Saturday, May 31, 2014

Healthy Restaurants Attract Millennials Are You Driving Customers Away?

Market share slipping, customer counts tracking downward is your restaurant capitulating market share as fast as KFC is in the United States?  Don’t let your brand become more a reflection of yesterday than tomorrow. It time to look at within the grocerant niche at Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food that is ‘better for you’.  That’s just what Millennials are looking for.
So you think your know all about then well here are just some of the common misconceptions; Millennials are narcissistic, Millennials are broke, Millennials are frivolous spenders.  While food marketers look for answers on how to attract the 77 million Millennials in the United States here are some clues from Nielsen’s report 'break the myths' of millennial generation.  
Key highlights from the study:
·         Diverse, expressive and optimistic: Millennials are characterized by more than just their age. As a group, they’re more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation. They value self-expression and artistic pursuits. They’ve been hard hit by the recent turbulence in the economy, but their high education levels and optimism foreshadow their potential future success.
·         Driving a social movement back to the cities: If they’re not still living with mom and dad, Millennials are fueling an urban revolution looking for the vibrant, creative energy cities offering a mix of housing, shopping and offices right outside their doorstep. They’re walkers and less interested in the car culture that defined baby boomers.
·         Struggling, but they have an entrepreneurial spirit: They’ve been hit particularly hard by the Great Recession. They’re dealing with high unemployment, low income and high student loans as they try to establish themselves. However, invention is the daughter of invention and some Millennials have hit it big by investing in startups and following the own entrepreneurial pursuits.
·         Deal shoppers and desire authenticity: Given their small paychecks, they are savvy shoppers always on the lookout for a good deal. Millennials put a premium on authentic, handmade, locally produced goods – and they’re willing to pay more for products from companies with social impact programs. Getting a good deal is a priority, but they won’t compromise on quality. They want to feel good about what they buy.
·         Connected and want the personal touch: Technology defines Millennials. They sleep with their mobiles and post status updates from the bathroom. When interacting with companies via social media, they value authenticity – they want to feel like they have a personal, direct interaction with the brand – and in return, they’ll advocate and endorse that brand.
Nothing says authentic like Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food. Since many are walkers small local retail food outlets with the messaging that edifies local, fresh and portable sell.  On the run, time tarve Millennials still have time to endorse you and your food via social media something no other generation has done.

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Visit: or call: 253-759-7869 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Chili’s Brand Migration for Customer Relevance

How hot is to hot?  Chili’s is spicing things up in the retail food sector with a bold new look at with remodeled, repositioned, and remenued restaurants.  While customers are looking for bold flavors, ‘better for you” food offerings Chili’s has come to understand that in an Omni-channel retail world that consumers still may not want to eat in a restaurant.
So part of the repositioning packaged focused on enhanced Online Ordering, Food Delivery and Catering.  With all of that in place Chili’s still need to edify the restaurant experience with extended brand relevance; thus they are entering the frozen food court.
While frozen food sales have been experiencing a protracted sales slump within the grocery sector Chili’s hope to provide a much need lift for grocery stores while edifying its customer base. Joining the ilk of Boston Market, California Pizza Kitchen, Claim Jumper the Frozen Food Court does provide a platform for brand inclusion.
Mark Toth, VP-marketing at Bellisio Foods, is working with Chili's. . "We loved the brand and the idea of bringing Southwestern to the freezer, something that's been missing in frozen-entree category,"

Chili's saw opportunity to experiment with "bold flavors" that consumers want, but found that what works in a restaurant might not fly at retail today, but could migrate in reverse at some time.  Claudia Schaefer, VP-food and beverage development at Chili's said "The strategy is not to take existing products and force them into retail” but too 'Chili's-ized' it." At the right time.

Some of the new items are  Bacon Mac 'N' Cheese; Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo; Cheesy Chicken Pasta Florentine; Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl; Island Chicken & Rice and Mango Chicken with Rice. These new products will begin arriving at some 14,000 grocery stores soon and should be available June 2.

The Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche has created a platform which both fresh prepared and frozen products can coexist.  Success does leave clues and extending the brand creates additional customer relevance. The question in Chili’s case is the marketing messaging strong, focus and integrated? Slotting fees alone are inconsequential points of consumer relevance in brand messaging.  Will Chili’s become the next 100 Million dollar product without a strong integrated messaging?  Let me know?

