Monday, May 13, 2013

Should Restaurants Move Branded Fresh Food to Non-Traditional Locations?

Establishing a positive brand image is one of the hallmarks US based restaurant chains.  Leveraging the emotion of the brand in non-traditional avenue of distribution is something that they are now about to exploit at much faster rate if they intend to continue to grow both the top and bottom line.
In the 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, a majority of operators questioned said they offer merchandise, such as sauces or frozen foods, for retail sale. Few offer fresh prepared ready-2-eat products at alternative avenues of distribution.  This may be the year that we will see operators begin to refocus.
Hudson Riehle Senior Vice President of the NRA’s Research & Knowledge Group said “Selling retail items generates additional sales and in some cases, licensing fees, and that's important considering that the average pretax restaurant profit ranges in the modest 3-percent to 6-percent range.”
The study found that in “the family-dining segment, 54 percent of operators said they sell retail items, while 35 percent of casual dining, 37 percent of quickservice and 41 percent of fast casual restaurateurs said they, too, have merged into the retail fast lane. The highest percentage, however, was in the fine dining segment, where 59 percent of operators said they also sell retail items.”
While retailers the ilk of Starbucks, 7 Eleven each have found success leveraging branded fresh food items in non-traditional avenues of distribution few others have. That will change as food retailing continues to evolve at ever increasing rate.  Do you know which chain restaurant will be next to offer fresh prepared food at non-traditional outlets? 
Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions, with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Johnson, or

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