Sunday, September 8, 2013

What is slowing restaurant sales?

Answer: The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome.  Restaurant sector sales stagnation is due to evolving consumer eating styles and preferences.  At the intersection of the consumer, technology and retail food sales we find the grocerant niche creating and expanding points of quality food distribution.  It’s at that intersection that Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru identified some universal commonalities driving consumers buying pattern changes.  Johnson calls it “The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome”.

The grocerant niche is the result of the blurring line between restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores all selling fresh prepared, portable, convenient meal solutions.  Targeted at the time-starved consumer with Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food components that are perceived “better for you”, and portioned for one or two. Consumers like the Convenient Meal Participation, Differentiation, Individualization / Family Customization that these retailers offer.

Restaurateurs need to be particularly mindful of developments within grocerant niche for they are driving the change within the price, value, service equilibrium in retail foodservice.

It is at the intersection of the consumer, technology and The 5 P’s of Food Marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability, and Price that retail food sales competition is expanding. Driving ever greater Mix and Match bundled meal options and new points of distribution for consumers.  Consumers love the on-the-go options in fact Zaget’s 2013 NYC Restaurant Survey found that in New York at-home meals surpassed dining out for the first time in 30 years. 

GrubHub the nation’s number one online and mobile food ordering service data reveled that pre-game orders spiked more than 35 % for the first four weeks of the 2012 professional football season when compared to the same timeframe during the 2011 season.  With San Francisco, Phoenix, Oakland and Atlanta all leading the way.   “When it comes to watching football, the best seat in the house really is at home,” stated Susanne Dawursk, GrubHub’s brand marketing director.

More than just sports The 65 inch HDTV Syndrome is driving customers away from frozen foods as well. In a study from Packaged Facts, reports that sales in the $44 billion U.S. retail market for frozen foods have been flat to declining, with nearly all dollar sales gains attributable to inflation or new products -- not to increased consumer demand. The study found that Preference for 57 % of consumer say fresh foods the top reason why US consumers have not purchased frozen foods in the last three months, followed by preference for home-cooked meals.

Fresh prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food in non-traditional outlets poses an ever increasing threat to restaurant growth. Want to know how to best address The 67 inch HDTV Syndrome?  Contact Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at:

For international, corporate presentations, educational forums contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at   His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. Johnson, or

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