Thursday, May 23, 2019

Will Virtual Restaurants become food sector Disruptors?

Here we go again, the restaurant sector is facing challenges from outside the restaurant sector yet inside the food sector.  Back in the day pizza store fronts (delivery only) branded outlets displaced many Italian restaurants, they also replaced companies the ilk of Pizza Hut once had over 2,000 ‘red roof’ full-service restaurants.  According to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
All regular readers of this blog have driven by a virtual restaurant, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s and most of you have virtual restaurant meals delivered right to your door.  Then there are companies the ilk of Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, and Plated sure you have to prepare them at home, cook them, then do dishes. All the while with a virtual restaurant all you have to do is open the door and eat!
Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCards indicate consumers consider new virtual restaurants first to be ‘restaurant quality or better’ and second ‘a restaurant meal replacement’ and third ‘special occasion dinning’. Now for the undercurrents of success driving virtual restaurants and disruption:
1.       Online Ordering

2.       Free Wi-Fi
3.       Digital Menus
4.       Digital Loyalty
5.       Mobile Ordering

Just as the lines between retail sectors have grown thinner so have storefronts.  Today a storefront and can include your neighbor’s kitchen, Pop-Up shipping-container-size kitchens, grocery stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, and restaurants the ilk of Red Robin, Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
In a world where meal component assembly has become the new form of meal preparation with 83.7% of family meals having at least one fresh prepared meal component, the facts are clear cooking from scratch is a bygone era.  Our question today is doe’s your food retail outlet look more like yesterday or tomorrow?
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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What is Complexity Free Food

The impossible burger is complexity free in the minds-eye of the consumer as it has been defined with exceptional transparency according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
That transparency elevates the impossible burger to the status of grocerant niche ‘Better-for-you’ fresh prepared food.  Then when portable and portioned for one or two it will to drive demand in every sector of retail foodservice. 
Consumers today are seeking ‘better-for-you’ fresh prepared food as meal components that can be bundled in to a customized family meal according to Johnson. Does your team have the wrong definition for Grocerant? Do you understand the Grocerant niche?
Grocery stores of a bygone era thought they could respond to consumers demand to drive sales simply by opening more stores, larger stores, or ‘scale’ a fresh food department that looked like 1980’s rather than today.  The restaurant sector is hell bent that they will not let happen to them.  There are chains that will prove that wrong, however.
That did work when most food choice came from a can, a jar, or a box that could sit on a shelf for years and slotting fees paid for the shelf space. Simply put that was a mindset of yesterday’s grocery retailers the ilk of A&P and others still taking slotting fees.
Johnson continued “retailers back in the day felt that all they need was more scale to compete successfully with other grocery stores. Today consumers demand fresh grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat prepared food can be found at companies the ilk of Wegmans, Green Zebra Grocery, New Season Market, Wawa, Sheetz, KFC, McDonald’s, and Papa Murphy’s.
Complexity free in the minds-eye of the consumer according to the team at Tacoma, WA based means, less meal preparation time, little or no cooking, vegan, less food waste, less time shopping, less packaging, local, fresh fast food, in-season food, and portions for one or two.
 In fact, one of the key finding was no matter the size of the household fresh was best and the ability to mix and match meal components was crucial.  Does your company look more like yesterday or tomorrow?

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you 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, May 21, 2019

Fresh Food Grocerant Niche Private Label Brand Managers are Needed

Do you want to eat soup from a can? Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food, yes,  grocerant niche retail food offerings are driving top line growth in every sector of retail food service.  In 2019 according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® grocerant niche products are increasing top line revenue, customer continuity, bottom-line profits for both retailer and manufactures.
Customer continuity means maintaining a level of excitement in your menu local sustainable fresh food or food products that drive contemporized relevance for your customer in order to maintain or increase frequency levels for branded retailers.
Johnson believes that creating or identifying distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part is an area each brand must focus.  Understanding the unique balance between palate, price, pleasure and the consumer’s drive for qualitative distinctive differentiated new food consumables creates a platform for ongoing success.
In 2019 the food value proposition equilibrium for the consumer today balances; better for you, flavor, and traditional products all blended into something with a twist.  In industry speak, differentiated does not mean different to the consumer it means familiar.  With or help many private label brand managers have been contributing by expanding quality offerings while displacing legacy national brands.  Are you edifying your menu or product offerings?
Foodservice Solutions® team can bring outside eyes sheading new light and assist in your pace of growth, redevelopment, and deployment of your new menu’s sku’s with appropriate COG’s. The Foodservice Solutions® team is very good at assisting companies, teams, and individuals exceed their goals. The grocerant niche is in need of private label brand managers to assist in building long term brand value for both individual products and brands. Should we be talking with you?
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Can a Grocery Store Beat a Restaurant at Entertainment

