Saturday, March 28, 2020

Non-Traditional Fresh Food Success Whitsons Culinary Group Stands-Out



Does your restaurant, service deli, or convenience store food menu, meals, and meal components offering’s look more like yesterday than today? Are you having a difficult time figuring out, just how you can drive growth, while offering meals that look like yesterday? Stop doing that. 
It’s time to evolve your business model to look more like a grocerant and garner incremental success according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
If you are ready to stop practicing brand protectionism, and start looking a customer ahead, Johnson suggest you take a look at some meal and meal components that have customer relevance, kids like today, (Note: if they like them now they will like them in five years) then Johnson suggest you look at: Simply Boxed grab-and-go meal combos from Whitsons Culinary Group.
Simply Boxed are fully reimbursable school breakfasts and lunches packaged with added relevance as they are 100% plant-based, compostable containers and designed to speed up lines in elementary, middle and high school cafeterias. Ok, selling fresh food for kids that is ‘better-for-you’ and better-for the environment seems like a no-brainer.  Well if that is the case why are you not doing it?
So, when Whitsons Culinary Group first rolled out its Simply Boxed grab-and-go school meal program last fall it was clear kids like it.  Now Whitsons, has it in some three dozen districts, serving all grade levels from kindergarten to senior high school.

Handheld food for immediate consumption still rules the day; the Simply Boxed Belgian waffle bites were a surprisingly big hit in the program’s pilot phase, showing a taste among students for breakfast-at-lunch type offerings.
Reports of the that the pilot phase yielded a couple of surprises such as the popularity of the Belgian waffle bites as a cold brunch-for-lunch option, along with a vegan pack centered around hummus, a protein pack and, perhaps inevitably, the pizza pack.
While the company is still gathering and analyzing data and can’t offer specific numbers on sales companywide, anecdotal evidence suggests that Simply Boxed has helped to boost meal participation as well as customer satisfaction by reducing service times and lunch lines.
Once again, we ask do your meal options look more like yesterday than today’s fresh food success offerings? Is your brand expanding points of distribution?
Are you looking for a new partnership 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, March 27, 2020

Virtual Restaurant Group: A New Look for Restaurant Growth


Understanding the intricacies of expanding a restaurant brand today is almost impossible. Simply trying to stay afloat is a too tough for many chain restaurant operators.  There is one company that wants to fill the gap left by those stifled with an outdated business model according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  That company is The Absolute Brands.
This new restaurant group is comprised of Dog Haus and eight unique concepts. Each new brand will operate at virtual kitchen locations, which are delivery-only, and will offer delicious new items that are off-shoots of Dog Haus’ signature menu.
In response to the impact that mandatory closures have had on restaurants across the nation, several brick-and-mortar Dog Haus locations will serve three of these concepts for pick-up and delivery only in the coming weeks:
Bad Mutha Clucka—Crispy or Nashville Hot? No matter the style, the unforgettable taste of Bad Mutha Clucka’s chef-driven chicken sandwiches, and crave-able wings—made with 100 percent all-natural, vegetarian fed and antibiotic-free chicken—topped with the best ingredients possible and served on grilled King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, as well as some delicious sides, will have you crowing for more. Plus, you can order the Karaage Kid—inspired by Japanese karaage chicken. This is Dog Haus’ best-selling limited-time item of all time.
Plant B—Plant B makes going beyond meat easy with great tasting, sustainable plant-based proteins, premium toppings and delicious sides. It’s impossible not to like Plant B’s chef-driven burger and sausage creations that make animal meat green with envy. Plant to eat one today.
Bad-Ass Breakfast Burritos—Get a dropkick to the face any time of day with a bad-ass breakfast burrito. Whether you have some early-morning cravings or late-night munchies, you can chow down on expertly rolled soft flour tortilla burritos, filled with premium meats ranging from bacon and pastrami to gourmet sausages with crispy potatoes, cheese and perfectly cooked eggs. Pair that with our addicting sauces and you’ve got yourself a bad-ass meal.
To add to the excitement, The Absolute Brands is providing fans with an all-new burger concept at virtual kitchen locations:
Freiburger—Want bigger, better burgers made with perfectly cooked patties and premium ingredients? Freiburger does it right. It uses certified humanely raised, vegetarian fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free 100 percent genetically tested Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms. Then we top it with the best ingredients available, and serve it up to you on grilled King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls. And if meat isn’t your thing, Freiburger offers plant-based patties from Impossible Foods.
The Absolute Brands will soon announce the remaining four brands—its new breakfast, salad, pastrami and quesadilla concepts. In addition to the new brands, The Absolute Brands will introduce pop-up concepts for seasonal happenings and chef collaborations.
Dog Haus Partner Hagop Giragossian stated “At Dog Haus, we are unlocking the box on what you can do within the typical four walls of a restaurant,” … “We believe it is extremely important to capitalize on delivery by maximizing the use of virtual kitchen spaces. We also believe in the positive direction virtual kitchens are headed and see a bright future in this space as we launch these new concepts where we can test popular items. Ultimately, our end goal with virtual kitchens is to reach wider audiences with our acclaimed, innovative menu items.” Is it time to evolve your business model?
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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Grocery Sector Plateaus: Amazon Go’s Competition Ratchets-Up Development


