Thursday, August 18, 2022

Salad and Go Grocerant Mix and Match Meal Bunding


One of the hallmarks driving the success of the grocerant niche is Mix and Match meal bunding according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Today grocerant niche meals and meal components are driving top line sales and bottom-line profits in every sector of retail foodservice.

When asked where Americans get dinner, most (77%) commonly eat at home or cook for themselves. 50% say they regularly get takeout or pick up, 31% say they go to restaurants, and 3% say they use a meal subscription box.

So, this new bundle from Salad and Go has both breakfast and lunch covered by offering a choice of a cold brew (or any 24 oz. drink), any breakfast burrito and any salad or wrap with chicken or tofu all for just $9.99.

Salad and Go was recently called emerging salad industry disruptor, in one article and the team at Foodservice Solutions® believe that Salad and Go could very well be just that.  At Salad and Go its focus is directly on the grocerant niche as they have “one-stop shop” for all meals of the day with its new “On the Go” bundle. Designed with customers on the move in mind, the new bundle has both breakfast and lunch covered by offering a choice of a cold brew (or any 24 oz. drink), any breakfast burrito and any salad or wrap with chicken or tofu all for just $9.99.

Currently, the “On the Go” bundle is now available daily during breakfast hours (Monday through Friday from 6:30 – 10 a.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 7 – 11 a.m) from any one of Salad and Go’s drive-thru locations as well as through digital online ordering at or using the Salad and Go mobile app. 

Charlie Morrison, CEO of Salad and Go, stated, “Salad and Go is explicit in our commitment to providing fresh, affordable and convenient food for all, and the On the Go bundle makes it abundantly clear that we never at any point in the day take a break from this mission,” … “This unique deal saves our customers both time and money like never before, proving that fitting healthy and delicious food into a busy schedule doesn’t have to be such a costly hassle.” 

In case you did not know, beyond the options available with the bundle, Salad and Go’s full menu includes an endless range of made-to-order salads, wraps, breakfast burritos and soup, a line-up of hand-crafted lemonades and teas, cold brew coffees and other nutritious options for kids. The beloved salad chain recently added a refreshing Mango Ginger Cooler and flavorful vegan Corn Tortilla Soup as two new craveable and appetizing food and drink options. 

With a business model different enough to garner attention, Salad and Go is on a mission to make fresh, nutritious food convenient and affordable to ALL. The concept is an industry disruptor, making meals that are not only convenient and affordable, but good for the guest and the local community. The use of raw, fresh ingredients in chef-curated recipes offer nutrient rich meals that are delicious and satisfying. All menu items at Salad and Go are made to order with quality, fresh ingredients. Built on a model of speed and efficiency, Salad and Go is able to serve made-to-order meals quickly and at exceptionally low prices. Salad and Go was founded in 2013 in Gilbert, Arizona. The company currently operates over 50 locations across Arizona and Texas.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Technology Platforms Drive Sales ask 7-Eleven


Success does leave clues and 7-Eleven has picked-up more than their fair share of clues over the years according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® who stated “all foodservice retailers can learn from one another.  With a huge global footprint 7-Eleven is positioned to view, learn, and rollout success clues that provide results.  Those are the ones to watch.

So, here is a success clue we think you should be paying attention too. 7-Eleven Inc. has acquired Skipcart, a startup that has developed a major network of drivers for the last-mile delivery of restaurant food, grocery, convenience-store and other goods in the United States.

In case you did not know, Skipcart is a delivery platform providing same-day and on-demand delivery for a variety of industries including e-commerce, pharmaceutical, retail, food and beverage and more, including convenience-store merchandise, with an average delivery time of 30 minutes, the company says on its website. It covers 37 states and parts of Canada through a fleet of more than 150,000 crowd-sourced drivers, it says.

We know that two years ago, Skipcart was valued at an estimated $65 million, said the report. The deal is expected to allow 7-Eleven to compete more directly with third-party delivery services, the report said.

Here is some of the back story. 7-Eleven became Instacart’s first c-store partner in 2020 and added Uber Eats and Grubhub to its delivery roster in 2020. Other delivery services that offer 7-Eleven products include PostmatesDoorDash, Google Food Order and Favor (only in Texas). In March, 7-Eleven partnered with Shipt to offer delivery of snacks, drinks and household essentials from 7-Eleven via the same-day delivery service.

The deal comes as 7-Eleven c-store rival Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Laval, Quebec, which owns the Circle K brand, recently invested in the latest round of funding for Food Rocket, a 15-minute grocery delivery service. The $25 million series A investment round will be used to expand the service in Chicago and other cities throughout the United States as well as reinforce its artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled software and enhance the team.

You can see that technology is driving the future of two of the largest food retailers.  Are you looking a customer ahead? 

Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced 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 us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Choice Market’s New Electricity is Electric Vehicles


Choice Market is looking a customer ahead.  Brand messaging matters and Choice Market is looking for the next generation of C-store shoppers begins by listing the price of electricity and fuel on its outdoor digital signage and that is a good thing according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA base Foodservice Solutions®.

There can be no doubt that Choice Market is targeting electric vehicle (EV) consumers and giving a nod to the future of mobility through the digital signage of its convenience store in the Denver neighborhood of City Park. So, the retail site, located at 2200 East Colfax Ave., lists the price of electricity right below the price of gas so EV consumers know what they'll pay, reported The Drive.

Price matters and citing reports from PlugShare, charging prices normally hover at around 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. It's highly competitive for the area, with others nearby charging significantly more.

Choice Market Chief Operating Officer Ben Kipfer, stated, "It's a pretty good rate, honestly, for charging up at 15 cents,". "It's something different and we want to get people inside the four walls, obviously, as well."

According to Kipfer, typical users stop to charge for 30 to 50 minutes. It's then the aim of the convenience store to welcome those customers inside for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Now think about this, "People walk in here, they always say, 'This is the nicest gas station I've ever been in,'" Kipfer said. "That grab and go case ... all again, it's organic, non-GMO, and local. I think people love it."

Kipfer notes that charging fees "probably should be a little bit higher," but the charging isn't a loss for the retailer. Instead it is "a profit center." Remember brand messaging is an invitation to visit your brand.  How are you extending your brand invitation? 

So, in addition to gas pumps, the Colfax Avenue Choice Market features two high-speed 50 kW DC chargers. Each is fitted with a standard CCS connector as well as a CHAdeMO plug for charging Nissan Leafs and similar models. The station also uses a Nissan Leaf as a delivery vehicle.

Online digital messaging matters as well, Choice Market highlighted its digital signage that listed the price of gas and electricity in a Facebook post on Earth Day. The post read, "Happy Earth Day! This past week a simple tweet of our sign on #colfaxave was shared around the world. @thechoicemarket is happy to see folks taking notice of the shifting #mobility landscape and the very real financial incentives with transitioning to an #electricvehicle. Sea change indeed. #chargingforward"

In case you did not know, the Colfax Avenue Choice Market opened in 2020. The 2,700-square-foot format features fuel pumps, EV supercharging, a bike share terminal, electric scooter charging stations and solar collection on the canopy. It also offers autonomous checkout, order and pay ahead via the Choice mobile app, and traditional checkout.

Continuing to evolve, Choice Market is partnering with Health Hospitality Partners, headquartered in St. Louis, to develop a new format, Choice Mini-Mart. The model was slated to launch at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus during the second quarter of 2022, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

The new format — which was specifically designed for non-traditional retail spaces such as hospitals, airports and campuses — will feature Choice: NOW, a technology that uses artificial intelligence and cameras to checkout customers without the need for a cashier, prepared food and natural groceries, as well as everyday necessities.

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.” 

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, smaller footprint, developing brands, fresh flowers, 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 according to Johnson. 

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the leader in the Grocerant niche.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Pizza Hut Recycles Menu Looking for Magic


In the world of hand-held food for immediate consumption Pizza Hut is once gain trying to expand beyond hand-held fresh fast food and once again is reintroducing a new line up of pastas.  Regular readers of this blog know how many times that both Wendy’s and McDonald’s relaunched salads.

Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® stated, “there is little doubt from the industry insiders that Pizza Hut will have the same results with their relaunch of pasta as McDonald’s and Wendy’s did with salads.”

Last week, Pizza Hut gave its pasta lineup a makeover with the introduction of new oven-baked pastas featuring revamped recipes and a lineup extension, available nationwide.

So, these refreshed pastas are now made with “more premium ingredients and savory sauces” like penne pasta noodles and a new Alfredo sauce recipe. The added pasta menu options include chicken alfredo pasta (made with Alfredo sauce, grilled chicken and baked cheese), Italian meats (made with tomato sauce, pepperoni, sausage, and cheese), cheesy Alfredo (with creamy Alfredo sauce, two layers of cheese and baked Parmesan cheese on top), and veggie (tomato sauce, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, black olives and cheese).

Lindsay Morgan, CMO of Pizza Hut, stated, “Customers come to Pizza Hut for best tasting pizza and new pizza innovations, but we now have pastas that are premium, great tasting and affordable for you or your family” ... “These are my new go-to order when I’m sending lunch or dinner to friends or family.”

Just so you understand, Pizza Hut began offering oven-baked pasta selections in 2008 with the Tuscani Pastas, featuring Meaty Marinara and Creamy Chicken Alfredo varieties, which won a Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters award in 2009. This new lineup will replace the classic rotini-based pastas that have been baked under the same recipes for the past 14 years. However, they did offer pasta dishes back in the day when they were “Red Roof” Pizza Hut inside dining restaurants.

Now, all oven-baked pasta orders come with garlic bread or breadsticks and are available starting at $8.99 (or a double family-sized portion starting at $13.99).

If success does leave clues and it does, one clue you should not forget is: don’t recycle menu ideations.

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

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Fast Food with Very Few Employees Speedy Eats


Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food continues to define the growth within every sector of food retail today.  At the intersection of the consumer, technology, and fresh food with flavor are two companies that together have developed a business model that looks more like tomorrow than yesterday.

According to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® “Speedy Eats is positioned to redefine fresh fast food while elevating a business model that will prove to be disruptive.”

In case you had not hear Picnic Works,  another new Seattle based innovator of food automation technology, announced last week that it's closed a deal with Speedy Eats for the first wave of Picnic Pizza Station orders. The initial Picnic stations will be placed in the inaugural Speedy Eats automated kitchens with a projected volume of 5,000 U.S. locations in the next five years. Think about that pace of growth for just a minute.  How many employees would you have to hire to open 5, 000 unit and just how much whould that cost you?

Clayton Wood, CEO of Picnic, stated, "Speedy Eats is rethinking food production and delivery and we're thrilled that they chose Picnic to provide the automated pizza equipment that will help them scale, delight customers, and increase profitability," ... "We will begin production of their stations in the next few months and look forward to being in all 5,000 Speedy Eats locations in the coming years."

Think about your company today, then consider this, Speedy Eats is a new dining and pickup concept that places fully contained drive-thru operations in locations where customers can purchase hot and cold food items at any time of day or night.

The company is eyeing over 40,000 potential parking lot locations in the U.S. and plans to incorporate a patent-pending design that allows takeout customers and third-party delivery platforms to roll up and access orders from the convenience of their vehicle. Speedy Eats also plans to open regional kitchen production centers that craft the food to supply the stations.

F. Speed Bancroft, CEO and President of BARS Inc, stated, "Our goal is to bring fresh food to people whenever and wherever they want it and we're ambitious in our plans to open 5,000 locations in the next five years. The Picnic Pizza Station is the must-have piece of equipment to produce the consistent quality pizza that our customers desire," ... "We're partnering with Picnic for their expertise in automation and proven market success."

So, this agreement allows Speedy Eats to integrate the award-winning Picnic Pizza Station technology into its standalone and commissary locations to enhance production, improve customer experience, and offer fresh-made custom pizzas. With projected volumes of 5,000 locations in the next five years, the value of the deal is over $800M to Picnic. Picnic will begin manufacturing for Speedy Eats in line with location openings starting in 2022, with increased roll out over the next several years.

Yes, The Picnic Pizza Station is autonomous and completely customizable for each order – after loading the dough, the Picnic station takes care of applying the sauce, cheese, fresh-cut pepperoni, and additional toppings. The finished pizzas are then loaded into the kitchen's ovens for cooking. Each hour, the Picnic station can assemble up to 100 pizzas. For information on Picnic Pizza Stations, see and for Speedy Eats automated kitchens, visit

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Restaurant Chains, Buying Growth Works


When a restaurant chain had been in a specific sector as a leader for 50+ years you understand the sector, the competition, the customer, and compliancy. The consumer is dynamic and chain restaurants need to be as dynamic as consumers according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

There can be no doubt that Denny’s recent acquisition of a complementary daypart restaurant concept is a great move, and will provide incremental top line growth and bottom-line profits, while edifying Denny’s knowledge of the daypart insights even more according to Johnson.

Denny’s CEO Kelli Valade, stated, “The A.M. Eatery segment is fast-growing and Keke’s is a brand with attractive unit economics and strong potential,” In short it is a platform for growth!

So, average unit volumes at Keke’s 44 franchised and eight company-owned restaurants are about $1.9 million, and the chain’s price points are about 20% higher than Denny’s. The company appeals to high-income Gen Z and millennial consumers and families with kids.  Enough said!

In case you did not know, Keke’s recorded same-store sales increases of 18% during 2021 versus 2019, Denny’s executives said during a May earnings call. As of May, same-store sales were up 12% year-to-date versus 2021. Adjusted EBITDA contribution is expected to be between $6.5 million and $7 million, executives said. 

The breakfast concepts have done well in recent quarters. First Watch, for example, posted similarly robust same-store sales growth during Q1 2022, with same-restaurant sales increasing 27.2% and same-restaurant traffic increasing 21.9%, according to an earnings release. First Watch, which went public last year, aims to grow from over 420 units to 2,200.


1. Denny’s completed its $82.5 million acquisition of Keke’s Breakfast Cafe, which has 52 units across Florida, the company announced Wednesday

2. Denny’s used cash on hand as well as funds from a revolving credit facility to purchase the chain. 

3. Keke’s will operate independently from Denny’s and maintain its own leadership, strategies, products, marketing, operations and development initiatives.

Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 

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