Success does leave clues and integrating Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing is a success clue many should be following.  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 Call 1-253-759-7869 or Visit:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Food Marketing Experiencing a Price Value Service Equilibrium Disruption

By By Baby Boomers Hello Millennials
It’s been a long time coming but for the first time since 1947 the most common age in the United States is no longer a Baby Boomer it is now a Millennial.
In a new release from the U.S. Census Bureau it found that “22-year-olds are the most represented age group in America, followed by 23-year-olds and then 21-year-olds. In fourth place comes 53-year-olds — those born at the tail end of the Baby Boom, 1961— who are the most-represented Baby Boomer age cohort. The shift occurred either in 2011 or late 2013, the Census estimates. Baby Boom is officially defined by the Census as those born between 1946 and 1964.”
90 Million Milling Around
With 90 Million plus consumers between the age of 18 and 36 milling around outside U.S. restaurants it is by far and away the most sought after group of customers. These consumers are called Millennials and are in search of food discovery, value, and a social experience.  They are resetting the price, value, service equilibrium for restaurant operators.
How important are Millennials to your restaurant? In” A 2010 report from Oracle, that focused on the banking sector, estimated that Millennials’ purchasing power will reach $2.45 trillion next year and $3.38 trillion—more than that of the Baby Boomer generation—by 2018. Longer-term, Millennials seem like too big a demographic for restaurants to ignore.” The answer is very important. Now back to the formula.
Old Formula vs New Formula
The old formula was: Price + Quality + Service + Portability = Value .  That formula has evolved with Millennials today Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru has reevaluated, calculated and evolved the formula with Millennials and here is the new formula:  Price + Quality + Social + Portability = Value.
Retailers seeking additional incremental value from Millennials must be Constantly Changing Menu items enabling Millennials to Discover Seasonal Relevance, Authentic Sustainability with Creditability.
In a recent study of 2,000 Millennial-aged U.S. consumers titled “Understanding Millennials” conducted by the Hartman Group found:
  1.   55 percent prefer communal tables at restaurants.
  2. 68 percent ask friends before selecting a restaurant.
  3. 87 percent will splurge on a nice meal even when money is tight.
  4. 40 percent will order something different every time they visit a restaurant.
  5. Millennials eat out the most frequently at lunch
  6. They tend to eat four smaller meals a day at non-traditional times.
  7.  30 percent eat foods that are certified organic (as compared to 21 percent of Gen X-ers and 15 percent of Boomers).
  8. They prefer whole foods over processed food.
  9. They will spend more on ethically sourced meats and farm-to-table experiences.
  10.  80 percent want to know more about how their food is grown.
  11. Food companies among Millennials’ top 10 most-trusted brands: Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Ben & Jerry’s, In-N-Out Burger.
  12. When shopping in grocery stores, Millennial foodies spend more on premium ingredients and are more likely to opt for small-batch handcrafted beers and artisanal cheeses than the big brand names.
  13. Custom food options, such as the 87,000 possible drink combinations that can be had at a single Starbucks unit, are seen as a need, not a luxury. 
  14. It’s just not about nutrition for Millennials. They view food as entertainment and self-expression. 
  15. Most important when choosing food in general, the top-scoring attribute was “A good value for the money,” at 36 percent. Good value was also the top-scored when respondent were asked what is more important when choosing food from a restaurant. Thirty-nine percent said value mattered most.  specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche since 1991

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sainsbury Convenience Store Success

FamilyMart, 7 Eleven, Lawson’s, President Chain, Dairy Farm International Holdings all have more operating convenience stores around the world than Sainsbury.   In Great Britain however Sainsbury is the one to watch.  Sainsbury has taken the time to study consumer food shopping migration globally and in Great Britain it has found success leveraging Foodservice Solutions® four steps to profitable growth Build, Measure, Learn, and Repeat.
Success Facts for Sainsbury Convenience business
·         There are over 47,000 convenience stores in UK (IGD)
·         The value of UK convenience sector is £35.6bn rising to £46.2bn by 2018 (IGD)
·         Sainsbury has 600+ C-stores in Great Britain   with 200+ in London alone.
·         Sainsbury plans to open two C-stores a week for the foreseeable future.
·         Sainsbury now has more C-stores than Supermarkets.
·         Sainsbury’s convenience business is growing at 18% a year

The Retail Food Consumer is on the Move
Sainsbury’s convenience business with over five million customers a week visiting its C- stores is one reason that Simon Twigger, Sainsbury’s Convenience Director, said“Our convenience business is going from strength to strength as customers continue to enjoy the benefits of regular top up shopping and the ability to walk to a local store. Sainsbury’s has an unrivalled history in London and the South East with our first store opening in Drury Lane in 1869 and these new stores carry on this tradition. The new ‘Locals’ will be located on high streets and in the heart of communities, providing access to healthy, quality food at fair prices. They will also give a real boost for other retailers as they bring increased footfall and trade.”
Evolving with Consumers
The consumer is dynamic not static and in 1869 no one had ever hear of a convenience stores but the dynamics of a consumer relevant brand demand change.  Sainsbury has found a new growth vehicle ‘Local” store or C-stores.  There is only one way a company can stay in business a 100+ years and that is with constant change.
Foodservice Solutions® four steps to profitable growth Build, Measure, Learn, and Repeat can drive top line growth and bottom line profits for your company.  Are you ready for Outside Eye’s for Inside Profits?

