Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Food Stamps for Restaurants

Foodservice Solutions®   Food Advocacy: Legislative Action for Food Availability is needed and Good News for consumers


Sometimes there are important issues that need to be worked, quickly, for the betterment of both consumers (really) and corporations

At the intersection of contemporary consumer meal consumption trends and the confluence of the time starved consumer is the grocerant niche filled with fresh ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat prepared food.  Driven by consumer demand these items can be found in Grocery Stores, Chain & Independent Restaurants, Convenience Stores, Chain Drug Stores and increasing at food trucks and online food portals.

It’s time to allow Americans receiving food assistance to purchase fresh and prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat food from Grocery Stores, Chain & Independent Restaurants, Convenience Stores, Chain Drug Stores and the like.

One such issue is expanding governmental food assistance eligibility

Recession, stagnation or double dip, 45 million plus Americans are currently receiving assistance from the Food and Nutrition Service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the food stamp program.  Like most legacy government programs its time to up date this program ensuring participant parity and a contemporized relevance.

While the US unemployment rate is roughly 9.2% it is estimated that combined with the underemployed and those not even looking any longer the rate is 14.7% it’s clear a large portion of America is going without. Unemployment numbers are disproportionately high for those under 24 and over 55 increasing anxiety while creating a climate of disorder in the workforce. 

Why is this good thing for all of us?

  • For consumers:

Over the past 20 years there has been a transition in home cooking where the vast majority of meals are not cooked from scratch but assembled meal components.  Components like rotisserie chicken, fresh vegetables, ribs, soups, take-N-bake pizza, casseroles, Chinese entrees, build your own salad. This trend in large part was driven by the ever increasing growth of multi-cultural multi- generational households where meal time consisted of more divergent flavors than ever before.  The skill set to cook multi-cultural meals has not been handed down as in the past. The anxiety of being cash strapped, frustration and desire for comfort food is heightened. Allowing consumer to buy fresh prepared meal components edifies the family unit of today while easing the frustration and pain of economic turmoil.

  • For small business:

Small business nestled in each community across the country, understand the flavor profiles and competitive business environment and are best equipped meet the consumers needs while building community cohesiveness.  Independent restaurants will benefit creating more Jobs.

  • For big business:

Large corporations particularly grocery stores have witnessed the migration of there consumer from the “center of the store” to the perimeter where grocerant niche ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food can be found.  National retailers understand the consumer is dynamic not static and want to maintain consumer relevance.  These changes will do just that more jobs.

Who are we?

Foodservice Solutions® has offices in California and Washington and is a foodservice consultancy specializing in outsourced vertical retail food sector strategy - marketing strategy and business development, identifying, quantifying and qualifying niche opportunity for global foodservice related activity since 1991.

Steven Johnson has been a restaurant franchisee and concept developer, is globally recognized for his blog “The Grocerant.” An industry expert in alternative channels of food distribution, he is Grocerant Guru at Foodservice Solutions® specializing in the “grocerant” niche in both fresh and prepared foods. The “grocerant” concept includes grocery stores offering Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat foods too convenience stores, restaurants and now even the drug store sector. The foundation of Johnson’s work in the channel are the 5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price. He holds a Master of Science in Food Marketing with distinction from Saint Joseph’s University, and a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of San Francisco. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business School Honor Society. Johnson has received numerous awards including 3 EMMEY, awarded by 3M for “Outside the box” thinking and team leadership.

John A. Gordon is a chain restaurant analyst and management consultant who specializes in niche restaurant sector research, analysis and special business intelligence projects. With a professional lifetime in restaurant operations, financial management and management consulting roles, he provides independent perspective and actionable analysis for investors and others regarding difficult and complex restaurant earnings and economics topics via his niche analysis and advisory firm. . He has a 40 year passion for and association in local, state and national politics and government and has hands on knowledge of the legislative process and how the advocacy game should be played.

What we propose to do:

  • Issue development  the food availability issue is fast becoming a signature interlocking solution needed for both consumers, and economic development as a whole. We will coordinate and enhance this issue with logical, fact rich support for next legislative cycle introduction.  
  • Legislative advocacy: via our contacts and connections, we can work this issue in select, gateway states that will insure fair hearing and progress. This includes briefing and communications to allies, direct legislative access planning and support.
  • Ongoing support:  successful issue implementation via the legislative process requires ongoing care and feeding. We can be the gateway to providing logical support and backup to answer questions and sustain the action over time.

How are we different than the other lobbyist/advisory firms?

  • Laser like focus and attention: this is our issue and we’ll work it exclusively to others.

  • Unlike the other empty suits, we know this business and these issues: we have unique viewpoint and immersion throughout the food “space” and do not sit in ivory towers. If market facing conditions change, we’ll know it before others who sit at the end of the “feed chain”.

  • We don’t have the same baggage as they do: we have no other client conflicts or hidden agendas and have no goal other than client satisfaction.
  • We don’t have the same overhead as they do: let’s face it: cycle time and cost matters.  Why pay the big firms to get up to speed?

Contact us for topical research and reference and suggested action steps

Steven  Johnson, Principal, Foodservice Solutions Food Advocacy  Email:grocerant@q.com Voice: (253)-759-7869

John A. Gordon, Senior Advisor Email: jgordon@pacificmanagementconsultinggroup.com

Voice: (619) 379-5561

1 comment:

  1. Well, a set a contradictions for unemployed/homeless to decide upon,as well as the government program as it is presently structured. The real unemployment rate is probably closer to 19%. Far higher for minorities. There is also the particular trend of 'farm-to-table' meals served in some restaurant situations. Relatively inexpensive, mostly organic, locally-grown, some Vegan...all good for families who may be even in starvation mode. And there is no reason, that a supermarket or fast food chain, could not incorporate this concept into their menu selection as well.