Friday, December 15, 2017

Pizza Inn Expands Non-Traditional Outlets

The ever expanding grocerant niche has attracted retailers from ever sector according to Tacoma, WA based Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson of Foodservice Solutions®.  That includes Pizza Inn who’s tag line is “America’s Hometown Pizza Place,” new prototype for a non-traditional licensing model called Pizza Inn Express, or PIE for short, that will give customers a fast, seamless experience when picking up their favorite hot pizza.
Scott Crane, CEO of Pizza Inn’s  parent company, Rave Restaurant Group, stated “Convenience stores are a $575 billion industry with 70 percent of sales attributed to in-store purchases,” says. “This could be a game-changer for Pizza Inn as we tap into new markets and expansion opportunities for our flagship brand. We’re already seeing great interest from existing and potential franchisees who see this model as a new way to serve customers the same iconic, quality pizza they have come to expect, but in a faster setting.”
Pizza Inn is targeting expansion within convenience stores, airports entertainment venue options or could go into grocery stores according to Johnson.  The licensing deal for Pizza Inn Express will allow customers to order and pay at a kiosk for grab-and-go or pick up their food at a designated spot. Pizza Inn Express was developed as a new strategy to edify the brand, to expand the brands reach as they refresh the current store base.
Pizza Inn has a strong presence in the southeastern part of the country where the convenience store segment has the nation’s highest grouping of independent operators.  Pizza Inn expects to have its first prototypes operating within the next 90 days.
Bob Bafundo, president of Pizza Inn  stated “The PIE kiosk is attractive to non-traditional operators because it allows them to move quickly, be more nimble, and react to changes in customer traffic and facilities, all at a minimal investment,” … “It’s a branded concept that’s attractive enough to be the permanent centerpiece in a travel center or airport, yet nimble enough to provide the same benefits traditional operators get from a food truck.”
Is your brand stuck? Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Will the 7-ElevenNow App Deliver Disruption

Foodservice Solutions® team was the first to tell you about how 7-Eleven planned to extend e-commerce in the Philippines with options that could become very disruptive to both the restaurant and grocery sectors.  Steven Johnson, our Grocerant Guru® warned that if this mass market test worked 7-Eleven would target the US next.  Well the new 7-ElevenNow App is here. 

How fast is you’re online food ordering App?  Our Grocerant Guru® believes that the new 7-Eleven’s own smartphone app for on-demand ordering and delivery is one of the best in the US. While testing of the “7-ElevenNOW’ App at the first with 10 of its Dallas stores has just begun. It is clear to us that the rollout and testing in the Philippines went well enough that they are planning to roll out the 7-ElevenNow app to other U.S. markets in 2018.

For those of you that from time to time forget 7-Eleven has more than 61,210 retail stores worldwide.  7-Eleven just might be the only retailer with the platform to challenge Amazon's Prime Now, the internet shopping juggernaut's speediest delivery service.  So just what might that mean for your fresh food sales?
Currently 7-Eleven customers have the ability to have fresh food items delivered including Slurpee’s.  Many of you have also forgotten that 7-Eleven banded, trademarked and has been selling Slurpee’s since 1969.  7-eleven with over 61,201 stores is one of the world’s best food marketing companies.

The team at Foodservice Solutions® believes that 7-Eleven ability to mix, match and bundled products via the 7-ElevenNOW App is become a industry leading disruptive force for both chain restaurants and grocery stores.
Currenlty 7-ElevenNow has "hundreds" of items including snacks, cosmetics, gift cards and home goods. Orders will be filled by 7-Eleven store employees, but deliveries will be made by services such as Postmates. If delivery is selected, the app will locate the nearest participating store and, once the order is placed it will notify a courier service. 

7-Eleven's chief digital officer Gurmeet Singh said the proprietary app "is redefining convenience."  Victor Paterno while speaking about how 7-Eleven Philippines is taking e-commerce mass market stated “Basically, we are using our logistics efficiencies to enable new e-commerce models. 
After placing their order, shoppers choose whether their order will be delivered or picked up. If delivery is selected, the app will auto-locate the nearest participating store and, once the order is placed, send it to a courier service. The courier picks up the customer’s prepped products at the store and delivers them to the customer’s location.
If shoppers choose the pick-up option, they select their preferred store. The order will be waiting for them at the register. Customers can pay for both delivery and pickup via the app. Customers that enroll for the service will receive free delivery on their first order, the company reported.
Sing continued “The app will enable our customers to get the products they want, when and where they want them, quickly and conveniently,”…. “This is redefining convenience.” Is your fresh food convenient? Is your App fast? What is customer relevance today?  Meal Kits? What’s the Next Big Thing?  Call us we know!

