurants that are perceived as healthy because these venues make them feel good about themselves and their meal choices. Consumers might opt to visit the ‘healthy’ restaurant, but be wooed by the not-so-healthy LTOs offered at these places.

2. Automated Menus

Convenience and technology will form the perfect union this year as restaurant-goers will see an increase in automated menus at their favorite establishments. These electronic order-takers will provide customers with the opportunity to order food to their specifications in do-it-yourself style, thus reducing the restaurant’s reliance on front-of-house staff, as well as full-time employees. Automated menus, in addition to mobile applications, will allow restaurants to reach a younger, more mobile consumer.

3. Transparency

Consumers want to know what they’re eating, and the recently passed healthcare bill mandates such disclosure. Restaurants with 20+ units are now required to list calorie counts on their menus. Consumers seem happy with the impending disclosure, as 61% agree that restaurants should post nutritional information, like calorie counts and fat grams, on menus. More cities will start forcing restaurants to visibly display their letter grades from local health departments, further increasing menu transparency.

4. Indigenous Ingredients

While the local food movement continues to grow, the push toward indigenous ingredients takes that trend a step further. In 2011, we will see restaurants incorporating more traditional or authentic ingredients to their ethnic or globally-positioned entrees. One example of this trend is Frontera Grill’s Panucho Yacateco, an entrée that boasts a traditional Yucatan crispy tortilla filled with black beans and hard-boiled egg with shredded chicken in tangy escabeche. “Local" as an ingredient marketing claim has grown by 15% from 2Q09 to 2Q10, according to Mintel Menu Insights, and it’s likely that number will increase in the coming year.

5. Exemptions to the Rule

A vast majority of restaurants will have to disclose calorie counts on their menus, but that rule doesn’t apply to LTOs. Operators will take advantage of this loophole by offering less-than-healthy novelty or seasonal menu items, allowing customers to indulge in a guilty treat, without feeling pressured to make a healthier menu choice. As it stands, 43% of consumers say they’re likely to change what they order when calorie counts are listed on the menu. LTOs allow consumers the occasional opportunity to indulge in a meal out.

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

Rabu, 10 November 2010

Fresh prepared ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat; Rutter’s Pizza is a hit!


Grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food has been driving top line sales and bottom line profits around the country. Most importantly grocerant ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food is building customer frequency and loyalty. Rutter’s has understood this and capitalizing on the trend.

Rutter’s fresh-baked pizza is “prepared within three minutes -- comes in cheese and pepperoni and for no additional cost customers can add as many as six toppings that include: onion, mushroom, green pepper, sweet pepper, jalapeno pepper and black olive.”

Look out Pizza Hut and Papa Murphy’s Jerry Weiner, vice president of food service said in a statement. "They can stop by Rutter's for a hot pizza in a matter of minutes or bake one at home. Either way, they're getting a delicious meal.

Rutter's continues coddling consumer choice and offers a "take and bake" identical version of the pizza -- in cheese and pepperoni flavors -- in its refrigerated sandwich case”, Weiner said. Jerry Weiner and Rutter’s are doing things right. If success leaves clues this company is one too watch.

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

Wendy’s can’t get out of its own way.


Food manufactures and food retailers that are embracing the grocerant niche filled with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food are garnering market share from legacy company’s that just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Many companies are entering the fresh prepared food niche for the first time.

Consensus decision making does not work well in the creative process. Given the ideation must accomplish a set of goals; those goals can’t be defined by 15, 20 and 25 year franchisee’s who want to remember yesterday and look backward rather than look at today let alone look forward. Success can be grounded in the past but must be contemporized for today’s consumer.

Restaurant consumers are dynamic not static. Wendy’s customers of 15, 20 and 25 years ago are older. 
They like the brand but don’t eat burgers, fries and frosty’s as much or as often use too. Reverting to copy cat marketing once again Wendy’s misses the mark. This time copying Burger Kings “bigger burger” theme is not good enough. Just look at the results of Burger King, how well did it work for them?

While other restaurant chains are reporting up sales numbers Wendy’s/Arby’s Group is not. Recycling old ideas that did not work and copy cat positioning are not steps too growth or profitability. Retail foodservice success is can be found in new product for today’s customers. Wendy’s appears to want to do what it has always done. How well do you think that will work?

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

Selasa, 09 November 2010

Foodservice consumers drive change, success does leave clues.


The grocerant niche filled with ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh and prepared food is a direct result of retailers following the consumer. Mix & Match meal components are a simple outcrop of meal bundling that started with McDonalds. Consumer love choice and McDonalds meal deals bundle choice while delivering on the promise. The meal deals improve transaction times.

