Tuesday, September 11, 2012

At 4 PM Do You Know What is for Dinner?

At 4 PM your customers are just beginning to think about what’s for dinner. Eighty-one percent of American consumers are unsure about what’s for dinner; the opportunity is yours for the asking.  Consumers are looking for high quality ready-2-eat and or heat-N-eat fresh and prepared food.  What they want to do is buy meal components that they can bundle into a customized family meal that will please everyone without spending time cooking.

Consumers today have the opportunity to purchase high quality chef prepared ready-2eat and heat-N-eat food from independent restaurants, grocery stores, chain drugstores, convenience stores, chain restaurants and non-traditional food retailers the ilk of Amazon.com and food trucks.  At the convergence of all of these new and legacy meal component points of distribution you find the Grocerant niche.

The grocerant niche refers to prepared food that is portable, ready-2-eat or heat-N-eat food that is deemed “better for you”.  The consumers are finding grocerant niche food in grocery store deli sections including Whole foods, Trader Joes, Safeway Lifestyle stores and Central Market, convenience stores including Wawa, Sheetz, Rutter’s Farm Stores, and 7 Eleven, chain restaurants and independent restaurants around the world.

Successful foodservice operators today understand that differentiation in menu items and food products doesn’t mean different, rather it means familiar with a twist; taking ordinary daily menu items, adding contemporary relevance.   Then presenting, positioning and pricing competitively; these are the universal footprints of success found within the grocerant niche.

In NPD Group’s 2011 report on Eating Patterns in America famed food industry researcher and speaker Harry Balzer found that more meals were consumed at home this year than ever before. Most interesting is that the food consumed at home is a mix and match set of traditional menu items with a twist and food products bundled as meal components then simply assembled at home creating personalized unique dining experiences.

The intense competition and expanding points of distribution in retail foodservice provides a platform of opportunity for retail food operators and chefs around the globe. Each of these new expanding points of non-traditional distribution including chain drug stores, grocery stores delis, take-away and take-out chain restaurants, convenience stores are all seeking localized chefs.

There is a universal commonality of the success in retail foodservice identified by Foodservice Solutions® they are the 5 P’s of food marketing.  These include Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability, and Price all are found within the burgeoning grocerant niche. Successful chefs will understand that food products need to be contemporary yet traditional.  According to Foodservice Solutions® within each chefs packaging tool kit, less is more. Product placement today needs to be found in multiple avenues of distribution.  Menu items cannot be limited to simply in store dinning, or frozen food shelves.  Consumers prefer to assemble meals for home consumption rather than cook from scratch.  All food products need to be portable available for take-out. The food value price relationship is driven by the success of bundling of the first 4P’s.

Henry David Thoreau reminds us, “things do not change, we do” Successful retail foodservice takes on a life of its own and is dynamic not static.   Success does not just happen it is planned, focused and based on good informed choices.

Its 4PM; are you ready for your customers?  Remember, the consumer is now shopping in the grocerant niche.  Make sure your food is prepared food that is portable, ready-2-eat and or heat-N-eat and deemed “better for you”. 

Successful food service operators today understand that differentiation in menu items and food products doesn’t mean different, but familiar with a twist.  Leveraging traditional menu items by adding a twist with contemporize relevance then positioning, placing, packaging and pricing with portability are the keys to success in retail foodservice and the grocerant niche today.

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or twitter.com/grocerant

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