Friday, July 9, 2010

Roll, Roll, Roll, Away Roller Grill or legacy comfort zone.

Harkin back to the days that employee’s uniforms were black & white. Employees all dawned paper hats, a time that the roller grill was introduced and ready-to-eat hot prepared food was new to the Convenience store channel.

It was a time when the availability of food staples in extended hours of operations drove sales in this dynamic channel. The Convenience store channel continues to be dynamic, currently it is booming with fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food, what I call the grocerant sector.

I believe that differentiation does not mean different it means familiar within each food niche and this one is no different. Consumers young and old are demanding more choice, fresher quality and more contemporary food options. Fresh prepared food fits that niche to a Tee!

C-store global leader 7-Eleven has downplayed the roller grill recently while focusing on Stay Fresh Bananas, Pizza, Chicken Wings, Salads and Sandwiches. They are testing in new pilot stores their “latest insights into market trends to provide a range of 45 freshly prepared food products, including a hot breakfast menu and toasted sandwiches cooked to order.” This test includes a “café-esque range of hot lunch alternatives and will combine with Lavazza to offer barista-made coffee.”

Sheetz & Wawa both offer a full range of fresh prepared food choice including fresh salads and fruit options. Good companies do good things over and over again. Wawa CEO Howard Stoeckel detailed several efforts the convenience store chain is undertaking in during the economic slump the US is in, He stated "we're performing better than the vast majority of retailers," Fresh prepared ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat food products are strongly contributing to on-going sales and profit success

Will fresh win out over the roller grill or will legacy operators cling stay within their current comfort zone rather backing consumer focused fresh program. If success leaves clues one just might be that franchisee may want to Harkin back but will follow the customer all the way to the cash register. The visceral image of the roller grill may hold back more customers than it brings in. That is the reality of today.

Outside eyes can deliver top line insights 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 Johnson BING: Steven Johnson Grocerant

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