When will McDonalds begin offering bundled family entrée’s the ilk of “Big Macaroni Cheese” or “Spaghetti already” in less time than you think. Don’t even begin to say you don’t think so. McDonalds is the of the most successful retail food company in the world. Here is a glimpse of how they have changed as written by Mark Albright, a Times staff writer “

Joe David compared a McDonald's his son just opened near Spring Hill to the one his own father opened in 1962 near Clearwater High School.

"This new store is on a different planet," said the 63-year-old owner of 12 McDonald's.

Under neon golden arches, his father's store sold burgers for 15 cents, fries for a dime. There was only walk-up window service, no dining room or drive-through.

His son's store, a prototype McDonald's on Spring Hill Drive by the Suncoast Parkway in Hernando County, comes fully loaded with extras that have been spreading across the chain the past few years: a double drive-through loaded with enough technology to get lines of motorists in and out in an average of 2.5 minutes, a menu aimed at silencing nutritionists with some healthier choices, and a parade of new items that soon will extend to hot oatmeal 24/7.

But it's packaged in a new box designed to become only the third major generation of the McDonald's look. The red has been toned down to terra-cotta. The golden arches are now positioned between yellow awnings and a gently curved, lit yellow line called the "eyebrow" that tops the marquee. The interior comes with a dark wood-like ceiling and floor, cut stone walls and Corian countertops. It looks more like Starbucks than the province of Mayor McCheese.

The contemporary vibe, oversized booths, flat-screen TVs, free wi-fi and 16-person communal table fit the McDonald's menu, which has shifted to people who snack around the clock.

"It's a comfortable space to hang out," said Josh David, the 32-year-old owner. "We get moms and businesspeople, after school it's students and, in the evening, sports teams." Success does leave clues and no one in the retail foodservice industry has had the success of McDonalds.

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

Senin, 08 November 2010

Which restaurant and grocery store chains will go the way of Tower Records?


The grocerant niche is evolving faster than legacy chains are willing to admit. The grocerant niche is developing new avenues of distribution, top line fresh prepared food sales/growth and bottom line profits for companies that never or haven’t in years sold fresh prepared food the ilk of Walgreens, Rite Aid, Sears, Amazon and 7 Eleven.

When Dominos pizza started opening “delivery only” locations around the country, Pizza Hut was the sector industry leader with Red Roof Pizza Hut locations nationwide. Pizza Hut senior executives at the time scoffed at the brash upstart and never took it seriously. After years of denial and market share capitulation by once proud industry sector leader, Pizza Hut was sold to Yum Brands.

Today the pizza industry is now 50% grocery and 50% restaurant sales. O ’how times have changed. Restaurant and grocery chains are learning denial is not a step to success. Burger Chef, grocery store chain A & P, are both all but gone. At one time each was # 1 in units and sales within their niche

Technology and consumer meal preference behavior are driving change. We all know how fast Tower Records collapsed to online music downloading. The foodservice industry is moving fast, with the grocerant niche garnering the lion’s share of new business.

The WSJ reports that “Cable companies have been losing TV subscribers at an ever faster rate in the last few months, and satellite TV isn't picking up the slack. That could be a sign that Internet TV services such as Netflix and Hulu are finally starting to entice people to cancel cable, though company executives are pointing to the weak economy and housing market for now.” This action has been called “cord-cutting”.

Where is your food brand going, where are your customer going? Don’t let your retail food customer cut the cord too your brand. Its time to understand why the Convenience store industry, Drug Store industry, Dollar Store industry and legacy grocery stores have all starting selling fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food. This convergence of food consumers and new avenues of distribution will forever change food industry retailing.

Is your company ready for the grocerant niche it or will your company go the way of Tower Records. Dominos Pizza took the first step and I am sure will continue to evolve with the times, changing and adding new core prodcuts.  What is your company doing?

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

Jumat, 05 November 2010

Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared food leverages better for you to drive grocery sector sales.


Food manufactures continue to find success with ready-to-eat and ready to heat 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) 2010 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 trip’s, but that may be a outdated legacy metric’ focused more on Wall Street than the consumer.

While it was documented that last year 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 A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions® visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

Kamis, 04 November 2010

The global attractiveness of the grocerant niche drives sales.


“How can you govern a country that has 246 varieties of cheese?” by Charles de Gaulle

The French have been producing and selling sous vide products for years. In fact Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price was in large part developed visiting, studying tracking the success of sous vide and other prepared food products in France.

The grocerant niche focusing on fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food was made to order in France. The French consumer loves to eat customized food products that are or can be localized with flavor or product the sous vide process allows them to do that.

