Saturday, August 10, 2013

Restaurant Consumers Are Not Eating Less Just Some Where Else.

Ever wonder where restaurants customers go when they don’t go to restaurants? After years of down numbers and flat sales restaurant sales declined for a second month in a row, hope for the rebound in the restaurant sector are fading.
Consumers are Not Eating Less. Foodservice Solutions® has been tracking and reporting on the evolving retail food space since 1991.  Here is some recent industry data others are now reporting you should also know:
Black Box Intelligence released its Restaurant Industry Snapshot port for July this week, the Snapshot report showed the second straight month of sales declines this summer.  The report found “Restaurant same-store sales decreased 0.9 percent in July, continuing to fall from flat sales in June and a 0.8-percent increase in May. Same-store traffic declined 2.2 percent, slightly better than the 2.5-percent decline in June.”

That may not seem like a large decline but when you understand the fresh prepared food sold at convenience stores rose 7.9% year over year last year.   That Whole Foods sales of fresh prepared food has hit 25% generating 32% of the company’s bottom line profits you begin to see that the ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food niche is driving change within the retail food space.  Do you know how to position your brand against new non-traditional points of fresh prepared food ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat distribution?  We do, we wrote the book.

Even Legacy Technomic’s new Consumer Brand Metrics:Retail Meal Solutions report suggest consumer like ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food.   Foodservice Solutions® found Consumers are not eating less however the undercurrents of retail food consumer evolving is driving change in the retail food space.  Here is what Technomic found:

“Nearly half of consumers polled (45 percent) have purchased prepared foods at Walmart within the past month, leading all other retailers measured.”

“In the value category, Costco leads the way in prepared-food prices relative to other, similar retailers with 88 percent of consumers considering Costco’s prepared-food item prices to be good or very good.”
“A vast majority of consumers (93 percent) agree that Trader Joe’s has an excellent reputation, followed by Whole Foods Market (90 percent).”

Regular readers of Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru Blog understand all too well the undercurrents and developments within non-traditional points of fresh food distribution and the effects occurring within the retail food space.  The consumer is dynamic not static and restaurants must define their concepts and align themselves with the evolving consumer or risk losing consumer relevance.

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based foodservice consultancy Foodservice Solutions® and writes a blog at: He can be found on linkedin, Johnson, Email Contact: Website:

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