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Primed for the Holiday’s

When the team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® says a company is primed for the holidays you can believe that they are talking beef.  Once again Dickey’s Barbecue Pit offers stress-free holiday meal customers can deck the table with Dickey’s savory Prime Rib while taking all the credit with none of the hassle.
Dickey’s is a one stop holiday meal stop that offers everything from a single Prime Rib to a full Holiday Feast complete with baked potato casserole, green beans, cornbread dressing and a dozen of Dickey’s famous, buttery rolls.
This year most consumers can their holiday meal delivered by one of Dickey’s delivery partners or directly from the store. Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit stated  “Family is the most important part of the holidays and we are thrilled to have our meals be a part of families’ traditions across the nation,” ...“Dickey's is committed to putting family first, and we are proud to offer our guests a simple solution to one of the most complex aspects of the holiday season, filling the table with a memorable holiday meal.”

Where are your meals being eaten?  Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sainsbury’s New Differentiation is Take-Out Fresh Rustic Pizza

Regular readers of this blog know that Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® stated that “in 2018 the undercurrent of successful partnerships will drive incremental change within all sectors of retail foodservice.” 

Sainsbury’s has embraced the success trend according to Johnson.  Sainsbury’s progressive partnership Zizzi pizza will be serving up the brand’s freshly-made, restaurant-quality hot pizzas to go. Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food is an area that consumers think Sainsbury excels.

Success does leave clues and after the successful the successful introduction of Sushi Gourmet counters, Patisserie Valerie products and a Crussh counter to its stores over the last year pizza was a must have addition.
Sainsbury will offer a selection of Zizzi’s hand-stretched, stone-baked Rustica pizzas, including vegan options and topping customization, alongside garlic breads. In order to edify Sainsbury customers with Zizzi they will also feature integrated restaurant marketing limited time offers including “Pizza of the Month” specials.

Customers will be able to order the premium pizzas either in store or via Click & Collect on the Zizzi website, paying for the products quickly and easily from a dedicated takeaway check-out at the store’s hot food counter. Ready to eat Zizzi pizza from the Sainsbury’s will also be available to Deliveroo users via the Deliveroo platform.

The food delivery market, which includes delivery brands such as Deliveroo as well as traditional takeaways, is expected to increase by 10 per cent a year to £53bn by 2020. This partnership with Zizzi strengthens Sainsbury’s mission to innovate within its stores to offer customers a wide range of great quality food for every occasion. How are you edifying brand relevance with consumers?

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Food Marketing Drives Convenient Meal Participation, Differentiation, and Individualization

Today we can see just how the undercurrents of change and success within the food industry today can be traced back directly to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food marketing.

The FIVE P’s were identified, quantified, and qualified by Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson back in the day (1994).  Then introduced, implemented, and integrated by foodservice companies including Full Service Restaurants, Chain Drug Stores, Grocery Stores, QSR’s, and C-Store clients.  The FIVE P’s are:

After repeated successful retail food industry adoption of Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of grocerant niche fresh food marketing; Technomic conducted qualitative and quantitative research then compiled the following infographic highlighting the importance and consumer relevance that portability play’s within retail foodservice today.  The infographic is entitled Pertinence of Portability:

Highlighted by Technomic is the fact that 51% of the U.S. consumer order Food-2-Go once a week or more. When order breakfast On-The-Go 56% of consumers say portability is important. From 2012 to 2014 consumers ranking the importance of portability for snacks jumped from 55% to 60%. We are delighted that Technomic has highlighted the growing important role that portability plays with food consumers today. Regular readers of this blog know that the importance of portability continues to expand.

Foodservice Solutions®  excels at vertical brand product positioning, marketing strategy, business development specifically food sale, packaging sales while identifying, quantifying and qualifying niche opportunity for global foodservice related activity.  Have you considered expanding into the grocerant niche filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food? If so call 1-253-759-7869 today learn how the FIVE P’s of Food Marketing can Drive Sales at your retail storefront.

