Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Food Branding Conundrum are Brinker and Darden stuck in the middle?

What are your customers shopping for and where? One of the things that happens when a restaurant brand becomes complacent is consumers reduce the frequency of visits. What are the signs of a brand becoming sick? What role does brand protectionism play in the restaurant industry? When brand managers and C-level executives utilize justification and rationalization to explain results you know that what they did, didn’t work.

Brand Managers understand that consumers are dynamic not static. Brands must be dynamic as well. When brands play the wait and see game, the only thing they are truly waiting for is the customer to walk into the store. The problem is it just happens less and less. Focusing on price rather than product and product innovation continues to stifle many a foodservice company.

These are difficult times or so we are told. However brands that succeed are bold and truly changing the way they do business. Example: Apple (APPL) and Amazon (AMZN) both have new products both have products that are innovative and cost more than previous ilk products and both companies are booming! Apple set an all-time single-quarter sales record with its Macintosh computers Amazon can not keep up with production of it’s Kindle which “ has become the #1 bestselling item by both unit sales and dollars – not just in our electronics store but across all product categories on Amazon.com " a spokesperson said.

Brinker International (EAT), owns 1,700 restaurants, most of them Chili's Grill & Bars, has customer traffic that lags industry standards’. This has been the case for close to  five years just in case anyone missed it!  It might be time for some outside eyes or ideations! What about Darden swapping managers from company to company may not be the outside eyes needed for revised consumer relevance.

Food is not out of favor or flavor! What is out is a style of management mediocrity and compliancy. A brand is a promise that must be on-going dynamic and consumer relevant. The value of the brand is a result from interactive between contemporary relevance of the brand and the consumer. Success leaves clues simply look at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.(CMG) posted solid increases in sales and profit.

When profit from cigarettes began to decline as a profit generator the vast majority of convenience store channel operators focused on fresh food. Now prepared fresh food is the highest margin and fastest growing sector of C-store business today. Grocerant prepared food is booming across all channels, Restaurant, Supermarket, Convenience Stores, Dollar Stores, Kiosk and Mobile Trucks. What path is your company on are you following justification or renewed consumer relevance?  Consumers will spend look at Apple and Amazon if they are not spending at your company it might be time to ask Why?
Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, brand, product placement or positioning assistance.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant.

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