Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fresh Food Fast Shell Select Excels


Global grocerant niche growth is one of the undercurrents driving legacy fresh food retailers to rethink just how they do what they do according to Tacoma, WA based Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson of Foodservice Solutions®.  Nowhere is it more apparent than with Netherlands based Shell Select.

Just in case you did not know Shell as a brand and its iconic logo is found in more locations than Starbucks or McDonald’s around the world.  No after testing Shell Select Deli by Shell is setting the bar high for itself as it pursues increasing the profit contribution of its non-fuel business to 50 percent.

István Kapitány Executive Vice President Shell Global Fuel Retail reported that he has until 2025 to reach the 50-percent mark from an undisclosed current figure. He acknowledges the profit goal is aspirational.
“We are always adapting our retailing capabilities to the changing world and believe it is a great opportunity for us because of the scale and size of the business,”

Kapitány continued. “Some markets are close to the 50-percent goal and some are far away, but one of the benefits of Shell’s global scale is that we can learn from each other. Whatever works in one country, we can transfer that knowledge to another country.”

For one example, the company operates a service-oriented concept called Shell Select in The Netherlands that is comparable to Wawa convenience stores in the United States. Shell’s operating model in the U.S. is different than The Netherlands, but the company is looking to make changes that would facilitate expansion of the Shell Select concept in the U.S.

“I would say that Shell Select in The Netherlands is kind of like the top-end food and coffee convenience place to go in the market, similar to a Wawa. We’re looking at how we bring that Shell Select concept to the United States,”
Is your company Looking A Customer Ahead?  How do you plan to expand your business?  Are you going to continue to do what you have always done and do it the same way?  How is that working for you today?

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us  the Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. Visit: www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Online Consumers Continue to ‘Cherry-Pick’ Grocery Stores


If there is one thing the team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has learned over the years is that consumers will continue to ‘cherry-pick’ products by price specifically when grocery shopping.  According to Steven Johnson our own Grocerant Guru® Online shoppers are no different. 

After all we know that Price, Selection, and Service had elevated Amazon to become a global retail behemoth. In new research from IDG found that “Online grocery retail is forecast to be the fastest-growing segment of all UK grocery channels, but it will not be used in isolation”

The IGD study predicts a 53.8% growth in online grocery retail between 2017 and 2022 to £16 billion.
However, the research suggests that most online shoppers are combining online and larger stores, and online and convenience stores.

When shopping online consumers are not restricted to one store, one brand name product, or one point of distribution they can see all.  The IDG study found that 41% of online shoppers say they have used online and convenience stores in the past month for their food and grocery shopping.

Price point matter and service counts as the study found that 40% of online shoppers said they have used either a blend of online, supermarkets or hypermarkets and convenience stores in the past month. Vanessa Henry, IGD’s shopper insight manager, said: “What we call ‘omnichannel shoppers’ are having a big impact on the grocery market, with over half (54%) of shoppers claiming that they use five or more different channels every month, as well as buying from 12 different store brands on average.

Differentiation does not mean different it means familiar but with a twist.  Do you have the twist that will help keep customers shopping at your brand? Does your brand stand for customer relevance more than it stands for price? Does your team understand the consumer price, value, service, equilibrium?

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit:  www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more information.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Millennials Food Trucks are Authentic

Today food trucks are attracting more and more Millennials in large part because simplicity, service, savory flavors are authentic in the minds-eye of Millennials according to global foodservice consultancy Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson. 
Food trucks have become a big business recording sales that will top $1.2 billion this year according to Johnson. One entrepreneur and foodie Greg Barnhart is making a big splash in the Windy City food truck pond with Toasty Cheese Restaurant Group.
Barnhart started with one truck called, Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery.  His food attracted a “cult-like following” and Barnhart has not looked back. The name was fun the trucks were brightly colored.  However it the food that brings customers back like the Duck Bacon, Cilantro-Avocado Aioli and Sicilian Cherry Tomatoes to Applewood Smoked Bacon, Apple/Cabbage Slaw and Over Easy Eggs. Ok now you understand.
This spring Barnhart opened the Toasty Taco, described as “a taqueria móvil that serves authentic street Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Tortas and Tamales.” Once again it’s all about food with entrees the ilk of Steamed Corn Husk Tamales stuffed with Cheese and Street Tacos and Unsweetened Plantains topped with Duck Confit, Picked Jalapeno and Queso Fresco”.
Things did not stop there as Barnhart’s mobile food empire grew this time with the acquisition of Best Truckin’ BBQ and The Crave Bar.  Which Specialized in Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork and Chicken, Best Truckin’ BBQ is all about classic American barbecue. Sandwiches stuffed with tender meat are topped with tantalizing sauces like the Spiced Pomegranate BBQ Sauce and Apple Cider Bourbon BBQ Sauce.
Barnhart stated  “With four different mobile food concepts under one umbrella, we are now able to create some really cool custom catering options for everything from office lunches and kids’ birthday parties to weddings and graduations,” So the team at Foodservice Solutions® asks what’s under your umbrella? Is your brand expanding its reach?

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Gatti’s Pizza Expands Grocerant niche Offerings

One after the other restaurant chains are expanding their offerings of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Gatti’s Pizza is rolling out take-and-bake pizzas as a permanent addition to its menu expanding customer relevance. 
Kicking the program off Gatti’s Pizza has two shapes, “Jack,” a jack-o-lantern-shaped pizza and “Frank,” a Frankenstein-shaped pizza, you guessed it October and Halloween perfect timing.  The pizzas will be prepared fresh daily and wrapped on a tray with cooking instructions. Customers can order online and pick up at their nearest location.
Michael Poates, president of Gatti’s Pizza stated “It was an idea that was spooky good,”…“The take-and-bake product allows our guests to enjoy Gatti’s pizza on their own time by baking it fresh in their oven at home. With Halloween being one of the busiest pizza delivery nights of the year, we thought it was the perfect time to debut this product. Skip the wait, pick up the pizza at a time that works for you, have it ready to go that evening, and then the kids can trick-or-treat.”
Are you edifying your relationship with your customers?  Is your brand growing within the fastest growing sector of foodservice today?  Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food continues to garner customers from every sector of food retail.  Foodservice Solutions® has Grocerant Experts.

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Facebook Restaurant Delivery Aggregation

Your mother had surgery and your dad can’t cook.  Well Facebook has the answer all you have to do is open your Facebook app and order dinner delivered from one of your local restaurants.  If success leaves clues and it does Facebook will be as successful with this incremental service and it has been with so many other according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Who did not think this would happen? Facebook dove into the crowded world of restaurant delivery, announcing in a blog post that it officially launched the ability to order food for pick-up or delivery directly from its massive platform.
Alex Himel, the vice president of local for Facebook wrote “People already go to Facebook to figure out what to eat by reading about nearby restaurants, and seeing what their friends say about them. So, we’re making it even easier”.
Facebook’s service combines well-known outlets like EatStreet, DoorDash, Delivery.com, Zuppler, Slice, ChowNow, and Olo. It also connects directly with brands such as Five Guys, Papa John’s, Wingstop, Jack in the Box, TGI Fridays, Denny’s, El Pollo Loco, Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, and Panera Bread. Users can browse restaurants nearby and link up with the appropriate delivery option.
Fresh fast convenient and all of the local restaurants that now are as close as the palm of your hand.  So next time a family member does not want to cook, let them know that Facebook is as easy as Click & Eat.  So what are you waiting for we have two videos on this blog to help you get started. 

Success does leave clues www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  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: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us

Friday, October 13, 2017

Coborns Cultivates Lunch &Dinner with Delivery of Meal Kits


Cultivating success since 1921 is exactly what they do at St. Cloud, Minnesota based Coborns according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  At Coborns Johnson stated “utilizing the Foodservice Solutions® tested formula: Build, Measure, Learn, and Repeat is clearly in play as Coborns expands and edifies its Meal Kit program.”

Consumers are attracted to the simplicity of meal kits, the ease of preparing the meal, and spending less time shopping.  This fall Coborn’s introduced a new meal kit Thai Chicken that can be ordered on CobornsDelivers a branded online shopping service that delivers.  In addition they have introduced  a school lunch kits.
CobornsDelivers is now offering seven fresh family dinner meal kit offerings and nine choices for its new school lunch kits. Helping families strengthen meal time  consumers can add all their regular grocery staples onto their orders, getting household essentials delivered right along with their dietitian-designed, same-day-packed meal kit orders.

Dave Hartmann, general manager of CobornsDelivers  stated  “In the meal kit space, where most companies require subscriptions, price their meals at $10 per person or more, and pack them days before they are eaten and delivered, we’re proud to offer our customers something better,” .. “As a local outfit where meal kits are delivered the same day they are packed, we offer freshness and flexibility—we deliver any day of the week, we offer seven different options, and we’re the only meal kit provider that will also deliver coffee, paper towels, and even wine. For busy families that have better places to be than the grocery store, we’re always looking for new ways to help.”
CobornsDelivers continues to focus on local consumers and with seven dinner menus designed by its staff dietitian, each feeding four at a price of between $4 and $7 per person. New this fall CobornsDelivers is releasing its first-ever School Lunch Kits.

Each lunch kit is packaged in sturdy brown bags, the dietician-designed lunches include whole grains, lean protein, dairy, and fruits and vegetables to give kids a midday energy boost. The new lunch kits include Build Your Own Pizza; The Jammin’ Sammy, in Sun Butter or Peanut Butter; The Italian; Mad Hatter Wrap; The Creamy Cucumber; The Veggie Roll Up; Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap; and The Hawaiian.

Are you garnering new sales of consumer relevant fresh foods for lunch and dinner? Does your meal kit fit your local market? ® Is it time you tested Foodservice Solutions® tested formula: Build, Measure, Learn, and Repeat? Are your Dinner kits as popular as Lunch kits?

Success does leave clues www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  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: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Grocerant Niche Sell Hot Food Hot and Cold Food Cold

Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based global foodservice consultancy Foodservice Solutions® reminds us “that in our evolving retail food world that the basics are still important.  That food integrity matters, packaging matters and you better be selling Hot food Hot and Cold food Cold.”
Pizza Hut is one company that continues to evolve when they announced new packaging the team at Foodservice Solutions® assumed they were trying to keep up with Domino’s oven in the car.  The fact is they might have been but did not want to spend that kind of money.  Which is too bad because that car and over are working great for the Domino’s. 
Instead after exhaustive due diligence I’m told Pizza Hut's New 'Oven Hot Delivery System' is Space Age.  Now if that is not marketing spin I have never heard it.  However, let’s teak a look.  Pizza Hut said it “is now using the same material as space blankets, winter jackets, and home insulation to keep pizzas up to 15 degrees hotter than existing boxes during the delivery process.”
The brand’s new delivery system contains a pouch made with 3M Thinsulate Insulation thermal technology and a pizza box with crisp sheet inserts. That is in addition to a reengineered pizza box and a new crisp sheet, the research sparked the development of an all-new pizza delivery pouch featuring three different thermal insulation materials to help ensure the pizza stays oven hot, the cheese stays melted, and the crust stays crisp:
·         The first layer is 3M Thinsulate Insulation, the same technology that is commonly used in ski jackets
·         The second layer is a PET Aluminum Radiant Barrier, which reflects heat from the pizza  back into the pizza, and is the same material found in space blankets.

·         The third layer is a polyester fiber padding like insulation found in homes that traps heat inside
“By implementing the unique power of our Thinsulate Insulation, which is warmer than almost every comparable material on the market, we’re able to help Pizza Hut achieve their goal to deliver customers a hotter pizza than ever before,” said Mindy Murray, brand communications Manager at 3M, in a statement.
Regular readers of this blog know that we are in the food business and doing the basics matter and selling Hot food hot and cold food Cold is still at the top of the list for consumers.  Technology, innovation, and consumers all evolves and you brand should be evolving all of the time.

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 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Meals at Buehler’s Fresh Foods


Restaurants are not the only retailers that understand the consumer’s need-set when it comes to Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food.  Grocery stores the ilk of Buehler’s Fresh Foods excel at it according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson
Long before McDonald’s made all-day breakfast a national phenomenon, Buehler’s Fresh Foods, was offering round-the-clock breakfast for years. The regional Ohio retailer is famous for its Grandma Buehler’s made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes, as well local favorites, including ham loaf, meatloaf, fried bologna, and an all-you can eat fried or baked fish meal on Fridays for only $12.99.
What do you call a hamburger patty topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar cheese and hash browns, served up on an inside-out glazed doughnut?  At Buehler’s they call it Breakfast.  This past summer it was a limited time offer at Buehler’s.
Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food runs deep at Buehler’s in addition to its sit-down restaurants, Buehler’s offers an extensive selection of prepared foods on the supermarket side of the store, including a Smokehouse BBQ in each location offering up pulled pork, smoked chicken, brisket and its famous smoked mac and cheese. I as is there a chain restaurant out there that does not understand the concept of Share of Stomach?
Now some might say Buehler’s is simply trying to be all things to everyone?  Ok we might say the same thing as they offer homemade soups in both hot and chilled in pouches to heat up at home, while the chain’s chicken program uses local Gerber’s Chicken for its fried, roasted and smoked offerings. Take-out Chinese, Stonefire pizza, subs and sushi are also part of its extensive prepared foods program.
The fact is Buehler’s is selling lots of grocerant niche meals, meal components, and fresh prepared foods that consumers can’t find or obtain at other retail outlets.  Why is that? Is  you brand getting your ‘share of stomach’?

