Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fresh Food Value vs Cheap.

The Hartman Group asked this question ”The conundrum for food retailers is how do you market “value” without coming off as cheap?”

 In the restaurant industry if the price drops to low, the customers feel that they have been taken advantage of. When it comes to Convenience stores consumer expect a fare price and fast service. However when it comes to grocery stores consumers expect price, quality and value. However it is my belief that the point of differentiation in all three is service. Restaurants provide warm, efficient and friendly inviting service.

Convenience stores provide a quick in and out and quick service. While grocery stores are locked in to labor metrics of the 1980’s and service is an abstract idea. They simply think if you put it on the shelf that is service! Including and specifically ready to eat and ready to heat as well. Until the service metric is updated any outstanding growth and profitability will be limited a very few.

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Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit operator, consultant and brand/product positioning. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche.


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog and noting that you feel c-stores get a bad rap. Convenience stores fill a niche in the marketplace that appeals to customers, whether these places be attached to fuel depots (Valero, Sheets, Love's, etc.), or standalone facilities like "Bob's" neighborhood carryout. All are equally dangerous, which is the same as saying all are equally safe. Crime can happen anywhere, which is why more and more c-store operators across the nation are taking steps to protect themselves and their customers. Which is what responsible operators do.

    I like the focus of your blog. Very interesting....

  2. I agree with the concept of the labor metrics being out of date. Until the grocer understands the deli must act autonomously within the enterprise the model will remain outdated. I feel the same about the rest of the "departments" around the perimeter.

    Regarding c-stores...Until they build one that ... oops, I almost gave away my secret! Ok, here it is anyway. I don't want to know I am walking into a convenience store. I have plenty more to write on these subjects if you wish. Cheers!

  3. I agree with you Scott. I do think that the quality C-stores like WAWA and Sheetz are building units that have a focus on food are doing a great job. However what is wrong with all the rest?

  4. Chains or independents? Each one has its own challenges. The supply chain and their programs offered to the owners need to be looked at. The cookie cutter sandwich or coffee program does not fool the consumer. Branding, identity, service, all can have a positive impact.