Consumers are dynamic not static. Retail discontinuity drives competition.  Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® reports that their most recent Grocerant SocreCards indicate that grocery store sales may have plateaued.
While more and more restaurants are closing down, consumers have over stocked on shelf stable grocery items and Johnson believes that grocery store sales have plateaued. Yes, there are still some store shelves that are empty of items the ilk of Hand Sanitizer, Clorox Wipes, and Toilet Paper but they can be found at select drug stores, convenience stores, and online. 
Consumers are now migrating from channel to channel no longer looking to ‘stock-up’, but rather to fill a gap/spot on the shelf at home. Grocery store basket size will return to normal within three months while some consumers adopt new social-distancing practices migrating to contactless food shopping platforms for incremental safety the ilk of QuickEats and Amazon Go Grocery according to Johnson.
 At the intersection of retail discontinuity and opportunity; innovation always prevails, according to Johnson. The QuickEats concept is using AWM Frictionless technology for “an unmanned, self-service grocery microstore”. 
QuickEats is empowering consumers choice for fresh food fast placing personal safety as a top-of-mind attribute. Johnson contends that cashierless shopping become a choice for many wanting to continue to practice some social-distancing even after the coronavirus outbreak subsides. concerns demanding more contactless food shopping options.
So, QuickEats, uses proprietary computer vision technologies and artificial intelligence to track movement of shoppers and goods in the store, allowing shoppers to walk in, take what they want from shelves, walk out and pay using an app in the style of stores such as Amazon Go. Now there is direct competition within the cashierless space growth and adoption will follow. 
AWM CEO Kevin Howard said in a statement, “When we planned the launch of QuickEats many months ago, we never could have imagined the circumstances our community now faces as Orange County practices social distancing due to coronavirus,”  “We made the decision to open our doors because QuickEats can provide vital food, drink and personal care items to Nineteen01’s residents in a completely frictionless environment that adheres to the current protocols being requested by [the county’s] health officer.”
AWM said its solution can be implemented in a wide range of store sizes and formats, from micromarkets to convenience stores to larger-format retailers. Is your business model evolving?  Does your retail format look more like yesterday than tomorrow?  Have your sales plateaued? Are you tired of losing market share to Amazon? 
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, March 25, 2020