In a country with at least 246 types of cheese chef’s understand the need for customized products. The grocerant niche continues to grow in France and expand with some chefs now utilizing molecular gastronomy. Fear not the focus is on Artisans and Authenticity no matter how the food is prepared will continue to rule the day in France and around the world.

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

Rabu, 03 November 2010

The decade of the grocerant niche is evolving at break neck speed.


Ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food that can be portable is now being sold at traditional restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, C-stores and dollar stores. Blend in 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 food products, 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.

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 cater 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. Times are evolving and the grocerant niche is leading the pack in 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

Selasa, 02 November 2010

Under the Foodservice umbrella growth can be found in the grocerant niche.


Is your retail foodservice chain like a Disney Movie, where everything is happy at the end of each month where sales and profits are up. Then you most likely have entered the grocerant niche. Grocery stores, Restaurants, Convenience stores, Dollar Stores, Mobile food trucks and Kiosk are all improving the quality of the food that they sell. The race for share of stomach has never been at a faster or more focused pace.

Consumers want to feel connected to you brand and your brand must remain relevant in the minds eye of the consumer. 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. Drug stores and Dollar stores are now clamoring traditional restaurant and grocery stores customers.

Its time that brand managers challenge the premise of all new food product ideations, pressing, probing and prodding development teams to develop new products for each new avenue of distribution. Brand protectionism never works. The retail foodservice consumer is dynamic not static and the opportunity for ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food has never been greater. Its time to take a close look at what is under your foodservice umbrella.

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

Senin, 01 November 2010

Top 6 reasons consumers are buying ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat food!


Companies that develop a platform that allows meal co-creation; in the car, at the office or at home are winning the heart’s and minds of today’s retail food consumer. The grocerant niche comprised of the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food is driving the success of the retail foodservice today.

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 7 & Eleven.

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.

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

Jumat, 29 Oktober 2010

Consumers like Private label food both ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat.


Food retail brand managers can find jobs in the grocerant sector. Renewed and refocused opportunity for food marketing brand managers is developing in the Grocerant niche. The unheralded stellar performance produced by national private label product brand managers established metrics for future success.

In a 2010 Consumer Reports in a head-to-head qualitative blind taste test 29 store branded food products were tested. Get this, 23 of the 29 private label store branded products scored as good as or better than the national brand. Private label products are set to continue garnering share in 2011.

Grocerant prepared food that is ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat is now finding its way in large store formats like Safeway’s Lifestyle stores, HEB’s Central Market, Harris Teeter and Buehler’s. Utilizing traditional category management techniques all of these companies are seeing success. However those that have incorporated Brand Marketing into their food offerings and positioning strategy have seen increased customer frequency and niche margins rise.

The same is occurring in the Convenience store side with companies like AMPM bundling meal deals and new products, Racetrac improving coffee and Quick Trip growing with solid consistent product offerings.

Branding the food offerings by day part or entrée time will bring with it the opportunity to build top-line revenue and bottom-line profits. Watch for Brand Managers being hired in each of these channels.

http://www.foodservice.com/articles/show.cfm?contentid=4112&title=Restaurant Consumer Discontinuity

Outside eyes can deliver top 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 on Facebook at Steven Johnson

Rabu, 27 Oktober 2010

Time for Brinker’s Doug Brooks to start reading this blog.


Brand protectionism never works. Brinker International Inc lead by Doug Brooks has continued to operate under the Norman Brinker rules of chain restaurant operations. That worked well during the golden age of chain restaurants. The problem is the golden age of chain restaurants ended in 2005 as we have well documented in our white paper on Restaurant Consumer Discontinuity. Doug, the customers are not static they are dynamic. It’s time that Chili’s become a dynamic chain again.

How many employees in the marketing department at Chili’s have Masters Degree in Food Marketing? Heck, how many have Masters Degree’s in Marketing? Great people doing the same things that they have always done worked well during the golden era of chain restaurants. However you will not get the desired results when the customers have moved and your mindset has not.

The picture for the restaurant industry is brightening up and showing signs of recovery. While Chili’s sales continue to decline and today reported down almost 8 percent. Chili’s no longer leads within it’s niche. Chili’s has lost ground in the” beleaguered bar and grill segment” to companies the likes of Ruby Tuesday and Applebee’s.

Doug Brooks stated on the conference call that “if sales gains remain elusive in the short term, Brinker would need to "transform" its business model”. Doing nothing, waiting to see what the economy is going to do is doing harm. Times have changed, the customer has evolved it’s time that Brinker International evolve. Doug, success leave’s clues and many of us have been following what works.

Outside eyes can deliver top 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 on Facebook at Steven Johnson

The frozen “Food Court” is contemporary consumer relevance.


