Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are Restaurateurs the last to embrace competitors, the under-currents of change, and technology?

The line between restaurants and food retailers is growing ever thinner. The fight for America’s food dollars continues to intensify as consumers find fresh prepared ready-2-eat food options at a wide and growing array of outlets across almost every channel: convenience stores, chain drug stores, restaurants, grocery stores, club stores, vending and even more non-food retailers like dollar stores.  While manufacturers, retailers and restaurants worry about choice overload, consumers have embraced their new choices and show no signs of returning to the old ways.

The restaurant industry is not an industry known for trying to be first as in fastest to market with an ideation, food or technology advance. In the United States the larger the chain in almost all cases the more slowly they are to adopt something than a smaller chain or independent restaurants will.  Chain restaurants goal has traditionally been, simply feed one meal at a time in the restaurant while protecting and edifying the brand. That is not enough in our rapidly evolving Onmi-channel retail world.

Historically chain restaurant leaders have denied the credibility of competitors as non-relevant. The pizza sector is a great example; evolving from family dinning independents to national chain of “Red Roof” Italian to delivery only and now the take-N-bake is in an exciting market share growth phase.

At the intersection of the consumer, fresh prepared food and technology Consumer eating behavior is evolving and is now beyond the control of traditional food marketers. Evolving culture and lifestyle, demographics along with the new uncertain 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 over legacy brands.

Recent advances in food packaging and new points of distribution have empowered consumer choice, and Americans are embracing these choices even as marketers cringe. The grocerant niche filled with ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food that is deemed “better for you” continues garnering share of market from legacy restaurants, grocery stores providing a platform of opportunity for retailers looking for growth.

Success does leave clues one clue is Foodservice Solutions®.  We specializes in outsourced business development with a focus on the grocerant niche. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

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