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Visit: or call: 253-759-7869 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

McDonald’s Food is Better than “Farm Fresh”

In a recent report Philip Lymbery, chief executive of Compassion in World Farming, claimed shoppers are being confused by labels like ‘farm fresh’ and ‘country fresh’ which actually mean that meat and fish is factory farmed.  His claim is that “consumers who are worried about sustainability and healthy food should eat McDonald’s.”

Lymbery went on to say that “In the UK at least McDonald’s they only use pasture-red beef, the milk is organic, the pork is RSPCA approved and the fish is sustainable… “The company shows that food that is farmed responsibly does not need to be expensive.”

Lymbery points out that in when a consumer is shopping in a supermarket that it is not clear in the is a product is sustainable or not. He notes “Factory farmed food isn’t labeled” in supermarkets thus they are not being honest with consumers and that McDonalds is much more transparent.

The Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche is driven by convenience consumers deem “better for you”  Foodservice Solutions® commends McDonald’s for transparency and strongly encourages all retail food companies within the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food grocerant niche to completely transparent. Consumer will reward you if you are.   Differentiation does not mean different it means familiar with a twist.  However consumer don’t like kinda transparent they want transparency.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment.   

Monday, May 26, 2014

Whole Foods has Distinctive Differentiated Messaging

Retail food consumer migration continues with Trader Joe’s and sister company Aldi continuing to garner market share from legacy food operators. Chains such as Fairway and Sprouts Farmers Market are constantly repositioning, making noise not market progress.  While “better for you” grocery star-ups come and go Whole Foods focus on the customer will continue to drive sustainable success. 

The consumer second choice after Price is “better for you” Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  Ready-2-Eat food prepared fresh is deemed by customers as “Better for You”.  Whole Foods is and has been leading the industry with quality grocerant niche fresh prepared food. 

Selling food the way consumers want is a key driver moving forward, few companies are doing that with fresh prepared food the way Whole Foods does.  The halo around “Better for You” and fresh prepared will drive unique positioning and garner consumer acceptance.  Remember 50% of American’s over the age of 18 are single, the ability to mix, match, and bundle incremental items will drive on-going top line growth and bottom line profits for Whole Foods.

While in the past Whole Foods had a poor pricing image problem – the rather unflattering “Whole Paycheck” moniker – has been reversed and is now Whole Fresh Prepared Food that is Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat focused. Whole Foods success will continue from the center of the Grocerant Niche for some time to come.  Leaders lead and Whole Foods Grocerant focus is the right track for the right time.
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Migration Marketing Assessment, Grocerant Program
Assessment, or brand, product placement, menu positioning assistance simply Visit:  or call 253-759-7869. Outside Eyes can be a platform for inside results.   Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant Niche

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wendy's Right Price Focus Drives Sales

Wendy’s refocusing efforts on ‘Right Price Right Size Menu’ is right-on! Extending brand messaging with new Limited Time Offer’s (LTO’s) the ilk of the new Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe is just one more example showing how Wendy’s understands the bifurcation ongoing within retail foodservice. 
Innovation be dammed; it’s another burger but Wendy's new LTO combines quality positioning without the steakhouse price with the introduction of the new Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe.
The new LTO Steakhouse burger continues with fresh messaging.  The Steakhouse burger uses never-frozen beef.  Wendy’s makes all burgers with “fresh hamburger’. The Steakhouse patty is  seasoned with steakhouse seasoning, melted cheese and a garlic aioli sauce made with roasted garlic, onion, and Dijon mustard. The hamburger patty is topped with sliced red onion, hand-cut tomato and hand-leafed lettuce. The Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe is $1.49* at participating locations.”
Understanding Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing Wendy’s Liz Geraghty, Wendy's vice President of brand marketing said "This delicious new addition to the Right Price Right Size Menu delivers on our continued promise to give consumers new taste experiences on any budget."…"The Steakhouse Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe features steakhouse-inspired flavors, such as savory seasoning and garlic aioli, bringing premium ingredients you wouldn't expect to find on a value menu,"

Success does leave clues and integrating Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing is a success clue many should be following.  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 Call 1-253-759-7869 or Visit:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cinnabon lookout there is a Shark in the Market

