Restaurant chain after restaurant chain beginning next week will start to report flat or down customer counts during earnings season. Why, chain restaurants are known for not being early adopters and for not leading, but following the pack. Many restaurant CEO’s believe doing no harm means doing nothing. However when the customer has moved all retail food brands must move with them or risk losing share of stomach to competitors.
We know three key reasons consumers are migrating to non-traditional food outlets.
1. They are time stared.
2. The economy has created disequilibrium and inconsistent employment.
3. They don’t like to grocery shop, but would like to cook, but don’t know how.
While many restaurant chains had opted to sit back and simply wait for customers to return to their brands other the ilk of Cinnabon, Papa Murphy’s, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Bob Evans have experimented, engaged, and edified additional consumer brand relevance with non-traditional products in new non-traditional avenues of distribution.
Entrepreneurs on the other hand identified the same set of consumer concerns, ceased the opportunity and jumped into the retail food space. Not confined with self-imposed brand limitations there is a new set of entrepreneurs thinking out-side the box focusing on delivering branded solutions garnering share of stomach from migrating restaurant consumers. Here at Foodservice Solutions® we are getting asked all the time “why aren’t chain restaurants leveraging their brands this way as well?”
Who are the companies and just what are they doing? Here are three examples HelloFresh, Blue Apron and Plated currently are the leaders providing solutions to all but focusing on young urban professionals.
These three companies are e-commerce reducing cost, the solution they deliver a branded “refrigerated box delivered weekly with up to three ready-to-cook “gourmet” meals, featuring pre-measured ingredients, fresh produce, meat and fish and detailed cooking instructions.”
All meals take less than 45 minutes to prepared, the meals are creative and restaurant menu like, with flavor options you would find in a chain restaurant. The for the most part each company post the menu a week ahead, consumer can pick and choose what meals buy flavor and time to cook.
Consumers lack the skill-set to cook from scratch as regular readers of this blog know, rest brands have the ability to extend their brands, menu’s and products directly into the home creating additional brand value while increasing share of stomach. For more Visit www.FoodserviceSolutions.us or http://www.linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant
Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit operator, consultant and brand/product positioning. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche.