Boston Market from the start was packed with grocerant niche potential yet unable to get out of its own way according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®. While the grocerant niche has driven record sales within all foodservice retail sectors, many sector leaders are posting double digit year or year sales gains for the past four year as regular readers of this blog know.
Boston Market certainly is not ready for prime time and clearly is still a long way from being a grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food sector leader. Restaurant chains the ilk of 45+ year old Starbucks, has added grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat fresh food and is posing industry leading numbers, Chipotle Mexican Grill unit growth and year over year sales are industry leading. Boston Markets are not.
Retailers ilk of Ikea, Whole Foods, Costco, Wegmans, HEB, and Central Market have driven outstanding sales within the grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food sector. Clearly Boston Market has struggled to understand the niche and customers today. In fact Ikea reports Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat sales in excess of $2 Billion a year, and Costco reports $1.6 Billion in Ready-2-Eat alone. Success does leave clues and when it comes to the Grocerant niche it would appear that Boston Market has picked up very few success clues.
In 1996 with 1023 units Boston Market was garnering the attention of consumers. In 2013 with 462 units Boston Market was catching its breath. Today November 2015 Boston Market has 435 units. When CEO George Michel speaking about Thanksgiving Day sales told Nation’s Restaurant News that “We consider that our Super Bowl.” No could have been more disappointed than our own Grocerant Guru® who stated “they still don’t understand the customer, the Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared niche, no wonder they have fewer stores today than in 2013”.
Michel’s statement pointed out that Boston Market continues to practice brand protectionism looking at the customer through the eyes of a 1980’s or 1990’s restaurant perspective. The consumer is dynamic not static Boston Market is not a dynamic company.
As 2015 is coming to close Boston Market has only 435 units it would appear from afar that Boston Market is not a ‘Super Bowl’ bound but continues on a ‘Super Slide’. Integrating the Five P’s of food marketing in to customer relevant brand messaging is a success clue that Boston Market might want to utilize. Building top line sales and bottom line profits is not about yesterday’s relevance. It’s time Boston Market look more like tomorrow’s customers than yesterdays.