Success does leave clues and regular reader of this blog know that restaurants that are consumer interactive and participatory continue to garner incremental customers. From TGI Friday’s wait staff, Texas de Brazil’s protein presentation, Inn & Out Burger, and Benihana we could go on for hours but interactive participatory entertainment drives sales according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®
Most of you have visited Eatzi’s and understand how a one-time restaurateur turned groceranteur found success.  Well, at Stew Leonard’s, combining interactive participatory customer engagement since 1969.  and entertainment.
If you run a restaurant and have not been to Stew Leonard’s you should. “There are aisles filled with animatronic singing poultry and vegetables, stuffed creatures that flip and, in a modern twist for today's consumer, there’s a selfie station where customers can pose with Clover the cow in a replica of Stew’s milk truck.
The simple fact is the zaniness of the stores can overshadow how vital customer service and product scouting is to the growing company. There are six Stew Leonard’s locations now in New York and Connecticut, with a seventh planned for New Jersey in the fall.
The store has a traditional motto: The customer is always right. But here this basic principle of retail gets the Stew Leonard treatment: outside of each store sits a three-ton granite rock etched with the saying: “Rule #1—The Customer is Always Right" and “Rule #2—If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1.” 
Today, many of you may take believe that but there is a reason that particular old adage is still around. Stew Leonard, Jr., the president and CEO who took the business over from his dad in the 1990s. “You’ve got to listen to the customers really and hear what they have to say,”.
Customers’ opinions are a big part of “Stew’s Tank,” a new program the grocery is rolling out. It’s Stew Leonard’s take on “Shark Tank,” the reality TV show where entrepreneurs compete for funding. For Stew’s Tank, New York-based food entrepreneurs will compete to have their products sold at the newly opened East Meadow, Long Island, location of Stew Leonard’s. The company plans to choose about 24 products to demo and sell for the month of June. Based mostly on sales and customer feedback, the grocery will pick about six new products to sell at all their locations.
Stew Leonard’s has no slotting fees, which makes it easier for companies to get their food in the door by selling only what customer want.  Not what food manufactures are paying you to place on the shelf.
Leonard said. “We deal with a lot of local, small vendors, and a lot of them can’t afford to have a slotting fee. Maybe that's one reason we get so many [new products]. There's really not any barriers to entry, I would say.”  Is your restaurant brand creating a platform of fresh food discovery?  How are you extending your brand invitation?  Grocery stores can be better entertainment retailers if you take your eye of the consumer.  Are you Looking A Customer Ahead?
Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson,  or
Are you Winning the Battle for Share of Stomach

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Six Success Insights From the 2019 NRA Show

