The trade media called both, Maple and Sprig virtual restaurants or ghost restaurants. They were restaurant delivery service that were simply brand-less ideations concocted to drive retail restaurant meal delivery sales for less according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
A restaurant brand is a unique flavor design, a signature product, a collection of identifiable menu items, a building and motif that codifies the menu, or a combination of these, employed in creating a image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time that collection of consumer associations and perceptions creates a level of credibility, quality, consumer acceptance that drive adoption; elevating the name, menu, products, and building into a valued band according to Johnson.
In the case of both Maple and Sprig building the brand never occurred. Yes, they pontificated on their ideation, industry meal solution, and business benefits but for forgot to build a brand that consumers could rally around.
Sprig CEO Gagan Biyani stated via Email that Sprig “ceased operations today because the model doesn’t work…The demand for Sprig’s convenient, high-quality food was always incredibly high, but the complexity of owning meal production through delivery at scale was a challenge”.
Maple on the other hand simply never understood restaurant branding or how to build a grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared brand according to our own Grocerant Guru®. Here look how Maple described their own closing:
“We built a brand that struck a chord with our customers and developed hundreds of menu items, allowing us to serve millions of meals to supportive and loyal customers such as yourself. We built some truly exceptional software, allowing us not only to collect, bundle and route orders with unprecedented throughput, but to drive efficiency at every step of our process—from ingredient sourcing, all the way through delivery completion (resulting in over a million miles logged by our delivery team members). Serving thousands of meals daily across Manhattan is no small operational feat, and our team orchestrated this dance with a grace that is rare in the face of such unrelenting expectations.”
Where to start simply put hundreds of meals is not an identity. Maple like Sprig never took the time to understand retail foodservice branding. I give them both credit for blocking, tackling, and paving the way for others that will surly follow as the business ideation was great, the business positioning was great, the rollout lacked foodservice strategy.
The rollout of both Sprig and Maple was filled with textbook business tactics and technology that were singularly excellent and that will over time create a platform of success that other will build on. However without a brand identity there can be no successful strategy according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.
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