Visit:  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions FIVE P’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, December 10, 2017

Pricing Drives Restaurant Customer Count Declines

The restaurant sector sales for continue to remain flat to slightly positive according to Victor Fernandez, executive director of insights and knowledge for Black Box parent company TDn2K.  Fernandez like most of us is more concerned with same-store traffic during last month that declined by 2.5%, continuing a long-term problem. 
While Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® points out that companies the ilk of Dollar General’s sales are up 11% as they evolve their retail strategy to go beyond “paycheck to paycheck’ customers to those buying “meal to meal” as the WSJ reports that strategy has allowed them to become one of America’s most profitable retailers garnering food customers from both the restaurant sector and grocery sector.

Johnson sites price for customer migration while Fernandez sites to many restaurants.  Johnson stated the battle for share of stomach continues and fast food companies and non-traditional fresh food retailers that focus on price continue to garner a larger share of stomach or legacy restaurants and grocery stores.

Foodservice research icon Bonnie Riggs of The NPD Group, reports that after six consecutive quarters of flat or negative traffic, growth at quick-service restaurant (QSR) burger and gourmet coffee chains drove total foodservice industry traffic to 1 percent for the quarter ending in September. 

Riggs stated “The marketing initiatives and marketing clout of the QSR leaders turned the industry in a positive direction this past quarter,” “What they promoted found favor with consumers, and they should keep it up.” Regular readers of this blog know that what they promoted was PRICE!

Johnson went on to say that watch for an up-tick in promotions throughout the restaurant sector and once again a decline in core pricing at traditional grocery stores creating a platform consumers will like, but will cause continued disruption within both the grocery sector and restaurant sector well into 2018.

Success does leave clues  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed a Grocerant Program Assessment. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dickey’s Adds 158 Points of Distribution

Sure Tacoma, Washington based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson talks a lot about restaurant customer migration.  Johnson explains that the consumer is dynamic not static and that brands especially restaurant brands need to be dynamic not static as regular readers of this blog know chain restaurant year over year customer counts has been falling for flat for nice years.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit understands that consumers are on the move and once again is doing something about it.  Now in the state of Texas Dickey’s consumers, fans, and flavor forward friends now have the ease of enjoying five flavors of Dickey’s beans at home by purchasing them at 158 Brookshire’s locations across the state.
Like other leading chain restaurants successful partnerships this one between Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and Brookshire’s allows for guests to purchase proprietary Dickey’s Original Barbecue Beans, Brown Sugar Hickory Barbecue Beans, Jalapeno Beans, Sweet Molasses Barbecue Beans and Texas Barbecue Beans.
Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, “We are honored to partner with Brookshire’s Grocery as they are a well-established brand in the state of Texas,” …. “Giving folks the option to purchase Dickey’s Barbecue Pit products at the grocery store makes it easier on them to continue to enjoy a variety of Dickey’s delicious beans from the comfort of their own home.”

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and brand and menu integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Friday, December 8, 2017

Is your Food “Instragram-able”

With over 25,981 daily views of this blog per day during the month of November, 2017 the team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® understands the value of digital, visceral, enabled foodservice.  While our Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson has been called a ‘influencer, thought leader, and of course Grocerant expert he reminds us not to forget the power of Instragram.

According to Bon Appetit, influencers can, and often do, “make” restaurants. A wave of Instagram posts about the milkshakes at Black Tap Burgers in New York’s Soho led to a Buzzfeed story with more than 2 million views, hours-long lines, and a feature on ABC’s “The Chew.”

Farmers, packers, grower/shippers can take some lessons from the trend and apply them to their own marketing and visual story telling. The next time you are developing materials that include photos, think about it through the Instagram lens and ask yourself: is this picture Instagram-worthy? 

You are reading our blog and time and time again I get asked for copies of the food photo’s on our blog. Instagram is changing foodservice from fine dining to food trucks. Drool-worthy photos are offering a new way to form connections, evoke emotions and share experiences.

We read how Ben Walton of Ben’s Canteen in the UK is just one restauranteur embracing Instagram. “It’s a good way to check whether we’re resonating with our crowd. If people are posting lots of pictures, we know we’re doing something right,” Walton told The Independent.

