Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tops Friendly Markets Finds Success with Chef’d Meal Kit’s



Grocery stores must continue to evolve with consumers or risk capitulating more and more customers as they migrate to new avenues of fresh food distribution according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
After a successful debut of Chef’d meal kits late last fall, Tops Friendly Markets has expanded the line, which is now available in more than 80 stores. Customer relevance is equals new electricity for Tops Markets team. 
Johnson believes there is one dominate element that will power success within retail foodservice over the coming years.  Johnson calls it the new electricity that is partnerships specifically strategic partnerships.   The partnership with Chef’d is clearly the new electricity for consumers.  Grocery stores
that want to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing new partnerships with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food suppliers

Jeff Culhane, SVP of merchandising for Williamsville, Tops Markets stated  “Chef'd answers the question for the person who says, ‘I still want to feel like I've done all the cooking myself, but I don't want to dedicate two hours to go through the whole process,’” …“They are a great option for those looking for a well-balanced meal, too,” he said, pointing to fresh ingredients and minimal preservatives, which provide “a good balance between protein, carbs, and veggies.”
In addition to Weeknight Chicken Pad Thai and Herb Crusted Flank Steaks, the latest additions to Tops’ subscription-free Chef’d meal kits include:
  • 20 Clove Garlic Chicken
  • Black Truffle Butter Sirloin Steak
  • Smoky Maple Pork Loin
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Fried Chicken and Waffles 
This helps Chef’d grow as Tops Markets operates 169 full-service supermarkets. Where are you selling food today?  Consumers are dynamic not static is your brand evolving with consumers fast enough?  Where is your new electricity? What new avenues of distribution are you developing?
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, April 21, 2018

Doing Good Is ‘Better-4-Businnes’ at White Castle


Lifelong customers are an attribute to any brand as they provided a platform to build top line sales and bottom line profits; according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based www.FoodserviceSolutions.us White Castle understand the importance of life long customers and is going pursuing a new generation of consumers.
Recently White Castle, announced a new partnership with Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, Gilmarie. The artist’s new song, Make a Bold Move, was co-commissioned by White Castle and is featured in the chain’s new Hispanic national advertising campaign, and downloads of the song will directly benefit her dream of attending Berklee College of Music in the fall of 2018.
White Castle has new electricity in doing good.  How do you plan to drive incremental top line sales and bottom line profits according to Johnson; partnerships specifically strategic partnerships will be driving retail success in 2018. Are you looking for a partnership to drive sales?  
Johnson stated “in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as digital hand held marketing, music, local fresh food,  grocerant consultants, urban farming (produce, seafood, etc.), autonomous delivery, better-for-you, cashier-less retail, cash-less payments, delivery, and voice ordering.
Make A Bold Move, which was released on International Women’s Day, is dedicated to the empowerment of young Cravers and encourages them to be bold to keep working to achieve their dreams. Helping young women, Hispanic’s, and the Arts  White Castle, is doing all of the right things to edify a relationship with today’s customers and tomorrows White Castle’s brand fans. . 
 Gilmarie stated “I’m more than grateful for the opportunity White Castle has given me. My dad grew up blocks away from White Castle in New York, so everything that’s happening is of great significance to me and my family. It gives me the motivation to keep working hard to achieve my dreams,
Gilmarie continued “During the process of writing the song after hurricane Maria, I knew I was reminding myself that I had dreams to follow, and if I worked hard enough, they were going to come true. I then realized that there are many other young people out there with their own dreams, and this song could help to inspire to them.”
Are you looking for a new electricity to drive sales? 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 have the clue you need to propel your continued success.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Grubhub & Venmo Complements Millennial & GEN Z’s Path to Purchase


Foodservice Solutions® interns have used Venmo to pay restaurant bills, bar bills, rent, and utilities bills in the past. Venmo is a platform that invites sharing eases the path to payment and edifies relationships between friends.
When the team at Foodservice Solutions® read that Grubhub was going to up the enter a venture with Venmo to drive awareness with its cashless payment options for time-pressed diners, especially Millennials our team wondered aloud ‘wow what a perfect fit.’
Grubhub a leading online and mobile ordering platform thousands of restaurants has partnered with Venmo, a peer-to-peer payment app favored by younger diners. The integration allows restaurant customers to pay bills or split a virtual check using PayPal’s Venmo.
Sam Hall, chief product officer for Grubhub stated “Adding the ‘split the bill’ feature provides an additional level of convenience our diners have come to expect from us. This is a big deal because Grubhub has a portfolio of other apps, such as Eat24 and Seamless, work with more than 80,000 restaurants in 1,600 U.S. cities and London. Diners ordering from restaurants such as Burger King, Rubio’s Coastal Grill, Wienerschnitzel, Subway, Krispy Kreme and Buffalo Wild Wings can now pay using their Venmo account.
Grubhub said more than 60 percent of the company’s orders are placed on mobile devices, so the partnership with Venmo makes sense. The app also allows users to send a payment to other Venmo users via iMessage on iPhones with iOS 10 or later.
Now think about this for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2017, Venmo processed $10.4 billion in payments, an increase of 86 percent year over year. Peer-to-peer payment users are projected to grow to 126 million by 2020, from 53 million in 2014, according to Statista. Grubhub and Venmo can complement consumer’s choice of payment options at your retail foodservice operation. 
So just what is your New Electricity? 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, April 19, 2018

