Friday, March 24, 2017

Costal 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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

At Starbucks Home Delivery is the Next Big Thing

One thing that the new CEO of Starbucks Kevin Johnson understands is technology and he understands that technology is integrated into our daily lives.  Johnson was well aware that retail foodservice digital ordering now accounts for 1.9 billion US foodservice visits per year according to the NPD Group.  

In fact that 1.9 billion visits was up 18% last year alone so without a doubt mobile apps are increasingly becoming a must-have for all retailers and consumers. So it’s no wonder that Starbucks launched its latest mobile ordering test feature in Hong Kong earlier this month, its executive director believes the next step for city coffee fans is to have their Starbucks order delivered straight to their doorstep.

Yes, you read that right just turn off the wake-up alarm on your phone, tap the Starbucks app and have your favorite morning coffee delivered.  Just think of the smile you will have when the perfect Grande’ Mocha arrives at the door as you pick up your paper. 

Norbert Tan, who is responsible for both Hong Know and Macau, said: “It’s not a question of if we will do it, it’s a question of when. Delivery is a big space that we’re looking into.”  While he declined to give a specific timetable, Tan said that if and when Starbucks does enter the home delivery market, it was imperative to impart the “Starbucks experience.”

Tan continued “There are many things to think about. The drink temperatures have got to be just right – you can’t deliver a frappucino that’s completely melted,” …Home delivery is just one of the ways that the global coffee brand is planning in a reinvention of itself to stay ahead of its competitors in the ever-crowded coffee market.

According to Tan  “Starbucks launched its mobile app in Hong Kong in 2013, which allows customers to link their loyalty cards to reload credit and even make cashless payments with their smartphone. The app currently has over 240,000 active users in Hong Kong, and 60 per cent of all its loyalty program members pay with the app.”

When Starbucks pushed out the “Mobile Order & Pay” feature across its 176 stores in the city and Macau earlier this month “Close to 70 per cent of our customers [place orders] to-go,” Tan said. “Our busiest periods are during the morning rush and lunch break ... what we are offering is an opportunity for customers to not have to wait in line.”

A week into the launch, 2 per cent of all Starbucks orders are now being placed via mobile ordering, with its busiest store clocking in 6 per cent of all transactions via the new feature. “Hongkongers are much more comfortable with mobile, there is a higher acceptance of mobile apps,” said Andrew Hui, head of marketing at Starbucks Hong Kong and Macau.

“That’s why we can reach 2 per cent so quickly. In comparison, the US took a year to reach 3 per cent.” In the US Dinner is the meal most often ordered digitally, and families are the heaviest users of digital ordering, NPD found. 

Half of digital orders come at dinner time, and 35 percent of digital orders include parties with children. People under age 35 and those with higher household incomes are among above-average users of digital ordering.

Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and food industry icon stated “Digital ordering is nor really about the app.”  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® agrees completely with Riggs and also believes that Starbucks with Kevin Johnson at the helm will drive incremental top line sales and bottom line profits utilizing industry leading technology.  O’s and as for my Grande’ Caramel Frappuccino with Whole, and chocolately chips I’ll have it time to arrive at my door at precisely 5:33 AM please.
Now that Starbucks is going to coffee delivered to my doorstep, I’m sure you will want yours delivered as well. Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead?
You can be sure Starbucks is Looking A Customer Ahead.  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Restaurants Quiver as C-Stores Leap Frog Grocers and Target Them

Customers, financial analyst, and legacy chain restaurants all understand just how successful the convenience store sector has been at garnering customers from legacy chain restaurants that stubbornly continue to do what they always have done and for the most part continue to do it the same way according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson

Legacy grocery stores have capitulated food sales to the Dollar store sector and the Convenience store sector for 15 years with no end in sight.  Now with 154,555+ C-stores in the United Sates as the end of 2016 and most of them selling more and more grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food legacy grocery stores have simply fallen out of favor with consumers according to Johnson.  

Knowing that there are now 27 restaurants selling Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food for every grocery store; C-stores are now targeting that sector with more fresh food and technology to speed service and drive down pricing according to Johnson. 

Two successful convenience retailers have upped the ante leveraging technology along with fresh food to lure incremental customers away from legacy restaurants and grocery stores at an ever faster pace.   Wheelys has new store that works entirely without employees as they integrated artificial intelligence that even greets customers. 

The other is Amazon and it new outlet Amazon Go.  As Amazon states Amazon Go "Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you're done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we'll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt." Thus reducing cost to run the store allowing for lower prices in turn a larger Share of Stomach according to our Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson. 

It’s time that the restaurant sector and legacy grocery sector look at evolving business models as the customer is dynamic not static and clearly the C-store sector is as well.  If the future has arrived for convenience stores and it does not require staff to manage the shelves or to take care of the register as is the case a Wheelys the competitive landscape has changed dramatically. 

Wheelys currently has two Wheelys 247 stores, one in Sweden and one in Shanghai, available to the public. These locations remain open for 24 hours throughout a week. An employee of the store only has to restock the merchandise on the shelves to take care of the store, and potentially clean up anything should a customer cause a mess.

The Amazon Go internal testing is complete albeit as with anything Amazon system tweaking will continue endlessly.  I have it on good authority that Amazon is simply awaiting approval from Washington State regulators for a liquor license so they can also sell alcohol when they open their doors to the public. Amazon Go could open to the public at any time once the liquor license is approved.  
Wheelys plans to license other Wheelys 247 to entrepreneurs interested in running their own business with more information on their website. As for Amazon they might or might not license their technology to other retailers.  One thing is for sure the speed in which a customer can get their prepared meals /  food, groceries, and sundries is being reduced and the price the items will be so competitive lacking the cost of labor that other retail sectors not acting dramatically just might be in peril.

Retail analyst Canaccord Genuity recently downgraded Sonic Corpon increased competition from convenience stores.   The halo of “better-for-you” was not enough to save Sprouts Farmers Market as operating a fresh food outlet focusing on simply “better-for-you’ food was not enough and Sprouts may now have to sell itself to survive.

Consumers are dynamic not static they understand that CPG foods sold as fresh are not.  Legacy grocery stores are fighting a losing battle if they think they can continue to tell that story and sing that song.  Restaurants are fighting a losing battle if they think that they can continue to run restaurants the way they did 10 years ago and simply raise prices to gloss over lost customers. They can’t. 

Are Convenience stores leapfrogging your company? Are you losing customers year over year?  Just remember customers are dynamic not static and your company must be as well. The price, service, value, equilibrium in foodservice retail is being disrupted by companies looking too new business models.  Is your company evolving fast enough?  Does your business model look more like yesterday than tomorrow?

Success does leave clues and since 1991 Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has been leaving clues to success for all.  Do you need or would you like Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.   Contact: or 253-759-7869