Regular readers of this blog know that Darden copied Maggiano’s Little Italy’s “Today and Tomorrow” grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food offering. They also know that Darden started and stopped its copied version called buy one take one then restarted it without copying Maggiano’s “Marco Meal for Two”. Once Darden refocused the grocerant niche they began expanding sales.
Remember in retail the old adage the trend is your friend and the grocerant niche customer adoption in every sector of food retail is a trend with no end in-sight according to Foodservice Solutions® team. One thing is clear that is it’s working for Olive Garden as year over year same-store sales increased 1.4 percent in the period. That by the way is the 10th straight quarter of growth for Olive Garden and for a company in the middle of the casual dining sector that’s a big deal!
The facts are clear according to Olive Gardens CEO Gene Lee who stated “Olive Garden's to-go business is up 17% and 60% on three-year basis. The fact is as Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® says “success does leave clues” and up 60% in three years is a sector of business you want to capitalize on.”
Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that can be Mixed and Matched then bundled into a customized, personalized family meal continues to drive retail success in every sector of retail foodservice today. Maggiano’s Little Italy’s only mistake was thinking they could not out-perform Olive Garden after Olive Garden copied them. They were wrong Maggiano’s Little Italy’s has a qualitative point of differentiation in the minds-eye of the consumer.
So, can Darden do more than copy marketing positioning? Do they need to? One thing is sure the team at Foodservice Solutions® continues to be busy helping retailers edify their brand offering with Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru’s FIVE P’s of Food Marketing.
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 Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant/ or twitter.com/grocerant