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Marketing with relevance matters at El Pollo Loco

Limited Time Offers known as LTO’s are key drivers when a chain is injecting consumer relevance into a menu according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson. That is exactly what El Pollo Loco did when they added four new handcrafted bowls to its menu for a limited time.
The four new bowls are the chicken street corn bowl (chicken, avocado, corn, cotija, citrus chili seasoning, beans, rice, creamy cilantro, cilantro), the mango shrimp bowl (shrimp, avocado, mango salsa, black beans, rice, cotija, cilantro), the double garlic chicken bowl (chicken, garlic butter, cabbage, beans, rice, pico), and the chicken guacamole jalapeno bowl (chicken, guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, cheese, beans, rice, pico).
Heather Gardea, vice president of research and development at El Pollo Loco, stated “As we thought about all of the delicious and unique choices offered in Los Angeles, we were inspired to create colorful handcrafted bowls that emulate the flavors of our hometown,” …. “While bowls are a great way to eat a meal on the go, we find it important not to sacrifice flavor for convenience. We’re excited for fans to try our delicious new handcrafted bowls, created with a variety of authentic flavors inspired by our Los Angeles heritage and combined for a tasty and fulfilling meal.”
The undercurrents of change and success within the food industry today can be traced back directly too Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food marketing. Developed by Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson in 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 5 P’s are: 


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

Monday, October 9, 2017

Casey’s General Stores 1 Million steps too Success


The very first step to success is getting someone to step into your stores according to Tacoma WA based global grocerant niche consultancy Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson. The second is edifying a branded relationship with customer relevant technology.   The third is elevating that experience with a sample via taste test once they are in your store according to Johnson.
Customer relevance was top of mind when Casey’s General Stores ’launched its mobile app in January 2016. Now their mobile app has surpassed 1 million downloads, making it one of the most popular fuel retailer and convenience store mobile application on the market.

Casey’s mobile app was built by GasBuddy’s Retailer Services, makers of GasBuddy Business Pages, the B2B SaaS platform for the $650 billion retail fuel and convenience store market that enables marketers to help them create a “Perfect Pit Stop” for consumers. Now with 1 million downloads I guess they understand the niche that they are in.

 Terry Handley, Casey’s General Stores president and CEO stated “Working directly with GasBuddy has helped with our mission to provide our customers with exceptional service and great value on our offerings,” … “GasBuddy has a strong understanding of the industry and provides the technology necessary for us to reach our customers and remain competitive.”

Casey’s mobile app has soared to incredible popularity with features and functions that enable its consumers to order pizza, made-to-order sub sandwiches and appetizers. Casey’s recently completed the implementation of online ordering in all of its stores company-wide, and the Casey’s app makes online ordering even more convenient for customers using their mobile devices.


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 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Buc-ee's Food is Fine but Coffee Divine


Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson stopped by a couple of Buc-ee's watched consumers day and night go inside the cleanest C-store in America and buy food, yes grocerant Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.

Many of you may not be of the age to remember the retail foodservice buzz word QSC (quality, service, cleanliness) it’s not from a bygone era it alive and well at Bucc-ee’s clearly consumers still value QSC. So it was no surprise to the team at Foodservice Solutions® when  GasBuddy's data scientists reviewed nearly two million user reviews that cover more than 140,000 retail locations where gasoline is sold and rated Bucc-ee's received the highest ratings in the nation as being the best gas station convenience store for a cup of coffee.  Why not who would not like to go to a clean stores with lots of fresh food choices.

Gas Buddy found that more than half of Americans (56 percent) who have visited a c-store in the past three months feel that c-stores make coffee drinks as good as coffeehouses.  Note: not as good as a restaurants but better as good as coffeehouses.

Frank Beard, convenience store and retail trends analyst at GasBuddy stated "Americans love coffee! Our consumption has increased over the years with premium and gourmet coffees serving as the catalyst," … "It is evident that gas station convenience stores are taking market share from [quick-service restaurants] and cafes by creating a true coffee experience." Note the pictures on how Bucc-ee’s and QT sell coffee? When was the last time you evolved how you sell coffee?
On the state level, Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip placed in the top spot in seven state, Pennsylvania-based Wawa came in third by being No. 1 in seven states; and Westborough, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms was third, being the favorite in five states in the Northeast.

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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Starbucks is Growing after 46 Years Are You

If success leaves clues and it does one clue that no one in the foodservice sector should overlook is ‘watch what Starbucks does’ according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based global foodservice consultancy www.FoodserviceSolutions.us
Most regular readers of this blog know that Starbucks was founded in 1971 and is now over 46+ years old and not only a category leader it is an industry leader in Coffee, Retail CPG, Foodservice Technology, Customer Service, Grocerant niche Fresh Food, personal use coffee pots, cups OK you know I could go on and on.  In fact the team at Foodservice Solutions® has named Howard Schultz Food Merchant of the year more than on three occasions. Is your brand evolving selling more food more products that last year?
Now Foursquare released its Quick-Service Restaurant Loyalty Index. The company ranked the top 50 chains in the U.S., according to customer loyalty. Foursquare analyzed the foot traffic trails of more than 2.5 million Americans for the study no small feat.  Here are the top 10 chains, ranked.
 Starbucks,  McDonald’s,   Dunkin’ Donuts  Tim Hortons  Chick-fil-A,    Whataburger,  Sonic Drive-In,   The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf,   Taco Bell, and  Panera Bread. 
Consumers are dynamic not static the only way Starbucks can lead in customer loyalty after 46 years is they continue to evolve.  Recently Starbucks closed it online retail store, do you know why?  Online Starbucks consumer touchpoints were rated some of the best in the industry.  So why did they close it?  What have you changed up lately?  Where is your growth coming from?  Is your brand FIRST in any category?

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

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bingo Box Copycats Driving Cashier Free Adoption


Back in the day the U.S. was filled with cutting edge venture capitalists who would drive innovation in retail foodservice and the world watch, copied and U.S. branded innovative foodservice grew.  Today foodservice innovation and venture capital is center stage in China and Asia according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson

Consumers in China are just as time starved as anywhere else in the world and retailers looking to reduce consumer time in the stores think going ‘cashier-free is the way to go.  The question is this the next big thing or are retailers and venture capitalist throwing money at China’s cashier-free convenience stores?

First does the technology in a cashier free store work?  Will the retailer actually make money, or learn once again that retail, even tech-driven retail, is a brutal business of low margins, low barriers to entry and high fixed costs? Our Grocerant Guru® asks how much would your margins improve without cashiers? 

This year alone in China there are eight start-ups in the space have raised a total US$385 million. The investment premise seems simple: tap into an ongoing retail revolution in a nation with 1.3 billion potential shoppers with a track record of embracing new retail experiences.
The fact is China’s cashier-free stores are very different from Amazon Go, the fully automated checkout-free stores launched by Amazon, something all of the Chinese start-ups tried to copy but found it too difficult. Amazon Go has delayed it’s rollout due to ongoing technology and operational glitches according to Amazon.  
Most of China’s cashier-free stores fall into two types. The first looks like traditional convenience stores with row of products displayed like in a 7-Eleven, or with product images displayed on a computer screen. Shoppers scan a QR code or their faces to enter the store. They then scan the products they want and check out via mobile payment. In other cases, they are clicking pictures of products and pay via mobile payment.
The products are then dispensed like from a vending machine. Bingobox, Bianlifeng and Xiaomai belong to this category, with most placing box-like stores “in the wild”, such as in parks or on the sidewalk.
The other type are essentially a vending machine, or shelves, placed in office buildings and powered by mobile payment and QR codes. The only difference between this type and a traditional vending machine is the addition of mobile payment enabled by easy scan of QR codes. Guoxiaomei and Citybox are examples of this type.

Here is the point international retailers are expanding into new points of fresh food distribution, that may very well save them lots of money while driving top line sales and bottom line profits?  So we ask does your company look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Will you brand be replaced by a new start-up from Europe, Asia, or the U.S.? 
Success does leave clues www.FoodserviceSolutions.us  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: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us