Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Restaurants Who’s Eating Who and What in Today’s Brave New Food Marketplace

Two different stories were on Nation’s Restaurant News website this week at: one stated that QSR’s were the only sector of the industry with positive sales. Then yesterday we read that Sonic Corp. a QSR with 3,500 units had down sales this past quarter.

Hockey superstar Wayne Gretsky was asked, what makes you so great? He responded: “I am always skating to where the puck is going to be.” His rebuttal has forever resonated for me.

Do you know where your customers are and what they are eating? Foodservice Solutions® can help you find the answer. Foodservice Solutions® co-developed a research study titled: Share of Stomach: Who’s Eating What in Today’s Brave New Food Marketplace. The study will examine prepared meal solutions and food channel positioning for restaurants, manufactures and food retailers, both branded and non-branded. It will provide the most comprehensive understanding of behavior showing the decisions consumers make whether to eat out, cook at home, assemble, buy intact or bundle a meal for themselves and their families.

With “use of stove” flat or declining even as more consumers eat at-home, this seemingly innocent decision sets into motion a series of considerations that determine just how, when, where and why consumers will “outsource” their food preparation for the eating occasion at hand. And as younger consumers turn snacking into a meal occasion in its own right, the challenges and opportunities for food marketers continue to expand.

Consumer eating behavior is evolving and is now beyond the control of food marketers. Shifts in culture and lifestyle, demographics and the new economy are all putting pressure on the American food consumer: demands of work, economic shrinkage, the age-old demands of raising a family, commuting, social interaction, health & wellness goals, kids after-school activities, all contribute to a food marketplace where convenience vies with price. Recent advances in food packaging and new points of distribution have empowered consumer choice, and Americans are embracing these choices even as marketers cringe.

Therefore traditional views of “mealtime” can pretty much be thrown out the window. There is an entirely new world of options for innovation, marketing, branding and selling of quality, prepared meal solutions.

What will all this mean to consumer package goods houses, retailers and restaurants? Does it matter to consumers if they see branded foods (e.g., national or local restaurant brands) on grocers’ shelves? Has the gap closed between restaurants and supermarkets in the quality and variety of prepared ready-to-eat meal solutions? Can food manufacturers compete with the growing power of Private Label foods? Which of the grocery aisles offers the greatest potential for growth: frozens, shelf-stable or fresh/chilled? These are among the questions tackled by this study. If your ready to look a customer ahead call 253-759-7869 for more information or a copy of the study or Email

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits. Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. 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

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