Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kid Friendly C-stores Winning at Retail

Success does leave clues and convenience stores offering fresh food offerings for the entire family including children are garnering more visits, larger checks, all while evolving  a positive image for their brand, the convenience store sector, and grocerant niche fresh prepared food sales according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.  

Empowering solutions by offering speed and convenience the 155,000 convenience stores the United States, have found a combination of success steps to garner customers from both legacy grocery store chain and legacy chain restaurants., in partnership with its sister company Carbonview Research, “recently surveyed 1,505 consumers who shop at a convenience store at least once a month for its eighth-annual Realities of the Aisle consumer study. The sample of respondents was obtained from a national panel, representing the total population based on gender, age, region, income, and presence of children in the household. The yearly survey essentially asks respondents the who, what, when, where, why and how of their shopping habits.”

Carbonview Research delved into the demographic profile of c-store shoppers  and “interestingly, the presence of children in the household seems to have the greatest influence over whether c-store shoppers choose to visit a small operator or a chain.”

In fact the study found “Shoppers sans kids at home — a majority of c-store shoppers, at 58 percent — show a striking preference for small operators: cited by 67.7 percent as their typical choice, compared to 56.9 percent who typically shop at a chain location. Among the 42 percent of c-store shoppers with children living in their household, more typically shop at chains (43.1 percent) than at small operators (32.3 percent).”  So as a retailer is chain or independent what is best? Here is some of what else they found:
1.       customer service, 66.5 percent of those who shop at small operators rated their usual store as excellent/very good.
2.       61.5 percent of chain shoppers who said the same about their usual c-store’s customer service.
3.       Small operators, they earn a higher rating on convenience, but by a very slim margin: 84.5 percent of those who shop at small operators rated their store as excellent/very good on convenience, one point higher than chain shoppers at 83.5 percent.
4.       There was some bad news for small operators, that news is customer service and convenience are the only attributes where they win out.
5.       Conversely, more chain shoppers than small-operator shoppers rate their usual c-store as excellent/very good in the areas of variety of products offered, price, quality of prepared food, and fun to shop.
6.       The two attributes where small operators lag chains most are variety of products offered, and quality of prepared food.  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Chipotle’s Visceral Engagement Is a Good Idea

 When sales are lagging and adults are still steering clear of your front door long after you resolved heightened awareness of foodborne illness at select locations.  One thing is clear you need more education and communication targeted with a proactive message about your new and improved operating standards focused at adults as you begin cultivating GenZ.  

Well that’s just what Chipotle Mexican Grill has done with its new original video series ‘RAD Lands’ to help educate families and kids ages 7 to 10 about where their food comes from and how it is prepared.  Executives at Chipotle stated that “RAD Lands,” is available for download exclusively on iTunes. 

The GEnZ focused series features celebrity chefs, musicians, and YouTube personalities, parents and kids alike might know the ilk of Amanda Freitag, Michael Voltaggio, Duff Goldman, the Neon Trees, Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, and rapper Biz Markie. The video segments also include instruction on preparing snacks and meals. 

Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle chief marketing and development officer  stated “Chipotle is ensuring that better food is accessible to everyone,…We created ‘RAD Lands’ to educate young eaters and their parents about food in an entertaining and engaging way. We don't advertise to kids, so the show is completely unbranded. We hope that it sparks conversation and curiosity among families, ideally leading to smarter and more informed choices about food.” 

Crumpacker continued “RAD Lands” episodes feature an animated segment called "The Cultivators" that follows a small rebel squad’s journey to help save the galaxy’s plants and animals. Note: there is a charge for the series.  Season one is available exclusively on iTunes in the United States and Canada for $4.99. Alternatively, families can download the first episode for free, and the remaining five episodes for $1.99 each. 

As part of the “RAD Lands” launch and to support school lunches, Chipotle will donate $100,000 to the Chef Ann Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with schools nationwide to provide the tools and resources they need to serve healthful and nutritious meals to students. 

To enhance the program’s reach to educators and students, Chipotle has partnered with Discovery Education, a leading provider of digital education content for K-12 classrooms, for RAD Lands In School. That online program for elementary students will launch later this spring, pairing “RAD Lands” episodes with lesson plans and activities.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Friday, March 24, 2017

Coastal Calling for a Legal Fish Bowl

Just when everyone was calling fast casual a floundering sector the Massachusetts based Legal Sea Foods is about to launch a new fast-casual spinoff called Legal Fish Bowl.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson believes there is a need in the marketplace for more quick service seafood restaurants. 

Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz was quoted saying “The quick-serve prototype is designed to appeal to time-pressed office workers, particularly at lunchtime.  Legal Fish Bowl, which is slated to open this spring, will be a build-your-own bowl concept, with seafood bowls priced at $10-$15. 

Customers can choose from a half dozen chef-created bowls or they can select their own ingredients.
Johnson believes that the proposed check average of $10 to $15 per meal at lunch time is a bit high even for downtown Boston.  However a prototype is just that and Legal Sea Foods team will leverage Limited time offers (LTO’s) to help figure out the right Price +Value +Service Equilibrium. 

Remember that Legal Sea Foods was founded in 1968 and currently operates 35 units in the U.S., making it the nation’s 166th largest chain, according to Technomic data. The company operates several other spinoffs, including the full-service Legal Test Kitchen and Caribbean-themed Legal C Bar.  Success does leave clues and the better-for-you ‘halo’ around seafood is our success clue for today.
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? Email us at: or visit: for more information.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Who Is Fact Checking Menu Items Authenticity GenZ & Millennials

Retail foodservice offering / menu’s require multiple flavors in order to garner and hold the attention of GenZ. The one clear advantage retailers focusing on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food have over all others is the ability to empower consumer choice every day when it comes to the inevitable question of the day.  What’s for Dinner? 

Clearly the grocerant niche has a retail advantage,  That advantage is in the ability to offer a wide variety of fresh prepared full flavored authentic ethnic single portion components that can be mix and matched into the perfect family meal according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.
We are so lucky that the United States has since its inception been a melting pot of ethnic diversity.  Never has a generation been as inclusive as ‘Generation Z’ (also known as Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Founders, Plurals, or the Homeland Generation). Notably GenZ is known for its widespread usage and adoption of everything on the Internet from a very young age. 

Ok, that said GenZ believes in transparency and food authenticity according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.  One example is not only do they want to know What’s for Dinner?  They want to know How it will be Delivery. They want to schedule the delivery time. They want to know how the food is prepared.  They want to know where the ingredients came from.  

The Hartman Group found, that the Gen Z generation is “likely to be more comfortable and familiar with different cultures, races and ethnicities than previous generations”…. The high degree of ethnic diversity, through personal interaction and technological connections, means Gen Z has long been exposed to global and regional foods, as well as the health and wellness benefits of their diets.” Thus according to the team at Foodservice Solutions® menus must have multiple flavor profiles.
Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food requires retailers to build in the ability for customer choice in meal component customization. While Millennials quest for discovery, Gen Z has a sense of exploring, adventure, trial all within the confines of authentic food from authentic natural source.  In fact they will search for original source seeking an item with fewest additives.
Gen Z’s familiarity and nearly instant use of the Internet has created a platform whereby they compare pricing, speed-of-service, menu product authenticity, and availability before must of us could or would consider reading a label.
Today differentiation does not mean different to Gen Z or Millennials what it does mean is familiar but with a twist.  More often than not today that twist is authenticity, ethnic inclusion, choice, and customization.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify, and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment, edifying your brand, or menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or