Saturday, May 25, 2013

Is the Restaurant Fast Casual Niche Simply the Race Too The Middle?

When industry trade magazine hyperbole garners more attention than consumers you know trouble is brewing.  When special seminars are hyped by legacy research companies as a way to pump-up internal quarterly sales numbers garnering the attention of only lethargic marketers. When awards are given out to clients and newbie’s to ensure attendance and press coverage at Fast Casual seminars you know the signs of a top are near.  Is you company racing to the middle? Do you want to your company to stand up and stand out?

Five years from now chain restaurant leaders will be attending the National Restaurant Show in Chicago networking, learning and laughing aloud about the money they wasted sending employees to Fast Casual Summits. Laughing aloud about how a multi-billion dollar restaurant industry missed the Consumer Marketing Migration that took place from 1999 to 2013. 

Food Marketing Migration

Where are restaurant customers migrating? In a new study released by the NPD Group found that in the three years between 2006 and 2012 that the grocery/supermarket sector increased sales of prepared meals by 46 Million. That’s 46 Million fresh ready-2-eat meal occasions that could have been would have been restaurant meals.

Chain Drug stores have taken notice and continue testing fresh prepared food at locations from coast to coast. Five years from now when restaurant chain leaders return to Chicago for the NRA Restaurant Show they will be focused on Non-traditional fresh food competitive growth while looking for new non-traditional points for their fresh food offerings.

Restaurants Coddling Brand Protectionism

Five years from now chain restaurant leaders will wonder how Mintel, NPD and Technomic reported on but missed the Consumer Marketing Migration. Five years from now chain restaurant leaders will laugh at the fact that the undercurrents of the evolving face of retail food competition has been all around yet while they practiced brand protectionism, drug stores, C-stores and grocery stores simply catered to the evolving consumer preferences garnering share of stomach and did so within in the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food grocerant niche .

Five years from now chain restaurant leaders will wonder why when in 2013 Technomic reported that revenue from prepared foods at supermarkets had increased more than six percent annually during the past five years. Why they continued to host, speak and pontificate on Fast Casual when the consumer had migrated. More important T echnomic reported that the prepared food number grows to 13 percent for mass merchandisers and superstores during the same period. All the while the margins on prepared food were expanding creating a fast growing new revenue center for fresh prepared food in this non-traditional fresh prepared food retail sector.

Looking Outside Current Boundaries

Five years from now all food retailers will evaluate how they do business not how they did business. Five years from now chain restaurant leaders will be laughing how they missed the universal commonalties the drug store, grocery and c-store food marketers did not. Five years from now they will understand that successful competition comes from outside well established operating boundaries.
Five years from now no one will wonder about the findings in a Harris Poll of 2,496 adults surveyed online between February 13 and 18, 2013 by Harris Interactive found that Americans continue to be reducing how often that they eat out at restaurants : Fast food restaurant chain (26% less, 14% more),Local casual dining restaurant (20% less, 14% more),Casual dining restaurant chain (24% less, 11% more),Local fine dining restaurant (21% less, 7% more),Fine dining restaurant chain (23% less, 4% more).

Channel Blurring

Five years from now all food marketers will understand that channel blurring exist only in the minds-eye of legacy food marketers not in the minds-eye of consumers.

Five years from now Food retailers will understand the 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru Steven Johnson found: 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. This fight is taking place in what is called the grocerant niche.

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 is simple feed one meal at a time in the restaurant while protecting and edifying the brand.

Historically chain restaurant leaders have denied the credibility of start-up competitors as non-relevant. The pizza sector is a great example; evolving from family dinning independents to national chain of "Red Roof" Italian, then to delivery only outlets and now take-N-bake is garnering market share in the pizza sector. (Note: Home Made Pizza Company and Papa Murphy's are further examples of take and bake pizza operators.)

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization contact us via Email us at: or visit Johnson, or

No comments:

Post a Comment