Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Instant Commerce Destination Meal Leader Gopuff is Red Hot

 


Regular readers of this blog are familiar with GoPuff.  What Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, likes about GoPuff is its ability to combine the food industry intellectual quotient (IQ) and consumers emotional quotient (EQ) at the point of purchase.

So, instant-needs delivery platform Gopuff has launched The Mean Tomato, an exclusive pizza-focused brand and the first expansion of the company’s freshly prepared food offering since the introduction of Gopuff Kitchen. Customers can now order a quick lunch or midnight meal from The Mean Tomato, along with thousands of other essential items, alcohol, ice cream, drinks, snacks and household cleaning products, all of them delivered in minutes. 

Dan Folkman, Gopuff’s SVP of business, stated, “As a customer-first tech company, we are the best at delivering bold and unexpected experiences that we know our customers will love,” ... “Gopuff Kitchen’s success has shown that high-quality, Gopuff-made fresh products have immense staying power with our customers. We are proud to launch The Mean Tomato, our first fresh food brand as Gopuff further establishes itself as the one-stop instant commerce destination.”

You will like the use of IQ here as Gopuff’s culinary team relied on data and insights to design the menu especially for Gopuff customers, who prefer bold and unique flavor profiles. The Mean Tomato brand offers New York City-style pizzas with unusual flavor combinations, and partnerships with trending brands, among them Truff sauces and Mike’s Hot Honey, along with creations like Chocolate and Caramel Waffles, and more to come later this year, including savory sides. Featuring such ingredients as farm-fresh tomato sauce and surprising topping combinations, the pizzas are made from scratch in under three minutes.


Growth with experience, Gopuff recently grew its Kitchen team, adding food industry leaders Amelia Riba, formerly chief brand officer at Pizza Hut, and Alan Morgan, previously culinary director at Whole Foods, to develop the new product lineup. 

Riba, stated, “This is an exciting new category for Gopuff with great potential – we’re just beginning to test the waters in terms of what we can do in the fresh, made-to-order food space with instant delivery,” …. “Gopuff Kitchen will continue to expand its menu by launching new brands, providing more opportunities for customers to enjoy new experiences with Gopuff time and time again.”

In case you had not read out earlier blogs, this year, Gopuff launched Basically, (comma included), its first curated product line, marking the company’s entrance into the private label arena. Basically, gives customers access to high-quality snacks, water and other home essentials at value prices.

Currently operating more than 600 micro-fulfillment centers, BevMo! and liquor barn stores across North America and Europe, Philadelphia-based Gopuff was founded in 2013 by co-founders and co-CEOs Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola.

For international corporate presentations, regional chain presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson 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. For more information visit GrocerantGuru.com, FoodserviceSolutions.US or call 1-253-759-7869



Monday, May 16, 2022

Wendy’s Hears Consumers Cries for Help with Inflation

 


At the intersection of what’s for dinner and what will it cost is a battle between restaurants and grocery stores for the hearts and minds of the consumer.  According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® menu price hikes and grocery stores CPG prices increases are making consumers think twice before spending anything on dinner.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released on May 11, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in 8.3% higher in April compared to the previous April.

The food-at-home CPI is now 10.8% higher than this time in 2021, the biggest year-over-year hike since November 1980. In comparison, prices for food consumed away from home have gone up 7.2% since April of last year.

Wendy’s is battling to garner a larger share of stomach with a price, value, service equilibrium according to Johnson.  When Wendy's first has noticed inflation impacting consumer behavior it began thinking how it could highlight its value offerings in response.

Todd Penegor, The Wendy’s Co. CEO and president, said his company has seen consumer segmentation generally seen across all of the quick-service market, stating “What we've seen in the first quarter and the bucketing under $75,000 cohort of customers,” … “we have seen some of those folks start to slow on the traffic within the category, but that's been made up for by the folks making over $75,000.”