If success leaves clues then we all need to listen when grocery store category managers continue referring to the freezer aisle as the new restaurant "frozen food court". Sales of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. frozen retail items climbed 117 percent to $14.5 million in September 2010, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI) it must be noted that IRI does not track sales at Wal-Mart.

Nations Restaurant News reports that “California Pizza Kitchen’s line of frozen pizzas, now produced through Nestlé, has earned the company tens of millions of dollars in licensing revenues. Sold at 22,000 U.S. groceries, CPK’s frozen items generated $159.8 million in sales for 2009, which in turn created $7.7 million in fees for the gourmet pizza chain.”

Foodservice Solutions® has been reporting on this topic of many years. Steven Johnson’s article The frozen “Food Court” is the new restaurant real estate play! Is the second most view article of all time at Foodservice.com here is the direct link: www.foodservice.com/blogs/show.cfm?contentid=14231

Foodservice Solutions®, the Hartman Group, and Broad Street Licensing Group recently announced a ground-breaking joint venture to study the food marketplace, including the game-changing developments that have rocked the worlds of retailers, manufacturers and restaurants. The Hartman Group, known for its highly-respected research studies, will work with Steven Johnson, President of Foodservice Solutions® and BSLG’s Bill Cross, VP of Restaurant & Food Brand Licensing, and the recognized industry expert on leveraging restaurant and food brands to retail.

If your interested in understanding new channel competition and its impact on retailers and foodservice operators, including restaurants contact Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. The study is titled: Share of Stomach: Who’s Eating What—and Who’s Getting Eaten—in Today’s Brave New Food Marketplace. You can request a copy by of the study by leaving a comment below or Email Steve Johnson.

Selasa, 26 Oktober 2010

Convenience stores vs. restaurants vs. grocery stores; is a price war brewing?


Convenience store sector sales and profits continue to rise thanks in large part to the vast expansion of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared food. Companies like Sheetz, Wawa and now 7-Eleven are rolling out expanded fresh prepared food options. While the c-store sector experienced 7 % growth overall the food portion was well into double digits sector wide.

Without doubt the quality of fresh prepared food at most conveniences stores is legions ahead of where it was 5 years ago. Consumers understand that and are responding positively. The conundrum for the restaurateur is how do you market “value” without coming off as cheap or being a direct competitor of an c-stores? Grocery stores are now bundling ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat prepared family meals in a value package recapturing consumers.

The retail food industry is about share of stomach; each sector grocery, convenience store and restaurant all are revisiting food product offerings, meal bundling and product positioning. All are now focused on ready-to-eat and ready to heat prepared food. Many are adopting Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price.

The ready-to-eat ready-to-heat retail food price + value + service equilibrium continues resetting. Which sector, company or product do you see stepping up and standing out?

Understanding, creating or identifying distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part in an area Foodservice Solutions® has out preformed. Outside eyes can bring new light and assist in your pace of concept growth, redevelopment and deployment of new products. Grocerant specialist can work with you to identify distinctive differentiated food consumables call Foodservice Solutions® today.

Senin, 25 Oktober 2010

Restaurant copy cat marketing causes consternation for hedge funds.


Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Panera Bread Co., Domino's Pizza Inc. are the names of companies that hedge fund managers called last week and asked why can’t my “---- fill in the blank company” be like that?. Each of the companies just mentioned has recently cited traffic driven sales growth and or double-digit increases in sales, profits or both.

Restaurant sales have traditionally been tied to unemployment. While unemployment relentlessly hangs around 9.6% many hedge fund managers are either ready to bail out of their restaurant investment or bottom fishing and looking for opportunity.

Out of abundance of caution CEO’s and CMO’s that chose not to lead, but rather copy are now either looking for jobs or additional investors. Chipotle, Panera, and Domino’s built on core brand values while focusing on the customer; and it has paid off. Each leads with clear differentiated positioning.

Sonic Corp., Romano's Macaroni Grill, Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, have the same executives or recycled industry veterans that spent more time on “doing no harm” than researching and focusing on the customer.

Each niche within the industry has winners and losers. Some like Wendy’s/Arby’s group interestingly chose not to lead but copy others first and then go backward. If you were to look at their current salad ad you might think this was the third time around. Yes, different salad recycled ad why? The consumer is dynamic not static, during tough economic times no one wants to stay here and no one wants go backward.

Customers look forward; they want new, different yet familiar products. Successful food retail operators are now adopting Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price within each niche of the industry. Here is an example of a company moving restaurants moving forward with technomogy: www.ipadmenu.com.au

Hedge fund managers that are bottom fishing and want to run a food company like the one they remember when they grew up be forewarned. The customer has changed and the brand must as well. The food customer is dynamic not static. Those who sit and wait will lose. Success does leave clues and following the customer is one of 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