Restaurant Meal Disruption Catastrophe or Opportunity


While the undercurrents of consumer adoption of grab-n-go meals and Grocerant niche customer migration have been well documented over the past 20 years today many chain restaurants look more like a restaurant brand from 1980 than a consumer focused growth food retailer of today according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Prior to the coronavirus restaurant chain year over year customer counts continue to decline according to all reports including traditional restaurant trade magazines which do not to report bad news about the industry they cover and seek advertising for.
The competition for restaurant customers has become a ‘Battle for Share of Stomach’ . Non-traditional Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food the ilk of club stores, limited-assortment stores, e-grocers and specialty stores are poised for accelerated growth at the expense restaurants according to Johnson.  
So, if you are a chain restaurant, independent restaurant or a regional food distributor there is only one question.  Are you going to just let it happen? It’s time to step-up and address the customer facing touchpoints driving consumer adoption.  In short evolve or close your doors.  
According to a study by Pentallect, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, nontraditional food channels currently account for $210 billion in consumer expenditures, and projects 7% annual growth for these channels over the next five years, versus 3.5% for foodservice and 1% for traditional retail, which encompasses supermarkets, supercenters, mass/drug, and dollar stores. The nontraditional channels are projected account for 30% of food industry growth over the next five years.
Bob Goldin, a Pentallect stated, “nontraditional channels represent a ‘sweet spot’ in the food and beverage industry. Their growth is based upon strong consumer appeal and generally favorable business models.” Pentallect President Rob Veidenheimer observed that “each of the channels has unique consumer appeal and continues to evolve at a very rapid rate. We have studied these channels closely over the past several years and see them as significant share gainers for the foreseeable future.”
Pentallect, conducted comprehensive research and analysis into 10 nontraditional channels – club stores, community-supported agriculture (CSA), ethnic/neighborhood stores such as bodegas, farmers’ markets, food trucks, limited-assortment stores, meal kits/home-delivered meals, online, specialty stores such as bakeries and butchers, and Trader Joe’s, gleaning insights from more than 1,000 consumers and trade sources.
While others talk about Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food, Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCards were the first to identify, quantify, and qualify the niche, the success and the unique was in which your brand can successfully ‘Look A Customer Ahead’.  Success does leave clues stop capitulating year over year customer counts. 
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


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Grocerant Niche Growth Can Drive Innovation within the Restaurant Sector



Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® once again reiterates convenience is the key factor driving supermarket prepared food sales, tired of cooking, tired of doing dishes shoppers seek quick-and-easy alternatives to cooking meals at home while giving the family entrée choices they don’t have the skill-set to cook at home.  
Food retailers in every foodservice sector can make life at home alone or with the family easier by offering mix & match bundled meal deals that combine an entree with two sides, for example, or other combinations of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat meal components. With the grocerant niche merchandising top of mind combined with a branded promotion, bundled meals can help drive incremental spending by encouraging customers to “trade up” from a stand-alone entrée according to our Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
Think about how our Grocerant Guru® suggest selling incremental meal components. By merchandising grab-and-go side dishes for two-to-four people near the rotisserie chicken as part of a meal deal is one way to make bundling easy for shoppers and spur impulse sales. Offering a variety of sides and starches lets shoppers customize their meal based on the preferences of individual family members. Or, consider bundling the entree with a family-sized prepared salad from the deli to make a quick and easy light meal with broad appeal.
The restaurant sector has seen a boom in delivery and takeout that is often attributed to a surge in demand from millennials, but new research shows baby boomers may be the drivers of ongoing growth.  That according to our Grocerant Guru® this is but another example of customer migration from grocery stores to new non-traditional fresh food retail outlets for meals for home.
In research from the National Restaurant Association shows that 51% of baby boomers—defined for the research as consumers ages 55 to 73—are not ordering delivery and takeout as often as they’d like. That compares with 43% of millennials, or people ages 21 to 38.
Nearly the same portion of the younger group, 42%, indicated a desire to dine on-premise more frequently. That compares with the 38% of baby boomers who said they’d like to eat at restaurants more often.
Sandwiched in between those two generations were Gen Xers, who demonstrated a strong desire for more off-premise meals (49%) and on-premise dining (47%). The research defines members of that cohort as consumers ages 39 to 54.
The research confirms that consumers are still hungering for more takeout and delivery. Forty-nine percent said they would like more off-premise restaurant meals, compared with 42% who cited a pent-up demand for dine-in occasions. It’s time to evolve your 1999, 2005, 2015 business model with customer relevance.
When you look at all of the data one thing is clear consumers do not want to cook, do not want to do dishes, and they all want dinner with ease.  How are you preparing to serve dinner to the next generation of dinners? Do you know where they will want to eat? When the want to eat? Or how they want to eat their next meal?
Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced Grocerant niche food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, www.Linkedin.com/in/grocerant/  or www.twitter.com/grocerant