Working hard Wendy’s has to make sure its menu offers appeal to consumers who notice a tighter pocketbook. Penegor continued, “We're working so hard on our calendar to make sure that we've got digital offers in our app, continue to work to make sure that we have the ‘4 for $4’ offering out there,”. The company has also highlighted its $5 Biggie Bags and Buck Biscuit at breakfast.

In a Battle for Share of Stomach

You Can Win


It is at the intersection of value, quality and service that Penegor cautioned that Wendy’s promotions are focused on driving dollar sales as well as driving traffic long term.

While Wendy’s expanded its breakfast menu to Canada restaurants this month; it saw some softness in the U.S. daypart in the first quarter.

“As we looked at the breakfast business in Q1, the category was a little bit softer than we had anticipated,” Penegor said. “Clearly weather in January and February had an impact on the breakfast business. Omicron earlier in the quarter had an impact on the breakfast business. And what we didn't see is the category soften a bit on the breakfast daypart. With that said we gained dollar, and traffic share in the QSR burger category in Q1 at the breakfast daypart.”

Breakfast is an ongoing project and  Wendy’s is confident it can grow breakfast sales by 10% to 20% for the full year and “really be squarely in that $3,000 to $3,500 per week per restaurant by the end of the year. Penegor continued.

Regular readers of this blog with like to know that Wendy’s March Madness promotions drove customers to smartphone app purchases, he said, and in the U.S. the brand reached about 10% digital sales mix, he noted.

Wendy’s same-store sales were up 2.4% systemwide with a 1.1% increase at U.S. restaurants and a 14.1% increase at international units. Growth is still on the table, “We're expecting by the end of this year between 50 and 60 restaurants in the U.K., the combination of company restaurants and to delivery kitchens service,” noted Penegor. The company expects a growth rate of about 20% in international units this year, focused mainly on India, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Does your messaging 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 the clue you need to propel your continued success.



Sunday, May 15, 2022

Virtual Restaurant Nextbite Co-Brands Menu

 


Food marketing executives are loving the virtual kitchen, virtual restaurant, and delivery space.  Today there seems to be no end to the ability of food marketers extend a brand, concept or partnership according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Nextbite, is a virtual restaurant.  They are rolling out its first ‘Wichcraft by Tom Colicchio sandwiche in Denver, available for both delivery and pick-up, starting today.  The new Denver pop-up outlet with tasty and popular sandwich concepts is the result of a collaboration between Nextbite and ‘Wichcraft, co-founded by celebrity chef Tom Coliccho.  For restaurants interested in signing up to offer the Wichcraft sandwiches as a Nextbite partner, https://www.nextbite.io/wichcraft/.

Now consumers can order the Wichcraft sandwiches in Denver via Uber Eats and through the Wichcraft website. The ‘Wichcraft by Tom Colicchio favorite lunchtime sandwich offerings available in Denver, include:

·         Turkey & Avocado: Roasted turkey, avocado, bacon, balsamic onion relish and aioli served on toasted ciabatta.

·         Chopped Chickpea & Roasted Red Peppers: Chopped chickpea, olive tapenade, roasted red peppers, cucumber, arugula and lemon vinaigrette served on a toasted ciabatta (vegan).

·         Steak & Kale: Grilled flank steak, sauteed kale, cheddar, roasted red peppers, and garlic dressing served on a toasted ciabatta.

·         Grilled Chicken & Spicy Slaw: Grilled chicken, avocado, coleslaw, sweet chili sambal, and crema served on toasted ciabatta.

·         Sides include: Coleslaw and Arugula & Parmesan Salad.


You are going to like this, as part of the Denver Wichcraft Pop-Up, Nextbite will be donating $5 for every order to the Food Bank of the Rockies. Every $5 donated helps supply 20 meals to the community.

Tom Colicchio, Co-Founder of ‘Wichcraft, stated, “We are excited to bring our signature ‘Wichcraft sandwiches to Denver through our partnership with Nextbite, a leader in innovative and quality virtual restaurant concepts,” says.