On the Border’s Time Warp Marketing Tactics



There are times when a brands growth has been stifled by well-intentioned but off the mark executives in most cases those brands have been practicing brand protectionism of the past. Now appears to be one of those times at On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina were new brand custodians have stepped in to reevaluate the brands core attributes and edify the brand with contemporized relevance according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
However when you review the announcement of planned actions steps that On the Border is going to take  it looks a little like a there is a time warp of sorts that might hold delay the desired results. What do we mean ‘time warp’ well they that is On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina new c-level team says the casual-dining brand’s strengths lie in licensing and off-premise sales. 
Regular readers of this blog know that licensing branded restaurant meals for the ‘Frozen Food Court’ was a big deal for branded restaurants back in the day say the ‘hay-day’ of 2005-2010. Legacy CPG manufactures were and continue to ‘pack the grocery aisles’ with branded restaurant products. The simple fact is that was important and relevant to consumers yesterday and continues to be yesterday’s tactics not tomorrows customer relevance according to Johnson.
On the Border currently has a “robust” licensing program that includes nine varieties of chips, nine salsas and three types of queso in retail grocery locations.  Don’t miss understand the team at Foodservice Solutions® they do believes that this type of legacy branded distribution is cash flow positive and should be part of a brands integrated marketing strategy.  It is not the new electricity need to drive brand relevance today.
One area that On the Border looks more like today’s brand relevance is the area of catering off-premise business where they are growing and outpacing the industry averages. Catering marketing is better than yesterday’s licensing but a long way from tomorrow’s marketing of a branded invitation filled with customer relevance.
Restaurants are in an increasing battle for share of stomach.  Don’t let your brand look more like yesterday than tomorrow. Consumers are dynamic not static your brand should be as well. Are you looking a customer ahead? Don’t let your brand look like yesterday. 
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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Meijer Faster is Better With Shop & Scan



Integrating technology that is consumer empowering is a point of customer relevance that legacy grocery stores simply cannot overlook according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  At Meijer ‘Scan & Shop is the technology that will add incremental customer relevance creating a platform for new electricity to drive top line growth and bottom line profits.
Recently Meijer introduced ‘Shop & Scan, an app that streamlines the checkout process by allowing customers to scan bar codes on products and bag them as they shop, which decreases checkout time, a known pain point in the shopping process.’
Terry Ledbetter, chief information officer for Meijer stated “Shop & Scan will make the Meijer experience dramatically faster and more convenient for our customers,” … “This technology joins our curbside pickup and home delivery programs to provide yet another option for Meijer customers to personalize their shopping experience.”
The Shop & Scan technology works with Meijer's popular mPerks program via a free app that customers can download through the App store. Once customers have completed their shopping, they simply scan their phone at a self-checkout lane and pay, making the checkout experience quick and easy. This service will be available at all 235 Meijer stores by the end of the summer. Have you found your new electricity?
It is true that at Meijer you can use Scan & Shop to buy your meal kit making dinner just one more step simpler.  Success does leave clues clearly Meijer is making the most of them are you?
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, April 17, 2018