Without a doubt Cinnabon with over a billion dollars in sales is the cinnamon roll global brand leader.  Cinnabon’s industry leadership is edified by CEO Kat Cole Foodservice Solutions® Food Merchant of 2014 award. With the exception of Starbucks, no other restaurant company operates as well in our Omni-channel retail world as Cinnabon in large part because of it leader Kat Cole according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru Steven Johnson.
No one was surprised then when Cinnaholic vegan bakery concept made an appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank” reality show that the sharks like the cinnamon roll niche, the opportunity, and the differentiation that Cinnaholic presented.
Now Cinnaholic owners Shannon and Florian Radke plan to grow the vegan bakery concept from its home in Berkeley, CA, to the entire country and overseas via multiple avenues of distribution. Yes, they are focusing on consumer relevance with an Omni-channel retail approach. You might say copping Kat Cole and Cinnabon.
Florian Radke stated "Our appearance on the show afforded us the ability to bring our passion to entrepreneurs across the world."… "When we opened our bakery in 2010, we never dreamed of the day we would be in front of billionaire entrepreneurs pitching our idea, but it happened.  Although the Sharks chose to make a deal on the mail-order portion of our business, we understand the need to have additional Cinnaholic locations to meet the needs of our customers.  With that in mind, we are ready to expand Cinnaholic through franchising."
Are Cinnaholic cinnamon rolls ‘better for you” that is the question.  They are in addition to being 100-percent vegan, Cinnaholic cinnamon rolls are also dairy-free, lactose-free, egg-free and cholesterol-free. Cinnabon is an indulgence and we believe that Cinnaholic will become an indulgence not a replacement.
Cinnabon has many quality products the ilk of branded frozen beverages, available in key market niche flavors Chocolate Mocha, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana and Tropical Blast®.  Kat Cole’s Cinnabon has at its core ‘legendary’ branded Makara® Cinnamon, creating a point of qualitative differentiation that I believe would be hard to beat. There may be a Shark in the Market but not all Sharks win.

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Visit: or call: 253-759-7869 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Moe's Southwest Grill Catering to Consumers of Today

Interactive and participatory catering is a platform of consumer relevance in 2014.  In an Omni-channel retail world successful restaurants the ilk of Moe’s Southwest Grill are driving sales and brand relevance with catering and Online ordering.
Moe's Southwest Grill announced that it has “partnered with MonkeyMedia Software to deploy MonkeyCatering and MonkeyOnlineOrdering as the technology tools to support its catering online ordering and database platforms system wide.”
QSR magazine reported that “Moe’s tested MonkeyMedia Software's catering software with a pilot group of both franchise and corporate-owned locations in cities such as Atlanta, Indianapolis, Miami, Nashville, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., among others. The decision came after all success criteria, including sales growth, functionality, ordering benchmarks, and test partner feedback were met.”…
“During the pilot program, Monkey Media proved to be an excellent partner, and with the support of our franchise council and catering committee members, we’re looking forward to launching their platform to help drive catering sales across our more than 500 locations,” says Jamie Schlef, Moe’s director of catering….
Moe’s and MonkeyMedia Software are developing a roll-out plan for June 2014 that will improve the organization and efficiency of franchise partners’ catering business and increase catering sales by providing consumers online access to Moe’s catering offerings.”
Expanding the brand while building sales with a catering platform is another positive consumer interactive, participatory and consumer relevant action that garners success.

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Visit: or call : 253-759-7869 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is the Chain Restaurant Sector Lacking Innovation?

The restaurant industry entered an era in 2013 where customer counts were down and industry same store sales slipped according to Black Box Intelligence. Where recycled CEO’s simply did not get the job done.  Is it time for Outside Eye’s or simply a Non-Boomer CEO?   The restaurant industry appears to be lacking innovation of late and consumers are migrating to Non-traditional avenues of fresh food distribution.

So it’s time to ask is your company thinking like a legacy boomer CEO holding on to what worked in 1980, 1990, or 2000?  Are you still utilizing benchmarks from 2000 or 2005?  At the intersection of consumers, technology, Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared is new innovation:  new avenues of distribution and filled with consumers with the psychological mindset of today not 2005.

Is your restaurant business model expanding both brand and profits gaining customers counts and top line revenue? Some restaurant business models and products have been around so long that we just take them for granted, while others concepts that are becoming new business models are so new that we’re not quite sure what to expect. The easiest to explain why is important by looking at a few examples.

Here are some examples we came across that involve challenging our orthodoxies that we think you might want to think about.

1. Coffee Shops In the typical coffee shop pretty much anywhere in the world, the business model works like this – you buy a coffee and it comes along with it the right to take up a place at any table in the café for as long as you want. So, coffee buys you time. An article I came across on NPR highlights an entrepreneur in Moscow that has opened a restaurant that loosely translates to the Clockface Café where instead of buying coffee and getting time, you instead buy time ($4/hr per person for the 1st hour and $2 an hour after that, up to a maximum of $12 after 5 hours) and get coffee for free. Ivan Meetin, the founder, plans to open his next café in London. Meanwhile I have heard of similar operations in Paris, and by now they can probably also be found elsewhere. So, in your business what do people get for free, and what do they pay for? And is there an opportunity to change around what you charge for?

