Homemeal replacement niche is the future of Foodservice. By: Steven A. Johnson (Published in Nations Restaurant News August 19, 1996.) Harkin back with this success clue by me (Steven Johnson) you will soon understand why this niche continues to boom exceeding even my expectations.
Combine an intelligent, sophisticated grocery store food operations manager with a contemporary, insightful restaurateur and what you get is a grocerant called Eatzi’s.
Most of you have read or hear of the $260,000 per week that Tony Tedesco of Brinker International Inc. and Phil Romano have generated with their concept Eatzi’s. It took three years and an untold sum to create and is not the end of the evolution of the home-meal-replacement niche. It is the most successful step so far. Together they understand that the eating habits of the American public have changed and continue to do so. A recent government study of 15,128 individuals more than 20 years old showed that 27.2 percent of women and 25.5 percent of men have four eating occasions per day, and another 15.4 percent of both men and women have five eating occasions. Even more surprising, 7.5 percent of the population have six occasions.
Than finding creates a huge increase in customer opportunities for all concepts branded or otherwise. Romano and Tedesco combined the variety, freshness, quality and an interactive feel that restaurants need in today’s market with the speed, efficiency and value people expect from grocery stores. Mindful of portion sizes and the additional eating frequency of today’s consumer, they have packaged and provided items to fill the “gaps’. They have combined the best of restaurants, food courts and home meal replacement concepts with the quality food and beverage items from the grocery segment. That flexible blend is extremely consumer acceptable and has a formidable natural frequency rate as its core customer base. Eatzi’s customers frequency rate alone is a strong indicator that home meal replacement is a trend rather than a fad.
The single most import argument that it is a trend may be its attractiveness to the sophisticated consumer who is more that 50 years old. Estimates are that one third of the U.S. population will be more that 50 by 2010, up from one quarter in 1991. All business in the sectors from computers, home business and retail operators need to take note of this group’s growth rate, disposal income and eating habits. The Senor Network, a Stamford, Conn. Based marketing and research company geared to older consumers. Recently stated that “simply based on population growth trends, if a product is marketed to the 50 plus audience and maintains its market share, it should increase in sales be 35 to 40 to 50 percent in the next 20 years. A brand targeted at the zero-to-50 age group will be flat in sales.
Understanding that the frequency of eating for people in their 50s,60s, 70s, is on the increase while their dining out experience many be tapering off, we should all be convinced that Grocerants will flourish well into the future with national branded chains and independents vying for a piece of the pie.
The evolution of the home meal replacement niche is far from complete; it will be growing rapidly in the future. Don’t fear, it will increase consumer satisfaction, complementing both the grocery and restaurant segments. It will not be replacing the restaurants or grocery stores of today. However, it will change the types of food and the way they are sold at each. Great credit should be given to Romano and Tedesco for understanding and identifying new and powerful niche. They understand that profit does not just happen, it is created, and it should be deliberate.
Grocery store operators and restaurant operators need to remember this rule. Say no to change and don’t grow; say yes and try your very best. Reputations are success come when you are searching for things that haven’t been done and doing them. Dual or multi-branded concept engineering is here, successful and growing rapidly. Combine with a forward thinking home meal replacement; it is a sure formula for continued growth and outstanding success for Grocerants.
Wow it’s been quite a ride; I thank all of you for your business and participation in this niche. For more on the continued growth of this niche Bing or Google: Steven Johnson Grocerants