Thursday, October 21, 2021

Is a Drive-Through Grocery the Next Big-Thing?

 


Grocerant niche success is exactly what Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has been assisting drive forward, engineering, pontificating about, elevating since 1991.  This week he was asked if drive-thru grocery stores were the next Big-Thing.

From Malaysia, France, Spain, Australia, Netherlands, and the U.S. Johnson has edified the growth of the grocerant platform, tracked its ability to garner customer migration from every sector of food retail and tracked consumers wiliness to save time, save money, while expanding flavor profiles when it comes to meal time.

Johnson believes that OPIE Drive-Thru Grocery is going to be a disrupting force with the grocery sector and will garner customers from both legacy grocery stores and convenience stores in the U.S. while being a wake-up call for the restaurant sector that continues to look more like yesterday than tomorrow focusing on one meal at a time.  

So, in case you did not know, OPIE Drive-Thru Grocery recently opened its 3,000-square-foot flagship store in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.  So, the site is the first of three currently planned locations in the Charleston, S.C., area for the first-of-its-kind, high-tech drive-thru grocery store chain.

Is OPIE Drive-Thru Grocery a perfect consumer focused solution? According to Johnson, no but it the best alternative to old, stale, 35-minute grocery walk around the store to pick up five items to date.

OPIE Charleston Director Scott Thomas, "We're meeting consumers where they are — in their cars, picking up kids, and going to work," … "Convenience is hard to schedule! That's why we're open 24/7 and don't require customers to schedule a pick-up time. Life is spontaneous, and our service responds to that."


OPIE allows customers to pick up groceries without leaving the car. They do not have to schedule ahead of time and there are no fees or order minimums. So, I knew you were thinking it, but what about Walmart’s curbside pick-up? Target’s pick-up.  Here is why OPIE Drive -thru Grocery will be disruptive:

1.       Recent Grocerant ScoreCards found 82.3% of consumers don’t know what’s for dinner at Noon, and 61.1 don’t know what’ s for dinner at 4PM %.

2.       83.1% all dinners have at least 1 grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meal component and 68.4% have two meal components.

3.       When asked if they wanted to cook dinner from scratch or assemble dinner from fresh meal components 90.4 % of Gen Z chose assemble from Fresh Prepared Meal Components and Millennials 82.7% chose meal components.

4.       Seventy-three percent of retail prepared food purchases are taken to go

5.       Prepared food purchases are frequently a planned purchase among 59% of shoppers, while 41% of shoppers said they buy prepared foods on impulse. Dinner has the highest amount of prepared food buys with 79% of respondents making purchases for that meal, while lunch comes in at 77% and breakfast at 62%.

6.       55% of consumers would like to try autonomous EV delivery

 


At OPIE customers can order in their cars via mobile app and have the order brought out minutes later. For smaller express orders, customers can order directly with the clerks in the drive-thru lane. Customers can also order online at OPIEStores.com.

The company's focus is on perfecting the high-tech, close-to-consumer "dark store" concept, according to co-founder Tyler Sones.

"Over 70 million Americans go through a drive-thru every day," he said. "This is a profitable way to bring real convenience to grocery. So far our biggest fans are busy parents and seniors."

Mount Pleasant-based OPIE Drive-Thru Grocery is open 24 hours a day and features thousands of items in nearly every category found in a traditional grocery store, including fresh meats, produce and bakery items. The "convenience grocery store" also has a substantial organic and natural selection. Well, are you planning a visit?  I think you should if you want to compete in food retail five years from now.

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® 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 us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter




Wednesday, October 20, 2021

7-Eleven Pizza is Hot On and Off Social Media

 


If you want to spice up your tase buds just a bit this October, you should pop into a 7-Eleven and try either a slice of 11-Pepper Sauce pizza or a bag of Paqui Haunted Ghost Pepper chips according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Gen Z and Millennials continue in search of new food items, well 7—Eleven has a deal that will spice up their day according to Johnson.

So, 7--Eleven is calling all fans of pizza, spicy food challenges and social media to visit a participating 7-Eleven convenience store for the One Slice Challenge. This is an interactive participatory consumer focused LTO targeting those that want either hot, hot, ho, food or new food experiences,

You should drop-in right away while supplies last, consumers can choose to eat one slice of any 7-Eleven pizza, top it with the retailer's proprietary 11-Pepper Sauce and a bag of Paqui Haunted Ghost Pepper chips, and wash it down with a can of Liquid Death Mountain Water. Now that a 1, 2, 3 punch that personally will pass on.  However, I assure you this LTO will garner the right crowd while elevating social media buzz for 7-Eleven.


Here is the social media side, 7-Eleven is asking fans to post their reactions on social media, using the hashtag #OneSliceChallenge on Instagram, TikTok or Twitter. The reward is ultimate bragging rights and the chance to be featured on 7‑Eleven social channels, according to the convenience retailer.

Amber Langston, 7‑Eleven product director of pizza, stated, "We want to celebrate the risk takers and those who are always up for a challenge by giving them a fun way to make 7‑Eleven part of their daily lives,"  "And what better way to try our new 7-Meat Pizza and 11-Pepper sauce than to combine them and add a satisfying crunchy chip to the top?!"

This trial is priced right as, everything necessary to participate in the One Slice Challenge is available for just $3 during the month of October, with the 7Rewards loyalty program. Components include:

·         Any slice of 7-Eleven pizza. Varieties include cheese, pepperoni or the new 7-Meat Pizza, featuring pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, beef, bacon, diced ham, and Italian sausage.

·         


A packet of the "freakishly hot, try at your own risk" 11-Pepper Sauce, made from 11 varieties of peppers, including ghost pepper, habanero, chili powder, black pepper, white pepper, chipotle, jalapeño, ancho, pasilla, guajillo, and red pepper.

·         A 2-ounce bag of Paqui Haunted Ghost Pepper chips.

·         Any can of Liquid Death Mountain Water, still or sparkling.

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideas look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how our Grocerant Guru® 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: us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter



Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Bluestone Lane Growing Inside

 


Strategy matters.  How are you going to drive brand growth?  Who are your target customers and where can you find them? Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® “Bluestone Lane understand branding, strategy, and the cost of customer acquisition.

Reducing the cost of new customer acquisition is important for all food service companies. In 2021 reducing cost of new customer acquisitions, while opening new units, and extending your brands reach simultaneously is very rare.  However, Bluestone Lane has found a way to do just that while garnering new electricity for its brand messaging according to Johnson.

Get this, Bluestone Lane has loaded its development pipeline with at least 11 more U.S. sites through a deal to offer its signature drinks and menu items within a new line of “lifestyle” hotels being introduced by Hilton.

So, under the arrangement, Tempo by Hilton properties will exclusively feature Bluestone-brand coffee, tea and latte products. Cafes within the hotels will also feature Bluestone menu specialties. The partners cite such possible examples as the chain’s Avocado Smash, chili-spiced egg scrambles, grain-based bowls and wraps.

The announcement did not indicate if the cafes will carry the Bluestone Lane name. But consider the craveability of the Bluestone Lane menu and beverages they will resonate with consumers, while driving top line sales and bottom-line profits at Bluestone Lane.


Here is another plus, in addition, Bluestone products will be included in the small-plate menu that Hilton plans to offer as part of its evening bar service. Packaged items will be available for grab-and-go customers, according to the partners.

If you did not know, New York City-based Bluestone currently has 55 locations in the United States, according to Hilton. The lodging giant’s website for Tempo indicates that 11 of the hotels are currently under development within the U.S.  Hilton says the properties are aimed at the modern traveler, with an open-lobby design. How are you growing your brand?

According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”  That said, what are you waiting for?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.

All retailers 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 not different. 

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 GrocerantGuru.com 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.



Monday, October 18, 2021

Restaurants Can Find Solutions Technology Solutions at Dylish


 Do you feel like your company can never keep pace with the fast-evolving world of foodservice technology? Does it seem a national chain or the restaurant next door is always one step ahead of you when it come to technology. 

At the intersection of any size restaurants and foodservice technology in a new platform that just might be your answer to assist you drive new electricity into your brand according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Have you heard of Dylish? It helps any size restaurant save money and promote their brand with a full online package that includes a customized webpage, marketing materials, social media presence, customizable iOS and Android apps, QR codes, tablet and printer, delivery, and everything a restaurant needs to move food from kitchens to satisfied customers. That my friends is a one stop shop for a restaurant owner that can save you a lot of time, aggravation, while edifying your relevance with customers according to Johnson.

So, Dylish has an expansive radius of delivery services that they are able to offer because they partner with 3rd party delivery companies. Dylish is available as a series of affordable monthly subscriptions, starting at only $49.  For small independent restaurants service options matter and price is very important. 

This now platform, Dylish has been in development for three years, launching in April 2020 amid the pandemic. So, they already know exactly what restaurants have been going through, and they quickly reached out to them, helping their clients to cut way down on their delivery and takeout fees. Those savings get passed on to customers as well. As they begin to reach more merchants, Dylish will continue to listen to their needs and requests. The company is also looking into developing its own POS system down the line as they continue to grow with the businesses they serve.

What consumers want is a branded solution that is quick and simple to use, Dylish makes it easy for diners to order online the food they love. Diners simply go to the restaurant's website and find the Order Now or Delivery button. This opens the Dylish ordering page, which can then be saved as an app on the diner's mobile device for future convenience. Diners can scroll through categories to find their favorite menu options, and during checkout, simply fill out their info, leave a tip, and hit Send.

The drill at Dylish is like most others service, delivery orders are sent directly to each restaurant, along with pickup instructions. Drivers are assigned and diners are sent the driver's temporary contact info in case they need to give specific delivery instructions.



Dylish also provides order-receiving hardware to each restaurant client, allowing online orders to blend in seamlessly with each kitchen's day-to-day activities. Other Dylish features include:

·         Online Ordering: Efficient pickup and delivery system for nationwide coverage; custom website for web ordering; branded iOS and Android app for mobile ordering; tablet and Bluetooth printer.

·         Marketing: Facebook/Instagram ad campaigns; professionally designed and printed marketing materials; an active QR code linking to online menus.

·         Competitive Rates: As low as 0% fees; two-day funding; direct consumer contact; no contract, no obligations. 

According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”  That said, what are you waiting for?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.

All retailers 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 not different. 

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® 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 us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter



Sunday, October 17, 2021

Hawaiian Bros is More than a Capital Success

 


The food industry is not as difficult as some make it out to be.  Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food sold when hot food is hot, cold food is cold, and full of flavor continues to drive growth in every sector of food retail today according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

When you combine food, filled with flavor, priced right, that is portable where meal components can be mixed and matched you are near a 90% success rate according to Johnson. Restaurant chain Hawaiian Bros is garnering customers attention and proving popular within the consumer focused grocerant niche with average unit volumes nearing $ 4 Million. 

Have you heard that, Hawaiian Bros, the island-inspired restaurant concept, is now raising cash to expedite its growth?  They have a “Testing the Waters” campaign (the “TTW Campaign”) for its Regulation Crowdfunding offering (the “Offering”) on OpenDeal Portal LLC dba Republic (“Republic”), a private investment platform that provides access to highly vetted investment opportunities across a range of industries to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

Get this, the TTW Campaign, launched in September, has become the largest Regulation Crowdfunding “Testing the Waters” campaign in the platform’s 5-year history, with $2 million in reservations, the maximum amount that can be raised in this Offering. Now everyone can see just how successful Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is according to Johnson.


So, Hawaiian Bros expects the Offering to go live in the last half of October. Hawaiian Bros intends to conduct subsequent raises following the completion of this Offering. Investors may still join the waitlist for a chance to invest if room in this Offering becomes available, or in subsequent offerings.

Scott Ford, President of Hawaiian Bros, comments, “We decided to launch a Reg CF offering to allow passionate fans of our brand to participate in the robust growth we have planned for Hawaiian Bros. We are honored to have seen such an incredible response so far, and look forward to what this crowdfunding opportunity will bring to our ‘ohana.” 

Just look at how successful this company is. The TTW initiative is part of the company’s plan to raise capital to fuel continued growth. The company’s average restaurant volumes of over $4 million rank amongst the highest in the QSR/Fast Casual space, based on a ranking of the top 50 limited-service restaurant brands by QSR Magazine. Trailing 12 months revenue through July 11, 2021 exceeded $33 million with 13 traditional locations and 4 ghost kitchens at the end of the period. By year-end 2021, Hawaiian Bros expects to have between 25 and 30 locations in six states (NY, IL, TX, KS, MO, OK). 