While some may scratch their heads in astonishment at the “Instagram effect,” a look at the trends behind the trend reveals it makes a lot of sense. First, food and drink have always been a way to form connections. How is your brand becoming more participatory and interactive with consumers?

From holiday family dinners to first dates, sharing a meal is a bonding experience as old as time. Layer onto this a generation of digital natives who form connections not through face-to-face interactions, but digitally  Millennials and Gen Z are less trustful of traditional institutions (businesses, government, and even NGOs) than previous ones. Remember a picture is worth 1000 words.
Today’s Millennials and Gen Z  trust peers and people who they see as “like themselves” and are therefore viewed as more authentic and credible. Add all of this together and you can feel the Instagram momentum build. 

So who is doing the Instagramming? It’s your kids, that babysitter you hired and just about anybody under the age of 35. Next time you’re out to dinner, watch a table of millennials: before they taste or even smell their food, they’re snapping pictures. 

Millennials curate their identity through social media, and Instagram is one of those avenues. In recent years we have seen the rise of a new persona in the culinary world: the social media influencer. What new avenues of distribution are you selling your food?  Where are your customers?

Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Starbucks Sings

Starbucks understands the power of partnerships and as Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has been saying ‘the Next Big Thing for 2018 in retail Foodservice will be partnerships.”
Starbucks and Spotify recently debuted three limited-edition Starbucks Cards featuring Chance the Rapper, Lady Gaga, and Metallica. In the spirit of Starbucks ‘Give Good’ holiday campaign, which encourages goodness of all kinds throughout the holiday season, Starbucks and Spotify are donating a total of $1 million divided among these iconic artists’ three charities that benefit youth empowerment, education and veterans.
These new Starbucks collectible cards are available at participating company-operated U.S. Starbucks stores with a minimum load of $25, while supplies last. Customers who buy or receive the card as a gift are also eligible for a Spotify Premium trial offer.
Starbucks and Spotify are encouraging customers to show their support by purchasing the limited-edition Starbucks Cards featuring the three artists. Here are the three charities that will benefit from this partnership:
Chance the Rapper and Social Works Grammy-winning musician and producer Chance the Rapper has been a social activist, helping connect young people to jobs and raising more than $2.2 million for Chicago Public Schools. His non-profit SocialWorks helps empower youth through the arts, education and civic engagement in his hometown of Chicago.
“Our goal at SocialWorks is to empower the youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement," says Chance the Rapper. "Many thanks to Starbucks and Spotify for working with us to create more opportunities to build dreams, inspire creativity, and let the youth be themselves!”
Lady Gaga and Born This Way FoundationNamed after her 2011 multi-platinum album, Lady Gaga co-founded the Born This Way Foundation to support the wellness of young people and empower them to build a kinder, braver world. Her courageous and innovative work, which included working with Starbucks for the Cups of Kindness collection, has helped create more positive environments. Initiatives include Channel Kindness, a platform featuring stories of kindness as documented by youth reporters from around the country, and the Kind Communities survey which explored how a young person's mental wellness is impacted by their relationships and environments.
“A kinder and braver world is urgent, and it is possible. Our work at Born This Way Foundation is to support the wellness—mental, social and emotional—of young people and build strong, resilient communities,” said Lady Gaga. “We’re grateful for our partnership with Starbucks and Spotify this holiday season.”
Metallica and All Within My Hands Foundation Metallica, one of the biggest selling acts in American history, has long been a favorite among military service members. Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation was established by the band members to support a variety of charities, including The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization that supports and empowers veterans adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.
“We are super psyched and grateful for the generous donation Starbucks and Spotify have made to All Within My Hands to help us support veterans as they adjust to life at home and find purpose through community impact,” says Metallica.

Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow? Are you reinvigorating your brand with a new partnership in 2018? It just might be the ‘Next Big Thing’ to edify your brand.  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Juice It Up Gets ‘Better for You’

Partnerships matter in fact the ‘Next Big Thing’ for 2018 is going to be partnerships that drive top line sales and bottom line profits according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA Based Foodservice Solutions®.  Regular readers of this blog know that Johnson has highlighted the undercurrents of strong branded partnerships for several years.  However partnerships will be the undercurrent of growth for many foodservice companies in 2018.  
Here is one example Juice It Up a leading raw juice bar with hand-crafted smoothie franchises, announced recently that they will be entering convenience stores.  The first location will feature an innovative mobile app drive-thru and self-serve kiosk ordering systems. Currently in development and scheduled to open in early 2018, the new location will be inside a Fresh Fill Convenience Store in Los Banos, Calif.