2. Waste Disposal In many businesses, and in the creation of most products, there is waste. And in most cases, businesses pay to have this waste removed from their premises. Or there may be waste that the customer has to pay to have removed. But this doesn’t always have to be the case.
KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. used to have to pay to have their used fryer oil picked up, but now thanks to the rise of biodiesel they may even make money from this waste product.
Chicken processors used to throw the feet away after processing a truckload of chickens, but after they discovered that chicken feet are a delicacy in several Asian countries, they stopped throwing them away and instead started exporting them. In fact, chicken feet sell for more per pound than chicken breasts in China.
Broken OREO’s used to have no value before Cookies ‘n’ Cream ice cream (and now Cookies ‘n’ Cream OREO’s) were discovered.

We came across an example of a bottle cap concept created by designers from the Lanzhou University of Technology in China, intended to give poor children access to building blocks for play, from what was previously thrown away.

3. Discounts for Data Data security and privacy is becoming an increasingly hot topic, and in the past companies would either ask customers for their data and not give them anything for it, or just not ask for it. But now we are seeing some interesting models of companies asking customers for data and instead giving them something of value in exchange. For example, Urban Outfitters rewards users that respond to promotions inside their mobile app or to users that allow its app to connect to their Twitter or Instagram accounts with points that can be redeemed for sale previews, concert tickets, or early access to new pieces. What data do you want from your customers? What is it worth to you? How could this exchange be made engaging and not be seen as a purely financial transaction?

4. The Soft Drink Category is Saturated and Cold Soft drinks… How many people out there think that the soft drink category is a blue ocean full of incredible opportunities for unbounded growth for established soft drink makers? Most people would say that this is a mature category and a tough place for companies, full of merciless competition. But yet, people continue to innovate and challenge this orthodoxy. Witness a couple of interesting new concepts.

Britain has always been a hotbed of innovation, and the country that brought us Pret a Manger and Innocent smoothies brings us this tasty treat. Mr. Sherick’s Shakes brings people a little bit of luxury to their day in the form of their high quality milkshakes.

Meanwhile in Japan, there is a growing trend manifesting in a wave of product launches in the soft drink category that are not cold, but instead hot. Witness this example of what has always been a cold drink, Ginger Ale, being brought into the Japanese market as a hot beverage by Coca Cola’s Canada Dry unit.
Consumers always love something new and different, even if it the new is something old that has disappeared from the market then reappeared. This is why fashion runs in cycles, and in a mature category like soft drinks there is no reason why we shouldn’t keep these principles in mind.  Is it time you bring in Outside Eye’s?   specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Driving Success All Year

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit continues expanding from coast to coast and can now be found from California to New York. Dickey’s is one of the best chain restaurants expanding the brand into the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche. Dickey’s sells lunch boxes to go, has an outstanding catering program and continues to expand its line of rubs and sauces. 
Understanding the value of extending the brand Dickey’s is selling unique Branded Merchandise via its website driving both traffic and sales   Dickey’s is “the world's largest barbecue franchise.
Last Holiday season Dickey's Barbecue edified its loyal following of barbecue fans looking to turn up the heat on their holiday shopping. They introduced just in time for Cyber Monday, introduced branded memorabilia such as T-shirts, caps, cookbooks, and Dickey's famous Rib Rub on “ Are you customers fans as well?  It time to start planning for the Holidays, Where and what are you sellin?
Building top line sales and bottom line profits while building top of mind awareness is something Dickey’s is good at.  Doing it with contemporary relevance for today’s consumer is the next step for all restaurants.. Speaking about his Holiday promotion Roland Dickey, Jr., president of Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. said "Dickey's has become so much more than just a recognizable brand, we hold memories for many people. Now, we can also offer cool holiday gifts for all those resident grill masters in the family."
Customers are dynamic not static.  Dickey stated "Many people grew up having family dinners and good times at Dickey's and they want a piece of that nostalgia to take home," said Dickey. "The retail end of the business is something we're looking forward to sharing with our customers." Extending you brand is more important and relevant today than ever before.  Are you extending your brand or over protective of it?

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Visit: or call : 253-759-7869 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dollar Tree Building Sales with Fresh Food B2C and B2B Direct to Restaurants

In an Omni channel retail world consumers are buying fresh prepared food in multiple channels including QSR’s, Fast Casual, Full Service Restaurants, Convenience Stores, Grocery Deli’s, Drug Stores and more and more within the Dollar Store sector.

Nielsen found that “of the nearly 17k retail stores that opened in 2013, 36% were dollar stores.”  Success does leave clues not only does Dollar Tree want to sell fresh food the ilk of  Ribeye Stakes, Hot Dogs, Turkey Burgers, Milk, Egg’s and Salads Mix of all kinds; they are now selling products direct to restaurant operators here are a couple of links:

The overall growth of the Dollar store sector has exceed all other retail sectors for growth over the past 10 years without exception according to Nielsen. Within the Dollar Store sector extensive testing of selling Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is underway.  It seems they are taking a page out of the Ikea and Costco playbook. 

Selling fresh prepared food is no longer a monolithic process. All food retailers must understand that simultaneously extending the brand in multiple channels is a requirement for brand building, and building sustainable Top line growth and Bottom line profits.