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 us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter



Saturday, October 16, 2021

Inclusive Melting Pot Menus Drive Trial and Adoption

 





Change is the price of survival within the foodservice sector today. Regular readers of this blog know that customization and personalization are both hallmarks of the fast-growing grocerant niche filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.

According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® hand-held-food for immediate consumption drive 74.8% of all meal occasions in the U.S.; all food retailers would be wise to add more Hispanic menu items that are hand-held to their menus.

While Mexican foods like burritos and tacos have long been popular menu items at fast casual restaurants, fast food restaurants, and C-stores now many c-stores are expanding further with other Hispanic or Latinx foods, like empanadas, tamales and more. Why? Simple, fresh full-flavored ingredients and mix & match meal customization drive customer trail then adoption according to Johnson.

 


Loot at Gate Petroleum’s GATE Fresh Kitchen stores that serve a variety of items made fresh every day, including empanadas, tamales and burritos, which Sara Wilson, GATE’s food service supervisor, said are popular among customers at its stores across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Hand-held food are not confined to any daypart in the mind’s eye of consumers. At Gate the offers include breakfast styles, too, like breakfast burritos, as well as GATE’s sausage, egg, cheese and potato empanada, in addition to chicken and beef options.

Wilson stated, “GATE is continually evolving its foodservice offerings to satisfy our customers’ tastes and provide the on-the-go options they need,”.

Look at, CEFCO Convenience Stores, with more than 200 stores in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida, offers a variety of tacos and burritos, all of which are made to order using fresh ingredients.

CEFCO Director of Foodservice Jeff Foley, stated, “the Steak Fajita Burrito as a customer favorite, featuring marinated steak paired with freshly prepared pico de gallo, lettuce, rice, black beans and shredded cheddar cheese with a side of guacamole. The hand-breaded fresh chicken, offered with a variety of sides and sauces, is another popular offer”

So, CEFCO recently launched new self-ordering kiosks in two of its Texas-based CEFCO Kitchen locations. Both stores feature CEFCO Kitchen’s new menu lines, including made-to-order mac and cheese bowls, sandwiches, grilled cheese and new breakfast offerings to complement the current lineup of burritos, tacos, fried chicken and more.

Foley, continues, “We expect self-ordering kiosks to positively impact the customer experience at CEFCO by offering our customers’ favorite foods they’ve grown to love in a customizable format”.

Interactive and participatory menus include at Gate the extras like sauces and toppings, too, enable customers to make an order their own. Combine that with technology and customer relevance once again is elevated. CEFCO recently launched new self-ordering kiosks in two of its Texas-based CEFCO Kitchen locations.


Foley went on to say, “We offer over 20 toppings and sauces for our burritos and tacos,” … “Some of our favorites are the Spicy Guacamole Salsa, Jalapeño Corn Salsa, Chipotle Ranch, Mild to Hot Buffalo sauces, Cholula, sour cream, guacamole and many more.”

Mix and match meal component  play an important role at GATE, as popular condiments for customers to pair with the chain’s Hispanic food offerings and more include jalapeños, pico de gallo, salsa and onion, said Wilson. “GATE also offers a variety of sauces, queso, jalapeño cheese and chili.”

Now even Datassential is edifying our Grocerant Guru® insights, “Consumers love customization,” confirmed Datassential Trendologist Mike Kostyo. “In fact, customization is a real area of opportunity for c-stores.”

Get this, when Datassential asked consumers about various trends they were interested in when visiting their local c-store, customizable options rose toward the top, with over half of consumers (51%) noting they were interested in customizable burritos and tacos. Yet, according to Datassential, only 14% of c-stores offer these items. That my friends is a big opportunity insight clue from Datassential.

“Overall, 66% of c-store consumers say customization motivates them to visit a c-store over a competing foodservice location,” said Kostyo. “In many ways, customization gives consumers that freshness cue they are looking for in c-store because they know it has to be at least partially made from scratch, often right in front of them.”

Ultimately, Foley said, he sees personalization as “the future of the c-store industry.”


“Customers are hyper-aware of what they are eating now more than ever,” he said, “and this gives each customer the ability to choose exactly what goes on his or her food. Some customers like loading their burritos with veggies, while others prefer additional meat. Giving customers the ability to choose is what makes this program great and will continue shaping the future of CEFCO foodservice.”

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 GrocerantGuru.com 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.