Monday, August 9, 2010

Can you count the Starbucks on Route 66?

This weekend I was fondly recalling stories from my dad of crossing the country on US HWY 66 commonly called Route 66. He stayed at new Ho-Jo’s (Howard Johnson’s) or Holiday Inn’s. Went swimming in the pool and ate ice cream any flavor he wanted. Mid-day they would stop at a Burger Chef and get a hamburger and fries. He thought that was living large!

The Interstate HWY system came along and changed how and where people crossed the country. The time it took to make the trip from sea to sea in the car was reduced. Consumers flocked to the Interstate HWY system. Burger Chef’s and Ho-Jo’s began to fade in relative consumer importance.

Airlines reduced prices and suddenly even the cross country value for all but commercial vehicles began to slip away from the Interstate HWY system. Retail foodservice customers are dynamic not static.

Successful food retailers have repositioned themselves in the ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh prepared grocerant food niche. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Central Market, Wawa, Sheetz and Walgreens have all stared utilizing the 5 P’s of contemporary retail foodservice; Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. Understanding the consumer of today requires updated metric’s.

Restaurants, convenience stores and grocery stores are all trying to reposition for today’s consumer. Many brand manages however are “managing” the brand into non-viability. Brand protectionism of the 80’s & 90’s wont’ create a platform for success in 2020. New avenues of food distribution are reshaping the industry faster than many legacy companies want to accept. This opens up opportunity for regional players to expand and new joint ventures to strike up. Food manufactures, distributors and brokers are reevaluating there viability and relationships in a changing retail foodservice world.

Does your broker network have relationships with Route 66, is your manufacture pricing structure the same as it was in the 90’s, is your restaurant on Route 66 or have you relocated to the a new location? The grocerant niche is not a new consumer location. It is however where the consumer today feels most comfortable. If your brand is not evolving with the consumer then it is dying.

Grocerant program assessments available; since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven A. Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit or on Facebook at Steven Johnson or BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants

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