Visit:  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or you can learn more at Johnson, or

Monday, May 19, 2014

Consumers Are Eating Out by Eating In

Millennials Are Driving Change in Retail Foods Sales
Many legacy restaurant chain Boomer CEO’s are in a quagmire of stewardship. Unwilling to dramatically redesign; concept footprint, menu items, or points of distribution they are saddled with “canned” concepts once suited for the golden age of the restaurant industry.
Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ stated “Brand protectionism is fast fading away and giving ground to brand evolution. That evolution is required for long term brand survival. Consumers are dynamic not static and brands must be as well.”
Consumers are not thinking like many boomer CEO’s who continue to hold on to psychological mindset of yesterday’s brand position in a world of contemporized consumers.  When thinking “What’s for Dinner” recent research by Foodservice Solutions® found 86 percent of consumers at 1PM have no idea at all and 65 percent of consumers at 5PM still do not know “What’s for Dinner”.  Thus the rise of the Grocerant Niche companies selling fresh prepared food for Eating In or Eating Out in direct competition for legacy restaurants while challenging legacy grocery stores models.
Want to know what a Grocerant is?
Want to know what a Grocerant is or where to find Grocerant Niche Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food? In reality a grocerant is where a consumer can find fresh prepared food aimed at the time-starved consumer with Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals or meal components that can be bundled into a meal and or packaged for Take-Out, Take-Away, or To-Go.
Today, grocerant meals and meal components are found in liquor stores, drug-stores (Walgreens), fast food restaurants, fast casual restaurants, full-service restaurants, and restaurants inside grocery stores, in legacy “deli” departments, furniture stores (Ikea), club stores (Costco) and clothing stores from Tommy Bahama, Macy’s, and Nordstrom’s.  
Eating Out by Eating In?
Take-Out and Take-Away Options Threaten legacy business models…  menu items have been around so long that consumer simply take them for granted. Millennials are on a quest for personal discovery… looking past the once obvious choice. The result is an opportunity for a new business, that is new business models selling fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food. 

With the increased presents of the 65 inch HDTV in home today Foodservice Solutions®  research find “The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome” was edified recently in the 9th edition of “The Why Behind the Buy” published by Acosta Sales and Marketing found: 

“Contrary to some reports, eating at home is not passé. Rather it has evolved to meet the needs of busier lifestyles, more sophisticated palates and consumers who have become accustomed to immediate gratification. Indications of how the boundaries of eating in and eating out have blurred can be seen in the rise of the grocerant - grocery store as restaurant - where ready-to-eat meals have been a major area of growth; the popularity of quick-serve restaurants, food delivery and take-away; and the growing array of meal solution product offerings from CPG companies. In other words, shoppers are increasing eating out by eating in.”
Millennials  Drive Change
The influence of Millennials can no longer be denied.  Millennials which represent 22% of the U.S. population today are fast approaching their “prime” spending years. Millennials grew up with fast internet access everywhere, mobile technology, and are now engaging and demanding a food focused seamlessly integrated life style.  In a recent study titled The Why? Behind The Buy found “65% of Millennials say losing this phone or computer would have a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car.”  Are you willing to give up your car? Soon Millennials will out spend Generation X and the Boomer Generation.

That same study found that young shoppers are adapting to new food trends including buying Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  That is something all food retailers need to pay particular attention too. In fact that study found that in the past 30 days:

·         Bought Home Prepared Foods  -  GenY / Mellennials 78%  Gen X only 68%, and Boomers 60%
·         Ordered Food From A Restaurant for Pick-Up / Carry-Out in the past 30 days - Gen Y / Millennials 78%, Gen X 72, and Boomers 58%
·         Ordered Food From A Restaurant for Delivery in the past 30 days - Gen Y / Millennials 67%, Gen X 57, and Boomers 36%
As you can see for each of the above, Millennial Shoppers outpace Boomers anywhere from 30% to a whopping 100%!  Now if you are looking for successful strategy’s and tactic’s to reclaim your market position, elevate your brand it might be time for proven successful outside eyes. 

Visit:  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or you can learn more at Johnson, or

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Food Fight 11 AM too 8 PM Daily

It’s Noon and 83% of consumers don’t know What’s for Dinner? The undercurrents of evolving consumer shopping behavior, availability of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food, time-starved consumers, and lack of appropriate cooking skill-set combined with the fact no one wants to do dishes or empty the dishwasher create what Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru calls “the emerging Grocerant Tsunami”.  Where legacy food retailers will either adapt or get left behind at an accelerated rate. 

The retail grocery sector has seen the collapses / demise of A & P, Albertson’s, and now Safeway go from industry leaders too regional players dependent on SNAP program to maintain any respectful volume numbers.