Superfoods Smoothies Fuel Success at Nekter Juice Bar


The halo of ‘better-for-you’ in the form of superfoods is the foundation for the new electricity fueling sales at Nekter Juice Bar according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Nékter Juice Bar, recently introduced two new energizing and skin-boosting smoothies featuring plant-based collagen and turmeric, two of nature’s most powerful Superfoods according to the companies press release. The new drinks are Dragon Berry Bliss and Turmeric Sunrise smoothies are part of Nékter’s new seasonal menu, which includes the return of fan favorite, Charcoal Vanilla Skoop, and Nékter’s annual Spring 1-Day Cleanse sale.
Steve Schulze, co-founder and CEO, Nékter Juice Bar stated “At Nékter Juice Bar, constant innovation allows us to offer increasingly healthier options for our guests,”… “Our new smoothies incorporate some of the latest and most powerful Superfoods that fuel overall wellness from the inside out.” 
For example Nékter’s new Dragon Berry Bliss smoothie features 100 percent plant-based collagen in a creamy and nourishing blend of blueberries, dragon fruit, banana, orange juice, coconut water, and a touch of agave nectar. Nutritional benefits are also plentiful and include:
·         Collagen—Exclusive plant-based blend with anti-aging benefits that enhances skin, hair and nails and promotes a glow from within.
·         Blueberries—With more antioxidants than green tea, blueberries are packed with Vitamins A, C and E, and also help promote more youthful-looking skin.
·         Dragon Fruit—Improves digestion, and amps metabolism, immunity and energy.
·         Orange—One of the planet’s best sources of Vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant.
·         Banana—Chock full of potassium and an instant source of energy.
The new Turmeric Sunrise smoothie is a refreshingly light and flavorful blend of pineapple, mango, coconut butter and coconut water with a bright touch of lime and zesty turmeric. This smoothie is exceptionally hydrating, and helps fight inflammation and boost immunity. Among the functional nutritional benefits are:
·         Turmeric—One of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, turmeric also adds a tangy flavorful kick.
·         Pineapple—Nicknamed the “natural weight loss food,” pineapple is low-calorie with no fat. Its high Vitamin B content also helps boost energy.
·         Coconut—Naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal, coconut is also extremely hydrating.
·         Lime—Bursting with Vitamin C and antioxidants, lime helps boost immunity, burn fat, and brighten and rejuvenate skin.
What is your new electricity? How do you plan to drive incremental top line sales and bottom line profits according to Johnson; partnerships specifically strategic partnerships will be driving retail success in 2018. Are you looking for a partnership to drive sales?  
Johnson stated “in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as digital hand held marketing, local fresh food,  grocerant consultants, urban farming (produce, seafood, etc.), autonomous delivery, better-for-you, cashier-less retail, cash-less payments, delivery, and voice ordering.
So just what is your New Electricity? 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

Monday, April 16, 2018

Grocerant Meal Solutions 9 Winning Clues for Success


Success does leave clues Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has continually pointed out over the past several years that empowering consumer choice around grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food would garner incremental customer transactions, larger share of food dollars, and larger share of stomach.
If legacy restaurant brands are going to survive or thrive they will new a new electricity to drive incremental top line sales and bottom line profits with new strategic partnerships. According to Johnson; partnerships specifically strategic partnerships will be  driving retail success in 2018. 
Johnson stated “in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as digital hand held marketing, local fresh food,  grocerant consultants, urban farming (produce, seafood, etc.), autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, cash-less payments, delivery, and voice ordering.
Grocery store Service Deli’s and Chain Restaurants to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar but with a twist.  Johnson had identified 9 foodservice undercurrents driving both retail food consumers migration and adoption.  Here they are:  


1. Evolve or Fade Away: Increased completion had elevated the blurring of retail channels expanding foodservice fragmentation.  According to a study by Deloitte, consumers on average shop at four to five different types of stores to fulfill their grocery needs. Foodservice Solutions® team has found increased SKU’s of grocerant fresh food at restaurants, online Meal Kits, drug stores, dollar stores, supercenters, discount, specialty, convenience, club stores and Mobile e-commerce ‘home’ stores. 

2. Ethnic Melting Pot:  The US Census reports the undercurrents of our evolving demographics will continue broaden, expanding the population of “multicultural consumers.” In fact in a new Nielsen study found that the “buying power from the Hispanic, Asian and African-American populations will be 17% of a $4.2 trillion market. The Melting Pot of opportunity is overflowing with grocerant niche success points according to the team Looking A Customer Ahead at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

3. Halo of ‘Better-for-You’: Consumer tell us that grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is ‘better-for-them’ as the halo includes not doing dishes or cooking from scratch. Acosta found that “nearly one-third of shoppers surveyed considered leaving a store if fresh and healthy options were not available.”

5. Customization and Personalization:  Retailers the ilk of Green Zebra Grocery, EveryTable, and Wegmans continue to attract loyal customers with convenience, quality, value, and customer service. Customization and personalization via mix and match meal component bundling are hallmarks of success found within the grocerant niche according to the Grocerant Guru®.  Restaurants continue capitulating customers as consumers seek fresh food in non-traditional fresh food retail outlets that are becoming more of a priority.

6. Price and Private label: Trader Joe’s private label products have the ‘halo of better-for-you’ according to non-client information aggraded from over 8,116 Grocerant ScoreCards. A recent Nielsen/PLMA study, sales of private label products generated a record $120 billion last year, and continued to outpace national brands. Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Lidl will continue to increase market share leveraging price and quality private label foods.

7. Hand Held Marketing:  Mobile smart phones continue to garner adopting in fact according Nielsen 85% of Millennials have a smart phone. Consumers of all ages continue to embrace digital technology and social media as a means to connect and communicate about food or when looking for food. A recent study showed that 37% of shoppers use their mobile devices in store for comparing prices, searching for product information, or checking product availability.

