Monday, July 15, 2013

Are Restaurant Marketers the Rip Van Winkles of Food Marketing?

Restaurant brand marketers are once again scrambling for customers counts and sales.  June’s restaurant sales numbers were flat once again. All the while grocery store deli sector and convenience stores continue to garner both top line fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food sales and profits. There is a battle for share of stomach underway and many restaurant marketers seeming slept through the undercurrents of change in denial, or continued leveraging the outdated metric of brand protectionism.

Understanding differentiating drivers of today is key if a food retailer wants to grow or maintain share of stomach particularly within the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh food grocerant niche marketplace.  Consumer marketing migration is underway.  New avenues of fresh food distribution are emerging and garnering acceptance from consumers. Is your brand growing both the top and bottom line?

Background with Facts

The United States Census reported that 50% of adults over the age of 18 are single. No one can be surprised by the evolution of and rapid developments in the retail food space.  Nielsen reports that in 2013 there are more convenience stores in the United States than the number of drugstores, supermarkets and dollar stores combined.

Well-Funded Competitors within Ready-2-Eat Space.

Wawa a Northeastern U.S. based C-store company has committed 575+ Million dollars too entering the Florida market looking for fresh ready-2-eat food sales success. Wawa has positioned themselves as Fast Casual To-Go. Yes, a C-store finding success in the restaurant industry Fast Casual Space.
Grocerant niche ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food is blurring the line between Convenience stores, Restaurants, Chain Drug stores, and Supermarkets. Grocerant food targets the time-starved consumers, not with ingredients to make from scratch rather with ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat food components that can be bundled into a personalized customized family meal. What is it some restaurant chains don’t understand?
Where are your customers going to get dinner?
81% of American consumers are unsure about what’s for dinner at 4 PM, found Foodservice Solutions® in 2011 Grocerant study. Consumers are looking for high quality ready-2-eat foods and ready-2-heat meals.  A 2013 RetailNet Group webinar stated that time starved consumers want to purchase fresh prepared meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking. Mix and Match meal component bundling is a hallmark of the Grocerant niche. Restaurant consumers are time starved? How has your company addressed time starved consumers?  Are you still doing what you did 10 years ago?  Are you or is your company Rip Van Winkle?
Differentiating Drivers: Consumers Want Fresh Ready-2-Eat Food

90 percent of people look for deals to get more value when making food purchases in new national research survey conducted by DiGiorno January 2013.

US consumers estimate that restaurant rewards program would increase their visit rate to a particular restaurant by average of 35%, according to new study; 65% would recommend restaurant more to others if that restaurant offered rewards program in a study by LoyaltyPlus January 2013

Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed June 2013, “the term “marketing” is dying out and, in its place brands are becoming “publishers” and telling their own stories” Grocerant niche fresh food is the story-line consumers are attracted too.

US millennials seem to be spending more money than other generations when it comes to dining out, industry officials noted as reported by Ginia Bellafonte of the New York Times as a percent of income January 2013.
Food Value Equilibrium in Flux

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.  Outside eyes can bring new light and assist in your successful growth by creating a platform of insights for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization. Don’t wake up one day and find that you or your company slept; while consumers were on the move.

Interested in learning how the 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization contact us via Email us at: or visit Johnson, or


  1. Great review for the restaurants marketers ,really interesting .Restaurant Marketing

  2. We work along side senior executives of some of the world’s most successful foodservice and hospitality companies to visualize, plan and implement innovative ideas for leapfrogging the competition.