Dollar stores have simply cherry picked products from the “center store” leaving legacy grocery stores in footprint malaise.  Seemingly unwilling to invest in Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food and the staffing levels that it requires creates and expanding opportunity for non-traditional fresh prepared food retailers.

So What’s for Dinner?

At 4 PM a full 62% of American consumers still don’t know according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru Steven Johnson.  Consumer discontinuity with the food sector is driven in large part by new entrants the likes of retailer Harry & David for 80 years selling fresh fruit as a business gift, then direct to consumer fresh fruit and gifts.  Continually evolving this year Harry & David is offering an Easter Brunch Meal just Heat-N-Eat, Pinkies Liquor stores, a traditional liquor stores  updated and retrofitted with in store kitchens now offering  fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food daily for To-Go only (Pinkies has no tables inside or out), and Walgreens Up-Market stores offering fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food.
Dinner a Paradox of Choice?
When face with all the options what’s for dinner consumers are simply overwhelmed. Think about it.  Is cooking from scratch the first choice for consumers not incentivized with government SNAP benefits? Whole Foods offers extensive Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food options.  In fact 35% of Whole Food sales and 40% of profits come from Whole Foods Grocerant Niche fresh prepared food options.
Restaurants are a great second choice for consumers when asked What’s for Dinner? However as regular readers of this blog know the restaurant veto in increasing numbers and is a result of “The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome” according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru. The result can be seen in the stagnating restaurant sector year over year sales and customer count numbers.  Once leading companies the ilk of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Bennigans, Quiznos, and Sbarro all face similar fates if they do not react to undercurrents of retail food consumer discontinuity.
Is Convenience What’s for Dinner?
When Casey’s General Stores a convenience store chain with 1,700+ stores started selling fresh prepared pizza it took off as did Casey’s same store sales.  However when Casey’s added delivery they became a leading choice of What’s for Dinner in many markets.  Rutter’s Farm Stores, Wawa and Sheetz all leading C-stores all increasingly moving successfully from Coffee and Breakfast stop too successful lunch and increasingly the all are the solution for consumers looking for What’s for Dinner.
Success Does Leave Clues.
At the intersection of consumers, technology, Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food are new points of fresh food distribution.  If legacy food retailers want to maintain or garner market share they much evolve as fast or faster than the competition and consumers or risk capitulating brand equity, market share and consumer relevance. Outside eyes can provide insights driving Top Line Sales and Bottom Line Profits. Today, restaurants, C-stores, Drug Stores, Grocery Stores, and Liquor Stores are all targeting consumers that are Ready-2-Eat.  It’s 4 PM where is your customer buying dinner tonight?

Visit:  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or you can learn more at Johnson, or

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Walmart’s Fast Fresh Food C-store

Testing success, Walmart recently opened its first convenience store in its home town of Bentonville, Arkansas. Clearly it is not something that they wanted to do.  However, Sainsbury, Morrison’s, Tesco, Carrefour the worlds other large retailers have tested, retested and found success.  So much so that Walmart entered the C-store ring. 
Convenience stores have proven brand positive, customer edifying, and profitable for leading legacy grocery retailers.  I have no doubt that it will be profitable, creating incremental brand value for Walmart.  It’s a logical progression for Walmart, in terms of demographics, the supply chain, and  footprint size, according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru Steven Johnson.
Johnson calls it “a classic spoke-N-hub retail operation,” with different store formats catering to customers with different goals and motivations. C-stores would give Walmart the potential to increase the frequency of shoppers’ visits and appeal more to the 50 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 18 that are single.
“Single people don’t go to a Walmart so they can walk around for 40 minutes and buy stuff,” Johnson says. “They don’t have time for that. They don’t need that many items or groceries, and the carts are so damn big, how much can one person need?” Remember the U.S. Census reports that 50% of U.S. residents over the age of 18 are single.  Incrementally this is a huge opportunity for Walmart.
Singles are time starved, on-the go and don’t want to shop and buy 14 pork shops or 14 chicken breast at a time, don’t want to cook for one, nor do they want to do dishes. Walmart’s focus within the c-store is “Quick Meals,” “Drinks To Go,” which happens to be demographically on-target.
Walmart To Go is the same name that Walmart is using for its online home delivery service.  What if Walmart started using c-stores as pickup points for online orders? Sainsbury, Morrison’s, Tesco, Carrefour all found success in the c-store niche, Walmart leveraging on-line pickup could slow Amazon Fresh and Amazon Spotlight  driving additional success.
Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food had become a disruptive element driving change in restaurants, grocery stores and retail drug stores.  If success does leave clues watch for Walmart to open additional C-stores in California, Oregon and Washington next. 

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment.   

Friday, May 16, 2014

Generation Z Wants Food Fresh and Fresh Prepared

Millennials have the money and marketers are positioning food products in front of them as fast as they can.  While Millennials crave bold flavors and they have shunned frozen meals for the most part. Boomers on the other hand still find favor with frozen meals albeit less and less. Generation Z on the other hand is Fresh Food Focused according to NPD.
So who is generating?  Gen Z as they are known range in age from newborns to those age 23.  Today, Gen Z makes up about 32 percent of the U.S. population. Not only do they want fresh prepared food they want it their way according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson.
Subway, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Papa Murphy’s Pizza all have helped usher in a new generation of Grocerant Niche consumers according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™.  Sandwiches, Burrito’s and Pizza customized, personalized and fresh prepared have elevated freshness to a new generation that has no plans on looking back.
In a new report by the NPD Group they suggest “salad consumption in particular will increase with Gen Z, followed by quick-assembly meals (meal kits and sandwiches), and more involved breakfast foods such as eggs, homemade pancakes, and French toast. Savory snack foods, everything from crackers to salsa, are also expected to become more popular.”
The above chart by NPD breaks down of how many more or less servings—measured in millions—of certain types of foods NPD expects Gen Z members will eat in 2018 compared with last year. The forecasts are based on NPD’s analysis of how behavior changes with aging, population distribution, and trend momentum.
NPD had been tracking Gen Z for some time and restaurants are well aware that since 2008 restaurant visit by families with kids (those including children under age 13) have been declining since 2008.  In fact the report found “over the past six years “families with kids made 1 billion fewer visits to U.S. restaurants compared to 306 million fewer visits by adult only parties.”
Success does leave clues and food marketers must maintain customer relevance or risk capitulating market share.  Integrating the 5 P’s of food marketing with a specific focus on Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is a solid clue. 

Visit:  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or you can learn more at Johnson, or

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Restaurant Customer Migration Builds as Families Prefer Mix & Match Meal Components

The fact that 50 percent of the United States population over the age of 18 is single may be a leading factor contributing too continued restaurant customer migration from casual dining chain restaurants to both fast-casual and quick-service outlets.  Bonnie Riggs, NPD foodservice industry analyst thinks that’s only part of the reason.  Riggs recently stated that “Families are eating out less. A lot less”.
Casual dining customer migration began in 2007 had has continued to fall ever since.  The restaurant industry never eager to change was confident that it was simply a temporary economic setback and would rebound.  It has not.  More important there is no indication that consumer want to spend the time or money in fast casual restaurants any time soon.
Entering the seventh year of declines and the latest Knapp Track Index of casual dining same store sales reports that customer traffic fell yet again in April 2014 another 2.4 percent. Riggs stated “ restaurant visits by families with children 13 years and under have been declining since 2008. "We've lost a lot of volume from families with kids," Riggs said. "How do we get them back?"
Riggs continued “that families made about 16 billion visits to restaurants in 2008. Last year, they made about 14.5 billion. That's a substantial decrease. Riggs said that visits declined considerably in 2009 and 2010 and has leveled off ever since.”
According to the NPD Group and Riggs,” Given families' importance to the restaurant sales landscape - they represent 20 percent of all sales, after all—that decline in full-service visits by families goes a long way toward explaining why casual dining has struggled so much.”
Mix & Match meal components are the hallmark of grocerant niche success according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson.  Regular readers of this blog know Non-traditional fresh prepared food retailers are surprising consumers with new flavor combination or trendy new ingredients, many with the halo of ‘better for you’  and portioned for one or two that can be mixed and matched into a customized family meal for the home without the expense and time of going out.
Wegmans, HEB, Whole Foods, Wawa, Rutter’s Farm Stores and Sheetz all offer fast flavorful meal components that can be bundled into a differentiated quality family meal. Restaurant the ilk of Maggiano's Little Italy Today and Tomorrow specials  and Subway and Olive Garden’s similar specials have helped a lagging industry.  However few have focused on how to compete in an Omni-Channel retail food world long term other than our own Grocerant Guru™.  Outside eyes can drive inside sales and bottom line profits.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment.   

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hy-Vee Increasing Targeting Restaurant Customers with New C-stores

The undercurrent of food consumer migration from format to format continues to pick up momentum. Hy-Vee is not immune   Food retailers are in the desperate fight to retain market share, all are chasing after migrating customers in what is becoming an epic battle for ‘share of stomach’.
Hy-Vee in an attempt to regain customer momentum, edify consumer relevance, and save consumer time is going to open 16 new convenience stores in an attempt to fend off Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food offerings from restaurants and other non-traditional fresh food retailers.
Iowa based Hy-Vee with sales of more than $8 Billion and 235 stores in the Midwestern state of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin will be a formidable competitor in the C-store space with the ability to leverage a large customer base and established brand value.
Companies the ilk of Casey’s General Store, Olive Garden, and Pizza Ranch each have had considerable success in the Midwestern U.S. Hy-Vee is will offer the proper balance of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food offering fresh  flavor combinations, new or trending ingredients, reflecting the heightened industry competition that will stifle customer migration.

Visit:  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or you can learn more at Johnson, or