8. Mini Meals at Mini Locations:  Rent is expensive and more and more retailers have no locations or smaller locations virtual dining from a home or local kitchen is a growing trend. According to a Package Facts study, even the average square footage of supermarkets has fallen since 2006 and is now approximately 46,000 sq. ft. Even smaller size formats of 25,000 sq. ft. or less, modeled by chains like Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s and Lidl, have proven to be successful.

9. The Price Value Service Equilibrium is Resetting:   Foodservice Solutions® team identified, quantified and qualified a new formula for the foodservice Price, Value, Service, Equilibrium. That formula can be found with this link. Consumers are dynamic not static and food retailers must evolve their brands to both maintain and garner consumers frequency levels.

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, April 15, 2018

Restaurant Customer Counts DOWN Retail Denial is Disabling



Chain restaurant C-level executives appear to be once again at the intersection of brand protectionism and competitive denial according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
 While most restaurant industry C-level executives understand that consumers 10 years after the start of the recent recession continue to seek new non-traditional alternatives for fresh prepared meals, and meal components few will allow their brand to grow with consumers and instead continue to practice brand protectionism of the 1980’s. 
These are not the 1980’s and chain restaurants can’t wait for another ten years for customer counts to return. Even the Wall Street Restaurant Analyst that our team works with say that time is running out for those trying to maintain the status quo rather than stepping-up and standing-out.
Restaurant same-store sales rose 0.8% in March, according to TDn2K's latest Black Box Intelligence index, as the restaurant industry shows signs of creeping out of a two-year slump all the while same-store traffic still fell 2.1%.  This trend cannot continue unabated.
Consumers path to purchase for meals and meal components has evolved as has their dining habits as our Grocerant Guru® noted when he identified, quantified, qualified the 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome. Today consumers are buying Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat prepared meals frequently at grocers or convenience stores according to Johnson. The simple truth is restaurant traffic in the first quarter of 2018 declined 2.7% year over year. 
The restaurant sector must get a grip on the fast that 34.2% of US household have only 1 person. That 50.7% of US residents over the age of 18 are single today combined these to fast help explain the shift in path to purchase. 

With 80.7% of all US restaurant visit occur within the Quick Service Sector and that sector has over the past ten years gone from the $5 meal deal to the $4 meal deal putting pricing pressure on all other retail sectors except fine dining. This race to the bottom is not a race that is sustainable nor the future path to success. 
Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Index and Grocerant ScoreCards have indicated since 2009 a clear path of preference that consumers are traveling when it comes to where to eat, what to eat, and where to buy dinner. Are you practicing brand protectionism of the 1980’s?  Customer brand relevance requires evolving with consumers not waiting for the economy to turn back time.  The status quo is not good enough in 2018.
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.


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Starbucks Evolving with Consumers


Every food retailer in the world should spend more time studying the history of Starbucks. Founded 47 years ago Starbucks is a perennial food industry leader when it comes to year over year same store sales, unit growth.  Regular reader of this blog know that Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has on three different years named Howard Schultz food merchant of the year. 
Schultz cultivated a culture of intense customer focus, product innovation, and employee respect, platform that today under the current CEO Kevin Johnson continues. Recently Starbucks in acknowledging consumer migration to the grocerant niche announced to combat a seismic shift in the retail environment it would shift its focus as well.
Starbucks said its plans to expand digital relationships with customers, add more stores in China, and introduce premium experiences through its Reserve cafes and food program.  “We’ve got to push for reinvention and innovation,” CEO Kevin Johnson said.  Yes, 47 years in business and reinvention and innovation.  We what is your company doing to continue to evolve with consumers?
Starbucks executives said mobile devices have become the biggest technological disruptors in the industry, and that the chain needs to pounce on consumer demand for speed and convenience. Roz Brewer Starbucks COO and group president stated  “The growth of mobile order and pay has transformed how we run our stores,” “We want to serve the customers in the many ways that they want to interact with us.”
At Starbucks currently, more than 30 percent of all transactions in the U.S. are paid using a mobile app.  “We want to reach millions of more customers digitally,” Johnson stated.  Today your nearest location to any customer is in the palm of the consumer’s hand. 
Millennials are in a constant quest to discover new foods and hand held food for immediate consummation it at the top of that list according to our Grocerant Guru® and Starbucks is going to assist millennials discover new food at Starbucks by focusing on food innovation. In fact Starbucks pledged to dedicate resources to improve and expand popular menu programs. Specifically, the company said it would double its food business by 2021. 
After 47 years of success Starbucks platform looks as if it will continue to lead the foodservice industry for many more year.   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.