Monday, May 29, 2017

Restaurant Customer Counts Fall in a Battle for Battle for Share of Stomach

Consumer momentum is unrestrained in the Battler for Share of Stomach. Chain Restaurants have been particularly hit hard with falling customer counts according to the latest MillerPluse report and reported at  Consumers are looking for solutions and looking at the last minute for those solutions.

In fact our own Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson asked consumers during Grocerant ScoreCard visits What’s for Dinner  and he found at 11:00 AM 82.6% of respondents don’t know What’s for dinner and at 4:00 PM 68.7% still don’t know What’s for dinner.

Restaurants need to continue to find ways to up their game in fresh prepared pick-up, delivery, and takeout in order to drive both trip frequency and incremental customer migration. This means finding ways to draw shoppers Online, Mobile, when the consumer is considering What’s for Lunch or What’s for Dinner.
The team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has conducted over 7,120 Grocerant ScoreCards and has tracked customer migration and compiled so the success clues needed to win in the race for a larger share of stomach for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  Here they are:

1. The seasonal menu ideations draw the highest shopper interest.
2. Speed of service making dinner is all about time and reducing the time to cook.
3. Offer a complete meal bundled appetizers, salads, entrée, and desert.
4. The empower choice offering multiple entrees as one size does not fit all.
5. Freshly prepared Ready-2-Eat are  first on the list of wants.
6. Freshly prepared Heat-and-Eat solutions are second list of consumer solutions.
Here is where Foodservice Solutions® team has seen a real advantage for chain restaurants in the packaging of both the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared options with 88% of respondents preferring restaurant meals over Grocery (service Deli) or Convenience store meals for Takeout.  Fresh prepared is offered many ways, and the study tested consumer interest for each solution type.
Coming in second were meal kits from companies the ilk of Blue Apron, Plated, or HelloFresh, again consumers cited packaging and menu options as key drivers. The one weakness noted with meal kits was the fact that they did not offer desert.
Convenience store fresh prepared food sales are up 14.7 % last year and grocery service deli sales are increasing at near 7%.  Our Grocerant ScoreCards indicate that increasingly consumers are rating both grocery store Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat as well as Convenience store meals as ‘restaurant’ quality.  As their packaging, meal bundling, and seasonal menu offerings improve so will their sales.  The a continued conundrum for the restaurant sector.  

Success does leave clues  understand that conundrum and how to correct declining customer counts.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed, Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product Ideation?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

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