Alex Canter, CEO and Co-Founder of Nextbite, stated, ‘Wichcraft by Tom Colicchio sandwiches are outrageously popular in the New York City area, and through Nextbite we can help bring these delicious sandwiches to consumers in places like Denver and beyond,”.

In case you did not know, chefs Tom Colicchio and Sisha Ortuzar opened the first ‘Wichcraft in 2003 in New York City, crafting a menu using sustainable proteins, house-made condiments, balanced flavor combinations, seasonal produce and artisan bread. Their mission has been to elevate the sandwich from a humble hand-held meal to a premium experience.  ‘Wichcraft is committed to serving carefully sourced and thoughtfully prepared food because healthy and sustainable not only taste better, it is better. Colicchio and his team continually strive to make gourmet accessible and portable.

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, May 14, 2022

Jack in the Box has New Brand Electricity Gamming

 


It’s time to start saving gas as the price of gasoline seems to be going up day after day. If you’re looking to avoid driving around with rising gas prices but are missing the immaculate drive-thru vibes, Jack in the Box here to help by launching its first virtual drive-thru on Tuesday via Twitch. 

Until May 17, Twitch viewers can drop by the 24/7 livestream to claim free food and rewards on their way to watch their favorite content creators’ streams and channels. The first of its kind gaming experience will put viewers in the driver’s seat, simulating a trip through a Jack in the Box drive-thru.

In case you did not know, this program is designed to be complementary to the Twitch viewing experience, fans can come by the official Jack in the Box Twitch channel and scan a QR code to earn discounted food and rewards from gaming partners redeemable through the Jack in the Box app. 

Morgan Higgins, Senior Manager Social Media and PR at Jack in the Box, stated, “We’re excited to launch Jack in the drive-thru and bring a new dimension of 24/7 access to our gaming customers,” ... “Our vision is to turn our channel into the first destination for viewers on Twitch before they tune into their favorite streams and channels. Name a better pair than some Twitch content and our iconic two tacos.”


So, Jack in the Box partnered with ZONED Gaming, a GameSquare Esports company, to design and execute the experience. To visit the Jack in the Box virtual drive-thru and claim free rewards, stop by the official Jack in the Box Twitch channel any time between May 10-17. 

When you think brand relevance in an evolving world, that will edify brand value with relevance and new electricity? 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.

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Does your messaging 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 the clue you need to propel your continued success.



Friday, May 13, 2022

Unilever and Robomart are Targeting Generation Alpha Are You

 


Food Marketing professionals never take a break, and they are always looking a customer ahead.  Global CPG retailer Unilever is actively targeting Generation Alpha.  So just who is Generation Alpha?  They are the children of Generation Y, and often the younger siblings of Generation A.  More that 2.5 million are born globally ever week.  When they all have been born (between 2010- 025) the will number almost 2 billion and they will be the largest generation in the history of the world.

Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® believes “CPG food retailers and fast-food restaurant chains are all looking for ways to get their ‘hooks’ brands in the minds-eye of the parents and Generation Alpha early and often and Unilever looks as if they are hitting all of the right messages to build the bridge that is comfortable for both the parents and kids.

It’s at the intersection of technology and frozen treats that you can find Unilever’s new Ice Cream Robomart. It will enable consumers to use an app to summon a vehicle housing an automated store and have it arrive in minutes at their location.

That’s right, an automated “store on wheels” platform Robomart has partnered with CPG giant Unilever to deploy a fleet of robotic vehicles for ice cream delivery this summer.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Robomart said yesterday that its mobile mini-marts will carry ice cream and novelties from brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Good Humor, Magnum and Talenti available through Unilever’s “The Ice Cream Shop” virtual storefront.

In a Battle for Share of Stomach

You Can Win


Described as a “store-hailing platform,” Robomart’s technology enables consumers to use an app to summon a vehicle housing an automated store and have it arrive in less than 10 minutes at their location, where they choose from a selection of products. Unilever’s Ice Cream Shop allows customers to use major food delivery apps like Doordash, UberEats, GrubHub and Postmates to order from a selection of Unilever ice cream brands. The company said The Ice Cream Shop is available in most major metro areas — including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, South Florida and Washington, D.C. — and continues to expand.

“We’re excited to work with Unilever — the world’s largest ice cream maker — to pilot The Ice Cream Shop as one of the flagship storefronts on our new marketplace,” Robomart CEO and co-founder Ali Ahmed said in a statement. “Putting a spin on the classic ice cream truck by bringing it to consumers on demand, we have pioneered a new way for everyone to get their favorite ice cream treats in as little as two minutes. This rollout brings to life the original vision my co-founder and I had over a decade ago while working at Unilever to create ‘The Everywhere Store,’ the fastest and most accessible way to get all your essentials.”

The mobile mini-marts will carry ice cream and novelties from brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Good Humor, Magnum and Talenti available through Unilever’s “The Ice Cream Shop” virtual storefront.

Consumers hail The Ice Cream Shop Robomarts to their location using Robomart’s proprietary mobile app and patented one-tap grocery ordering technology. When the vehicle arrives, customers swipe across the app to open the vehicle’s door. The Robomart then lets users handpick their selected products and walk away without physically checking out or swiping a credit card.

Robomart noted that its platform stands out in the online delivery realm by bringing the store directly to homes, eliminating the need for consumers to shop on a website, fill a basket, check out with a credit card, select a delivery window and communicate with delivery staff.

Russel Lilly, general manager for Unilever North American Ice Cream, stated, “We’re thrilled to partner with Robomart to offer a new way to bring our virtual store, The Ice Cream Shop, to fans in Los Angeles in an innovative way,”... “Our pilot program with Robomart is revolutionizing ice cream delivery for consumers and making it even faster to get our beloved brands to our ice cream fans. What better way to shop for your favorite ice cream than just a few steps from your front door?”


Robomart made its commercial debut last June with the launch of on-demand pharmacy and snacks autonomous mini-marts in West Hollywood, Calif. The company said it recorded its fastest end-to-end experience — from the time a consumer opens the app to the time they have goods in hand — at under two minutes. Active users, on average, hail a vehicle to their location 2.3 times a week, Robomart said, adding that the company has seen 9% user growth and 10% order growth weekly as it has gained market share.

In cae you did not know, the Pharmacy Robomart offers health and personal care items such as shampoo, hand sanitizer and ibuprofen, while the Snacks Robomart serves up chocolate, chips, soft drinks and other ready-to-eat snack items. Slated to debut in the coming months, the company said, is a Grocery Robomart offering fresh produce and refrigerated products as well as Deli (meals) and Café (coffee and doughnuts) Robomarts.

Currently, Robomart’s vehicles include human drivers, but plans call for the company to add self-driving vehicles as it fine-tunes the autonomous technology and as local regulations permit. Ahmed has indicated that Robomart is open to partnerships with grocery chains, which would lease the vehicles and stock them. In early 2019, Northeastern grocer Stop & Shop announced a pilot of Robomart’s autonomous vehicle in Boston.

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: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869




Thursday, May 12, 2022

Aldi Success In the U.S. Continues

 


Regular readers of this blog know that Aldi is a no-frills German discount grocery chain that operates at the intersection of low price, high quality, and food discovery according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

The leaders of Aldi like to say: “Poor people must save rich people like too” and they also believe that they are purveying a universally exportable price message to the world.

That said, Aldi, prides itself on a business model that is intentionally different.  It appears to be working as Aldi plans to become the third-largest U.S. grocery retailer by store count by the end of this year.

Heather Moore, Loxley regional VP for Aldi, stated, “Our stores are designed to make grocery shopping smarter, faster and easier, and we’ve been voted the price leader for five years running,” said. “We are excited to offer easy access to affordable fresh food and household essentials, as well as a great selection of regional items. Our new Gulf Coast locations will carry local favorites such as Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, Crystal’s Hot Sauce, Blue Plate Mayonnaise, Blue Bell Ice Cream and Luzianne Sweet Tea.”


Last week Aldi said it planned to give the first 100 customers at a new store a gift bag filled with a sampling of Aldi Fan Favorites products and a gift card as part of its Golden Ticket gift card giveaway program. Aldi said shoppers will also have a chance enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a $500 Aldi gift card.

In case you did not see this new monthly survey, retail sales data firm IRI said it's no surprise that 95% of shoppers are concerned about food cost and inflation. Compared to a year ago, IRI found 90% of shoppers perceive the cost of groceries and household items to be higher now. In an open letter on Aldi’s website titled "Our Price Promise," Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart recently addressed rising food costs by telling Aldi shoppers, “No matter what happens in the world around us, Aldi will always be the low-price leader in every community we serve.”

There is more, seems shoppers are listening. According to a new report from foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai, during March 2022, visits to Aldi locations were up 8% year over year and up 6.1% compared to March 2019, before the pandemic. The report said Aldi’s deepened foot traffic boils down to the “ability to offer high-quality products at significantly lower price points.”

For international corporate presentations, regional chain presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson 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. For more information visit GrocerantGuru.com, FoodserviceSolutions.US or call 1-253-759-7869




Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Taco Bell Success is What Goes Around Comes Around

 


Success does leave clues and at Taco Bell they know that consumer focused interactive participatory marketing food Marketing drives customer engagement driving top-line sales and bottom-line profits according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  

At the intersection of yesterday’s menu, older customers, industry buzz, and social media Taco Bell created via Live Más Productions comes Mexican Pizza: The Musical, a star-studded production made for Mexican Pizza fans, by Mexican Pizza fans. You just have to give credit to the marketing team at Taco Bell for bridging the gap in both menu relevance and messaging relevance with this promotion.

So, the cast features Dolly Parton, the global music icon and influential Taco Bell superfan who today confirmed her role in the hottest off-off Broadway production. Parton joins Taco Bell’s biggest fans for a satirical musical about the “harrowing” story of those who fought to bring back the Mexican Pizza, featuring notable moments from Doja Cat’s triumphant journey. 


The ICYMI, fans were already asking for a Taco Bell musical on Twitter earlier this week following an exchange between the Mexican Pizza queen herself, Doja Cat and Victor Kunda, who first went viral on TikTok following his creative interpretation of what a Mexican Pizza musical rehearsal could look like, based off of Doja Cat’s iconic and extremely catchy Mexican Pizza jingle (you know which one). 

Now how is this for fun, read below for more info on how Taco Bell is disrupting Broadway all in the name of the return of the Mexican Pizza:

·         “Mexican Pizza: The Musical” will premiere exclusively on TikTok on May 26 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT.

·         Written by Hannah Friedman with music by Grammy award-winning songwriting duo Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, “Mexican Pizza: The Musical” will feature original music to spotlight the brand’s biggest fans featuring special appearances from Victor Kunda, TikTok extraordinaire, Doja Cat, Dolly Parton and more!

·         Be on the lookout for upcoming TikTok challenges where fans will get to create duet videos with the stars of the musical. 

·         Mexican Pizza will be returning to menus nationwide on May 19 with Rewards members gaining early access starting May 17. 

·         For fans wishing to snag a Mexican Pizza without leaving their home, customers can enjoy the convenience of delivery exclusively through DoorDash between May 19 – May 26, before being available on other delivery platforms beginning on May 27. 

·         DashPass members on DoorDash can exclusively enjoy $2 off one Mexican Pizza with a minimum subtotal of $12 using promo code MEXPIZZA from May 19 - May 26 at checkout.

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