I want to everyone for who attended my presentation Friday Night in Chicago pre-NRA Show.  I hope you are all enjoying the show and continue to garner success clues. For those of you who could not make it to NRA Chicago here are my five undercurrents of growth that are driving the continued expansion of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food marketplace in 2019. 
Foodservice Solutions® field team headed by our own Grocerant Guru® has conducted Grocerant ScoreCards since 1991.  Non-client specific information garnered from those Grocerant ScoreCards during 2019 was the source for our current findings. The five undercurrents driving grocerant growth are:
1.       Partnerships: Building a brand or edifying an existing food brand via B2B partnerships is the most effective way to extend your brand invitation, creating New Electricity.
2.       Price:  Continues to drive traffic it is that simple.  Maybe Aldi said it best “Poor people must save, rich people like too” and 63% of all restaurant traffic is now ‘Off-Premise’.  While value retailers are gaining share of dollars and locations
3.       Multicultural: 79% of Millennials report experimenting with meals, meal components from other countries monthly.  They were looking for full flavored food that is authentic.
4.       Eating-Out while Eating-In: 43% of all households include a restaurant prepared meal component monthly with the family dinner.  60% have place an On-line order from a restaurant for delivery within the past month.
5.       Millennials Matter: In search of fresh food discovery, 58% of Millennials are looking for ‘environmentally friendly food’.  Watch for the Impossible Burger and copycats take center stage over the next three years.
6.       Digital Marketing: 88% of customers research a restaurant online before dining — more than any other business type. Nothing else need be said here. 
 Simply put Grocerant ScoreCards provide real-time customer relevance in our data dependent intelligence age according to our own Grocerant Guru®. Do you understand the undercurrents of change driving foodservice growth in 2019?  Do you understand the importance of integrating consumer relevance into your brand messaging? What’s your new electricity for 2019?
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact:  the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. Visit: for more information
Battle for Share of Stomach

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Fresh Partnership Platform Creates New Electricity at Subway

Brand sustainability requires new consumers to drive continued sales and with the ‘halo’ of fresh food Subway is driving new brand electricity with its partnership with Disney according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Subway restaurants are granting every parent’s wish with an exclusive movie ticket offer to see Disney’s Aladdin, which is in theaters May 24. ow through June 27, guests will receive one child’s movie ticket to see Disney’s Aladdin with every Subway Fresh Fit for Kids meal purchased.
Each Fresh Fit for Kids meal will also include one of four collectible Disney’s Aladdin-themed activities. This offer is for a limited time only while supplies last at participating Subway restaurants in the U.S. How is your brand extending the ‘halo’ of better for you?  Subway’s Fresh Fit for Kids will be a home run according to Johnson.  It will provide a platform to attract new customers today and tomorrow.
Subway provides an alternative to traditional fast food and kids meals by offering billions of freshly made sandwich, salad and wrap combinations, including its Fresh Fit for Kids meal. Each kids’ meal features a variety of lean proteins, fresh veggies, like lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, whole grain certified bread, and no sugar added beverages, like 1 percent low-fat milk, or Honest Kids juice, and each kids’ meal is paired with a 100 percent fruit side.
How is your brand building new electricity? According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new menu related products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”
Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, free food / sampling, toy’s, beer, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, Fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
All food retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.  Are you looking a customer ahead?
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 and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Friday, May 17, 2019

New Packaging Drives Grocerant niche Fresh Food Sales

Ovens get hotter and faster driven with the latest advances in technology and now food packaging has evolved to help food retailers sell fresh food even faster according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  
I hope you can join me at the NRA Show beginning this weekend in Chicago where you will be able to witness just how durable, disposable and food safe in extreme heat that packaging has become.  If you have not heard of the SIX500™ rigid trays and bowls you will soon. 
They are the first and only oven-to-table grocerant niche containers designed to withstand 525° for up to six minutes. Reduce cook times from frozen, chilled or thawed. They are perfect for a full array of grocerant niche fresh prepared meals and meal components according to Johnson.
Consider that the new SIX500 can:
1.       Reduce costs – no need for additional tableware
2.       Quickly serve to guests after heating
3.       FDA compliant up to 525° for up to six minutes
4.       Highly versatile for variety of menu items
So, if your current packaging can’t take the heat – 525 degrees, to be precise – get of out the kitchen. At least after six minutes anyway. Such is the promise of the SIX500: a fiber-based tray designed to withstand 525° for up to six minutes.
As restaurants and food processors seek to reduce cook times with extreme ovens, the oven-to-table SIX500 keeps them moving at blazing speeds by eliminating the need to transfer between cooking and service dishes. Fewer transfers also reduces the risk of cross contamination.
I hope to see all of you at the NRA Show 2019 year and be sure to check out the hottest packaging innovations, by visiting HAVI at booth 3401/3601 at the National Restaurant Association show for a demonstration and hot snack. Success does leave clues and HAVI is our grocerant success clue for NRA 2019.  See, you at the show.
Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson,  or