Monday, July 9, 2018

Restaurants struggle as consumers are forced to take a step backwards

US labor force participation rate for June 2018 was 62.9% according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there was an increase in jobs during June many of those jobs continue to be part time jobs notably less than 35 hours per week.  Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® believe cash strapped part time workers simply can’t afford to eat out as often as they use too.
In a new survey Nielsen  found “fully 45% of consumers are preparing more meals at home” in addition 45% or more have cut back on restaurant meals which includes both at restaurant visits and restaurant food delivery.
Talking about taking a step back in time topping the list of actions consumers are doing “about as often” or “more often” today versus a year ago are:
1.        Checking the pantry for inventory before shopping 94%;
2.       Preparing home cooked meals, 93%; serving leftover meals at home, 93%;
3.       Trying to reduce food waste to save on food bills, 93%;
4.       Stocking the household food pantry, 91%;
5.       Making healthy food choices when eating at home or away-from-home, 90%.
6.       Checking prices or deals before deciding where to buy food, 88%;
7.       Preparing meals at-home or taking leftover meals to eat at work or school, 84%;
8.       Checking prices or deals before deciding where to purchase a restaurant meal, 79%.

Well that same survey found that consumers are doing less of this:
1.       Buying meal kits online, 54% of households claimed to be doing less often;
2.       Buying meal kits at a retailer, 50%;
3.       Ordering meals via phone or online that are delivered to the home and eaten at home, 50%;
4.       Eating at higher-end restaurants, 50%;
5.       Eating at fast-food restaurants, 47%;
6.       Ordering meals via phone or online that you or another household member pick-up and eat at home, 46%;
7.       Purchasing meals out during work or school (to eat there or at the restaurant), 44%; eating at fast-casual restaurants, 44%;
8.       Taking prepared meals purchased at a retailer to eat at work or school, 42%;
9.       Serving ready-to-eat prepared meals purchased from a retailer, 42%;
10.   Serving heat and eat frozen or refrigerated meals purchased from a retailer, 39%.
So just what does that mean for the grocerant niche.  Simply put Americans are taking a step back due to higher gas prices, doubts about the Trump tariffs, and continued economic uncertainty according to Johnson.  Remember Foodservice Solutions® findings on SNAP (food stamps) users from 2014 that found McDonalds was an aspirational brand.  Well the team at Foodservice Solutions® believes that millions of part time workers want eat at a restaurant more often than they can.  Consumers continue to find the middle ground in grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.
For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact:  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: for more information

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