Monday, March 23, 2020

Restaurant Sector: The Next New Normal



At the intersection of get me out of the house and What’s for dinner, consumers seeking solutions to how to feed the family. Many are afraid of stepping outside, many others are leery of what germs are on the packaging, delivery item, and payment methods. For 80,000,000+ restaurants are closed and many of those may never reopen even if this only last 4, 6, or 8, more weeks.
Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson based in Tacoma, WA believes that there is a huge opportunity for independent restaurants and chain restaurants to evolve their current business model, with long-term relevance, focusing on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meals and meal components with mix & match product bundling.
The grocerant niche has been the undercurrent of global foodservice growth for 19 plus years according to Johnson. Three key elements that continue to expand in importance for consumers are the fact consumers are looking for value both dollar value and time savings, convenience they want options and new points of distribution, experience means no extensive cooking or clean-up.
Restaurants that evolve with customer relevance touchpoints will make a Huge Comeback.  Consumers are becoming claustrophobic and will need an outlet to socialize and within the options those garnering the most success will have branded, craveable, grocerant niche mix & match product options according to Johnson.
In 2020 very few like cooking and being FORCED to wash dishes and clean up daily.  Branded restaurants will come back with SPECIALS to drive people back. Restaurants that want to keep those customers coming will start today thinking about how they can best evolve their business model and customer touchpoints. Are you looking a customer ahead?
While grocery stores are selling untold cases of canned food to consumers much of it will sit on the shelves in consumer homes slowing sales in grocery stores.  The simple fact is Non-traditional fresh food ‘grocerant’ retailers with drive growth over the next 10 years, outpacing that of the legacy both restaurants and grocery stores. 
Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? 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.

Are you a Player
in the Battle for Share of Stomach




Sunday, March 22, 2020

Rouses Market Helping Restaurants Sell Meals while Closed


Neighbors being neighbors helping the community find some normalcy while edifying its relationship with consumers.  Our Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson wants to thank Kat Martin for bringing this story to the world.  We are all in this unusual Coronavirus situation together some cities and states are experiencing it much worse than others.  Here is some bright news for everyone.  
In short at Rouses Market customers buy meals in-store, restaurants keep the profits. We all have heard or seen that restaurants have been forced to close. In areas where coronavirus pandemic is reaching its peak So, Rouses Market is testing a program where customers can buy to-go meals prepared by some of their favorite restaurants that are being sold in Rouses stores. The following is from Martin’s story:
“We are one food community, and much as we can, we will support each other during these difficult times,” said Donny Rouse, CEO of Rouses Market. “Our customers visit our stores for lunch or dinner, not just for groceries. This gives restaurants another way to sell takeout, and our customers another way to support some of their favorite restaurants and chefs.”
Rouses is offering turtle soup and grits and grillades prepared by chef Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace, and pita and hummus prepared by chef Alon Shaya of Saba at Rouses Market in downtown New Orleans. Other local options include plate meals from Big Mike’s BBQ at the Rouses Market in Thibodaux, including fried catfish for Lent. Frank Brightsen will begin selling at Rouses Market in Uptown New Orleans in the coming days. Bread from Bywater Bakery will be available at two New Orleans locations to be announced.
“We’re also trying to help restaurants that find themselves with a surplus of inventory. We purchased a large quantity of USDA prime beef steaks from Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse. They will soon be in our stores,” said Rouse.    
Rouse also encourages those in the hospitality industry who find themselves temporarily out of work to apply for immediate open positions at the stores. Several grocers are looking to partner with foodservice operations to help keep their staff employed during the pandemic as restaurants dine-in facilities remain closed.  How can you help your neighbors?
Are you looking for a new partnership 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.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Guerrilla Tacos Grocerant Niche Mix & Match Give Away



Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson want to give a shout-out to the marketing team at Guerrilla Tacos for being elevating consumer touchpoints and highlighting the importance of grocerant niche mix & match bundling.
Why the shout-out well Guerrilla Tacos is selling Emergency Taco Kits, complete with 4 toilet paper rolls and 30 eggs. Now that’s the mix & match bundling that expands customer relevance today. I need not say more.  It is an outstanding promotion.
So, when Guerrilla Tacos had just found out they had to close the inside seating, leaving them with a problem: What to do with the leftover food? Thus, according to CNN, “Co-owner Brittney Valles, chef and fellow co-owner Wes Avila, and other members of the team put their heads together. Valles wanted to do something like a batch meal -- but no Lean Cuisine vibes, she said. Something that felt fun and homey, the rest of the team agreed.”
So, that’s their idea for Emergency Taco Kits.  The kit includes, five pounds of roasted chicken, five pounds of carne asada, a pint of red salsa, a pint of green salsa, tortillas, onions, cilantro, and rice and beans. To help alleviate customers' shopping needs amid coronavirus concerns, the restaurant also decided each kit should include emergency essentials: Four rolls of toilet paper and 30 eggs.  In the battle for Share of Stomach mix & match meal bunding is a fundamental ingredient.
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, www.Linkedin.com/in/grocerant/ or www.twitter.com/grocerant/

Battle for Share of Stomach


Friday, March 20, 2020

7-Eleven Sells Fresh Food Fast



There is no other food retail company that sells branded fresh food as fast or as successful as 7-Eleven according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. When it comes to food branding 7-Eleven has to rank near the top.  Consider that back in 1967 they branded the  Slurpee that has become a platform for fresh food fast and global success story.
Regular readers of this blog know that success does leave clues and while the Slurpee was clue one what would you say if 7-Eleven was to open Southern-inspired quick-serve concept? Well, they did and they branded the concept called “Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits”. The concept is co-located in one of four of the retailer’s new Evolution Stores.
In short, 7-Eleven Evolution Stores are real-time, real-life experiential testing grounds where customers can try and buy the retailer’s latest innovations in revolutionary new store formats. Dubbed, “Chicken Worth Crossing the Road For,” Raise the Roost offers a simple menu: made-from-scratch, hand-breaded fried chicken tenders with signature sauces, bone-in and boneless wings, signature chicken sandwiches and breakfast sandwiches. The in-store restaurant from 7-Eleven offers both made-to-order and grab-and-go options.
Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food sells and 7-Eleven knows it, built on a dayparts with Coffee,  the Big Bite, Stuffed Pillsbury Waffle, Pizza and the Slurpee to name but a few. 
7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto stated “On the go customers are looking for high-quality, differentiated food options, and 7-Eleven continues to explore new concepts that meet that demand,” “Raise the Roost offers craveable food and generous portions at prices below what you’ll find at most fried chicken establishments.”
In addition to Raise the Roost, the New York 7-Eleven Evolution Store located at 88 Greenwich Street also offers exclusive products, services and features:
·         Made-to-order specialty drinks that give customers the option to customize their drinks in a full-service beverage format including custom hot coffee drinks like flavored lattes, mochas and more as well as custom cold drinks like smoothies and cold brew coffee
·         Self-serve bean-to-cup coffee with the addition of touch-screen machines that brew custom hot and iced coffee in just seconds
·         Novelty beverages on tap that dispense cold beverages like tea, cold brew, kombucha, nitro cold brew, flavored drinks and more
·         Cold treats bar with self-serve frozen yogurt and ice cream that can be swirled to create new flavors with multiple toppings
·         Mobile Checkout: Customers can skip the checkout counter and pay for their purchases via the 7-Eleven app and accompanying 7Rewards loyalty program
·         7NOW Delivery App: 7-Eleven’s on-demand delivery app allows customers to achieve convenience like never before and have their favorite items like fresh food, beverages, snacks, groceries and household products delivered straight to their door
Now consider this 7-Eleven understands that retail foodservice needs to be interactive and participatory so each Evolution Store has customized design elements and product assortment to reflect the neighborhood and customers it will serve.
One last success clue: 7‑Eleven operates, franchises and/or licenses more than 70,000 stores in 17 countries, including 11,800 in North America.  Remember Fresh food fast sells.
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