Juice It Up’s unique mobile app drive-thru concept complements Juice It Up’s growing portfolio of non-traditional units, which includes college campuses, malls, airports and gyms throughout the country. So just how does your brand plan to expand?  Where is your customer of tomorrow?

Along with placing an order for Juice It Up! via Fresh Fill’s mobile app, users may add any items offered at Fresh Fill, including traditional goods and prepared foods commonly found at convenience stores, for quick and easy pick up at the drive-thru window.
Juice It Up!’s full menu of fresh-squeezed raw juices, hand-crafted smoothies and satisfying bowls may also be ordered using a self-serve kiosk located inside the store, which is then delivered straight to the guest by a Fresh Fill employee. In addition to convenient shopping, the Los Banos Fresh Fill will feature a gas station, car wash and electric car charging stations.
Brian Rocha, Juice It Up! franchisee and Fresh Fill Convenience Stores, Inc. Operating Partner  stated “We wanted to build a concept that would serve as a one-stop shop for busy consumers, adding a unique mobile ordering system enabling purchases without ever having to leave their car,”... “It was important to us to be able to provide our guests with healthy snack and meal options not typically offered by traditional convenience stores, and Juice It Up’s simple menu and operations model was the perfect fit for our vision.”
Do you understand the undercurrents of customer migration?  Are your customers looking for ‘better for you” fresh prepared food? How will you edify your brand in 2018?  Do you want to create, innovate, explore new proprietary branded products or do you want to drive top line sales and bottom line profits with strategic partners?  Do you need some outside-eyes?

Success does leave clues  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed a Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product Ideation?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Is Wawa’s ‘Better for You’ food Better than Partnerships

Wawa’s relationship with TastyKake is a retail partnership built on shared consumer attributes and professional respect according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  So we ask and yes we suspected Wawa’s ‘Better for You’ food banter and consumer messaging will not displace it TastyKake partnership.

When the CSNews’ Foodservice Advisory Council announced that Wawa had been chosen Foodservice Innovator of the Year winner we were not surprise. Wawa as regular readers of this blog know scores near the top of our Grocerant ScoreCards every year and has been number one in the past. 

According to the CSNews Foodservice Advisory Council, Wawa is touching most, if not all, of the bases on the most important menu trends, now and for the foreseeable future at retail. These trends include providing customers with foods and beverages that deliver on consumer health priorities and preferences for healthier foods and beverages.

CS News went on to explain that consumers define these healthier preferences to include: GMO-free, antibiotic-free, gluten-free, grass-fed beef, organic, natural and unadulterated products, vegetarian items, as well as a clear preference for local sourcing and sustainably sourced products.

The judges specifically cited Wawa’s continuous improvement; enhanced food quality mission to source and provide safe, high-quality and fresh food products; and its launch this year of H4U (healthy-for- you), a compelling offer that delivers on customers’ healthier eating preferences.
Other impressive steps the company has undertaken include:
·         Established a quality foods program that includes comprehensive operating procedures for its retail business, as well as for all suppliers of Wawa’s food and beverages;
·         Created an audit process with specific criteria and guidelines to oversee and provide continuous improvement opportunities for Wawa’s enhanced quality food and beverage supply chain;
·         Formed an independent, multi-disciplined oversight expert council in the food, food technology and healthier-for-you food sectors. The stated objective of this panel is to provide Wawa with ongoing, independent and expert oversight and continuous improvement insights of its overall enhanced quality foods program.
·         Announced publicly that the retailer will introduce throughout its fresh food program only poultry products that have been raised without antibiotics. Reportedly upwards of 23 of Wawa’s menu items will be changed to adhere to this new standard.
Now after all of that was said the team at Foodservice Solutions® insist that the partnership with TastyKake will not change.  Why because time and time again consumer say one thing and due something else.  What they do is treat themselves to foods that like, remember, or crave filled with fats, calories or not.  Wawa is successful because they sell what consumer want to buy not what they say they will buy.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869