Retail foodservice is evolving at breakneck speed once again this time within the Grocerant niche. 1955 to 2005 was the Golden Era for the restaurant industry. It was a time that opening new restaurants and finding success began to define the American Dream. It was a time that chain restaurants flourished and each consecutive year American consumers spent more of their income for Food Away Home than they did for Food At Home. That all changed in 2005 as we highlighted in our white paper Restaurant Consumer Discontinuity. In 2005 consumers broke that trend line and began to more for Food At Home than Food Away From Home.
What is evolving now is clear. The retail food shopper is migrating too to the Grocerant Niche. How, When and Where consumers shop is as important as the ever increasing lack of time consumers have to prepare a meal. Coupled that with what we at Foodservice Solutions have dub THE 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome and you simply find happy consumers eating fresh prepared food at home. That food in most cases was bought at a restaurant for Take-Out or via the Drive Thru, Grocery Store Deli, Convenience Store or Drug Store fresh food section. Restaurants need to be concerned.
Publix has a new marketing approach that puts them in direct competition with quick-service restaurants. Understanding that they (Publix) like most grocery stores have been perceived as providing slow service at the Deli counter and that is a competitive disadvantage. Publix has a new marketing program where a customer can order a sub, sandwich, salad or side dish online or via a smartphone in advance. Go to the deli counter, provide their name or order number and pick up the food with no waiting.
Dwaine Stevens, Publix spokesman said that “The overall concept of this pilot program in to enhance the customer experience by elevating the level of service given.” Our previous research shows that in will increase customer frequency, build customer loyalty all the while building top line sales and bottom line profits. John Fleming, director of communication at Florida Retail Federation says “It really is an example of a grocery store competing like a quick-service restaurant.”
Price Chopper Supermarkets on the other had announced that their new concept store would have 16 quick service dinning concepts. They do not mean fast food they mean good food served fast. They are not so much focused on the QSR sector but more fast casual and casual dining.
Here are just some of the concepts styles that they plan to include: Ben & Bill’s NYC-Style deli, a Mexican-themed restaurant, a pizzeria, a sub shop, a New England-style fish fry, a full-service salad bar and a Chef’s Grill serving steak and seafood. This will not be your average supermarket. With all food offered fresh prepared and offered for Take-out. There will be in-store seating for 140 as well as seasonal outdoor seating. Steaks, Seafood and Fish Fry how do you say competition for Table Service Restaurants, and Fast Casual as well? I repeat Restaurants need to be concerned.
Wegmans, Whole Foods and Eatzi’s fresh prepared food is focused at the highest quality and positioning in the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food Grocerant Niche. Each of these three food retailers are expanding with new locations, more fresh food offering and leveraging Mix and Match menu bundling that complement family meal cohesion.
While other industry thought leaders publish trend list for 2013. We continue to focus on consumer buying patterns, and major directional shifts in retail food spending. Customer migration into the ever expanding grocerant niche is the most significant ongoing event in food retailing. Are you a restaurateur looking for success clues to maintain market share or grow market share? If so We can Help. Are you a C-store or Supermarket ready to re-position within the Grocerant niche? We can Help.
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson 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. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant