Saturday, November 30, 2013

Peapod Success Riding a New Wave

Amazon, Walmart, Safeway are all exploring, extending, and extoling attributes of their online grocery shopping. Peapod has been in the business, taking on-line food orders since 1989 and has delivered 23 million orders in 24 different markets.  Today, Peapod continues to grow riding a new wave of customers’ Mobile customers.

After several years of ups and downs Peapod continues to build, measure, learn, and repeat success.  Mobile consumers have been introduced to Peapod’s virtual supermarkets in a train stations. Peapod now has over 100 virtual stores at rail stations throughout its markets in Boston, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

Customers while entering, riding, and commuting seeing Peapods ad in the stations or on the train are prompted "to download the mobile app, which allows them to start shopping on-the-go while they're out and about in their communities -- at a train station, commuting to and from work, at a local rec center for their kids' soccer games, [or] at a coffeeshop,"

Experience has advantages and Peapod’s ability to build, measure, learn, and repeat will propel continued success within this non-traditional fast growing avenue of food distribution.

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson at    His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ease, Simplicity and Attractiveness of Fresh Prepared Food Drives Success

“How can you govern a country that has 246 varieties of cheese?” Charles de Gaulle 

The French have been producing and selling sous vide products for years. In fact Foodservice Solutions®  5 P’s of food marketing: Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price was in large part developed visiting, studying tracking the success of sous vide and other prepared food products in France.

The grocerant niche focusing on fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat  food was made to order in France.  The French consumer loves to eat customized food products that are or can be localized with flavor or product the sous vide process allows them to do that.
In a country with at least 246 types of cheese chef’s understand the need for customized products.  The grocerant niche continues to grow in France and expand with some chefs utilizing molecular gastronomy.
Fear not, when the focus is on Artisans and Authenticity and the food is prepared fresh no matter how the food is prepared will continue to rule the day in France and around the world.
Interested in learning how the 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 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Food Retail Success Does Leave Clues
Thanksgiving Meals Today have Evolved
Have You?  Contact:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Cook Ready-2-Eat Fresh Prepared Food Saves Time

Retailers that blend in new avenues fresh food of distribution with traditional foods packaged with a “twist”,  garner sales success. Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that can be portable (Take-Out, Take-Away) is now being sold at traditional restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, C-stores and dollar stores.  

The primary drives of Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food are single adults. The United States Census reports that 50% of Americans over the age of 18 today in the U.S. are single, they are driving this trend.

In addition baby boomers also drive sales of new grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food. Demographic shifts particularly empty nesters living longer and living is smaller family units than ever before are going continue to drive this change for years to come. 

Richard Cope was quoted saying “as people are working longer into retirement, there is a greater need for products geared towards vitality and health in a more senior workforce. “At the moment energy drinks, foods and snacks are marketed towards the youth market,” he said, “but they will become more about getting people through the day at an older age.”

We are entering a new era in food retailing.  It is bringing new products and new avenues of distribution.  Men are increasingly shopping for the family looking at products for the first time or for new products that either cater to traditional male preferences or new family focused products.  Cope wonders “While retailers may presume they are pitching to women shopping for families, Cope questions whether there is a need for more masculine takes on health and value.  Times are evolving and the grocerant niche is leading the pack in foodservice.

Outside eyes can deliver top line sales and bottom line profits.  Invite Foodservice Solutions® to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Visit:  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Catering Fertile Ground for Grocery Stores a Battle Ground for Restaurants

Increasingly consumers rate supermarket Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food as “restaurant quality”.  With the holiday season in full swing many grocery stores are integrating a catering and fresh prepared food marketing this year into their mainstream media.  

The grocery catering opportunity is largely untapped.  Datassentials has reported that 77% of shoppers have never used a supermarket catering service.  Offices parties once the norm for restaurants and hotels entertaining are fast becoming customers of supermarkets and hosting the party or event in the office.  

Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market, Central Market, Wegman’s, and Safeway are but a few companies offering quality bundled meal mix and match options. At Publix and Metropolitan Market you can order on-line a “Turn-Key” event package. 

Regular readers of this blog know we have highlighted Publix Super Markets catering service, Aprons Event Planning Catering, which takes care of all aspects of party planning.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ stated “Grocery stores have a built in advantage in bundling quality mix and match catering services over restaurants.

Grocery stores offerings now extend beyond quality fresh food.  They can provide setup, serving, cleanup, delivery, floral and full beverage service (liquor) in many states.” In the case of Publix they even take care of arranging venues and rental of tables, linens and flatware for special events.

Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is fast becoming a staple at home for dinner, at home for the holidays, and at the office.  The competition for customers is growing.  Restaurants, hotels and grocery stores are all offering mix and match meal components and catering services.

Visit: , Johnson, or

Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development leverage out Outside Eyes for inside Profits. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Burger King “Have it Your Way’ Today Includes Have it Delivered.

In 1974 Burger King created a new slogan “Have it Your Way” that resonated with consumers, Burger Kings brand attributes, all while expanding consumer relevance.  Has Burger King once again found its Mojo adding delivery too its portfolio of customization options?   

Harkin back to 1974 and the slogan “Have it Your Way” the slogan was an invitation for differentiation, customization with individualization. 1974 was an important step in the development of the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka the Grocerant Niche of today. 

Today, fresh prepared food can be found all of these retail food sector’s Drug Stores, Grocery Stores, Convenience Stores, Liquor stores.  Each of those retail sectors invite consumers to Mix and Match fresh prepared food offerings customized family meals.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ refers to it as “convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualizationor looking back “Have it your way’". 

Expanding brand relevance and the slogan “Have it your way” Burger Kings delivery program “Customers of BURGER KING® delivery have been ecstatic with the results, and some have even posted their praise on our website. At BURGER KING®, we love our customers and will do what we can to satisfy not only your hunger, but your wallets as well.” If success does leave clues customization, personalization and convenient meal participation via delivery is a very good clue.  

Arizona, Washington, Minnesota, California, and Maryland are just a few states with locations offering delivery today.  If you would like to see if they deliver in your neighborhood here is a link to Burger Kings delivery information:!areas 

Interested in learning how the 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 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Papa Murphy’s Build, Measure, Learn, Repeat Equals Success

Restaurant industry success is a four step process according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ Steven Johnson.  Those four steps are Build, Measure, Learn, and Repeat.

Restaurant success is determined by consumer’s choice.  Year after year one company continues to show up at the top of the list of consumers, that company is Papa Murphy’s. Papa Murphy’s focus on evolving consumer preferences for “better for you” fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat aka Grocerant niche food is but one aspect of their success.

Blending just the right mix of Ready-2-Eat Salads with Heat-N-Eat made fresh from scratch pizza and deserts items Papa Murphy’s has found menu equilibrium. Papa Murphy’s ability to build, measure, learn, and repeat industry leading fresh prepared metric of food  price + service + quality time and time again places them in a unique position of leading the industry.  

Once again this Quarter “Data from Technomic's Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) program, which surveys consumers about their most recent restaurant visits, confirms that top-rated restaurant concepts continue to be chains that deliver strong value on high-quality food and beverage.” The winner according to customers was Papa Murphy’s. Here is what CBM said:

“Papa Murphy's Pizza earned the highest marks of all chains measured on consumers' overall satisfaction; three-fourths (76 percent) of consumers say that their last visit was "excellent." Consumers' ratings of the chain on other attributes signal that they perceive Papa Murphy's to value both their time and money, indicating that the chain offers very good portion sizes for the price paid and a highly satisfactory speed of visit. The chain also received the highest ratings from consumers on its ability to provide value through high-quality menu items.”

When your consumer move, restaurant need to move with them.  Papa Murphy’s has done that and done it well.  They do it year after year following four simple steps: Build, Measure, Learn, and Repeat.  Consumers are dynamic not static your brand must be dynamic as well.

Interested in learning how the 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 

Friday, November 22, 2013

What is Driving Restaurant Customer Migration?

The answer is clear.  Restaurant customer migration is Driven by 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.)
Trends in the Food Industry Point to an Increase in Non-Traditional Meal Occasions
At the intersection of the consumer, fresh prepared food and technology we fine that 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, demands of raising a family, commuting, social interaction, kid's 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 non-traditional food distribution have empowered consumer choice, and Americans are embracing these choices even as legacy marketers cringe. Who's after restaurant food dollars… simply put… everyone.
Why should you care if Walgreens is selling fresh prepared ready-2-eat and made-2-order sandwiches? Why should you care if Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Safeway and Wegmans are selling ready-2-eat and or heat-N-eat fresh pizza? Why should you care if Coinstar is selling Seattle Best Coffee at 1,000 locations for $1.00?
You should care because they are selling it, and you are not! The fastest growing sector of retail food service for the past four years has been the Convenience store sector. The C-store sectors growth in large part has been driven by fresh prepared food. Non-traditional avenues of distribution are growing, gobbling market share while establishing new patterns of consumption, price points and customer loyalty.
The Shopper is in Control Spurring New Retail Food Formats
Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have created ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food items with qualitative differentiation as an entity with identity that has help propel them into ready-2-eat fresh prepared food leadership. In fact recent research shows that both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are each known for high quality (restaurant quality) ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat foods with distinctive offerings. More important each is leading with innovative products and package size that create value and have positioned each chain as a food shopping destination for meal components customized and personalized for immediate consumption or mix and matched for a meal time at home. In short they are stealing your customers.
Walgreens fresh prepared food is restaurant quality and priced less than Panera Bread or Corner Bakery CAFE. Both Panera Bread and Corner Bakery CAFE thrive in urban locations. Walgreens is now growing price, quality and speed of service advantages over legacy retailers. Legacy restaurant chains must reconsider the speed at which they evolve and adapt or non-traditional outlets will capture profits margins as well.
Traditional views of meals and mealtime can pretty much be discarded. Legacy retailers waiting for the "next big thing" to copy simply might be out of luck this time. Legacy food retailers may not like to be first movers very much but it may prove that waiting too long will not work this time.
Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price are Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s
The retail food world is evolving at an ever increasing pace filled with innovation in food, portion size, points of distribution, and quality fresh prepared meal solutions. The price, value, service equilibrium is resetting in retail foodservice. In order to edify the brand and reinforce consumer relevance restaurateurs must leverage Foodservice Solutions® 5P's of food marketing. 
Many legacy food retailers continue to practice brand protectionism, stifle the brand while diminishing consumer relevance. The consumer is dynamic not static. Brands must be dynamic, evolving with the consumer. Four more years of watching other retail sectors thrive should be long enough. Success in the restaurant world is no longer simply about what happens within your 4 walls.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging integration strategy.  of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit Johnson, or

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pinkie’s Customers Drive Ready-2-Eat Fresh Food Sales Success

When Mike Ellington CEO of Pinkie’s Liquor stores called me a couple years ago and wanted help driving sales within the Grocerant Niche, I was not surprised.  Even though we had previously not considered Liquor stores in our grocerant niche target.  We listened to an insightful Mike Ellington and knew he would be successful, and we wanted to help.   

Today a good year after opening the new in-store kitchens Pinkie’s CEO Mike Ellington tells me that every department within the store continues to experience sales increases. That as regular readers of this blog know is on top of the incremental sales from Pinkie’s Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food offerings.  A side note for those of you who are not regular readers of Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ blog Pinkies has no seating inside or outside.  All fresh prepared food is for Take-Out.  

Pinkie’s this holiday season wants to extend the halo of their food brand into the home and is offering successful  grocerant niche  Mix and Match meal components that can be customized into a unique and special family meal.  These first time offering include: 

Meats - fully cooked turkeys, oven-ready turkeys, spiral-cut hams, oven-ready Prime Rib. 

Sides - butternut squash puree, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, spinach souflee, corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli rice casserole, cranberry sauce 

Desserts - whole pumpkin pie, whole pecan pie, whole buttermilk pie 

Success does leave clues and integrating Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food into your Restaurant, Drug Store, Dollar store, or Liquor store is one of the clues. 

Interested in learning how the 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 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Spice up Thanksgiving with a Popeye’s Cajun Style Turkey.

Don’t let Thanksgiving come and go with the same old same old Turkey.  Spice things up this year with a Heat-N-Eat Cajun Style Turkey from Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen.  The Cajun Turkey’s range in size from  9-to-13 pounds.  Each Turkey is marinated with a blend of Louisiana seasonings before being flash-fried for a crispy coating and then roasted. Don’t worry, enjoy the day with Heat-N-Eat Cajun Turkey. 

Popeye’s Cajun style Turkeys are available at most U. S. locations and this year range in price from $39.99 to 43.99 depending on location.  All of Popeye’s Cajun Turkey’s come with a set of Heat-N-Eat warming instructions. The Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food niche aka the Grocerant niche can and does complement brands in every sector of retail foodservice.

If you like Cajun flavoring you will love Popeye’s Heat-N-Eat Turkey. Don’t worry about leftovers either here is a recipe from Popeye's specifically requesting Popeye’s Cajun Turkey for a Turkey and Sausage Jambalaya and it's very good by the way.  So stay warm, enjoy football over the weekend, with Popeye's Turkey and Sausage Jambalaya.  

Recipe: Popeye’s Cajun Fried Turkey and Sausage Jambalaya*
Yield: 9 – 1½ cup servings per recipe.
½ Cup Peanut Oil ¾ tsp. Ground Black Pepper
6 Ribs Celery Diced ½ tsp. Red Cayenne Pepper
4 Medium/Large Onions Diced Large 3 Bay Leaves
1 Large Bell Pepper Diced 1 lb. Sliced Sausage (Your Choice)
1 Bunch Green Onion Chopped 1½ tbsp. Paprika
3 tbsp. Garlic Chopped 1 lb. Leftover Turkey Diced
½ tsp. Salt (season according to taste) 2 Quarts Turkey Stock*
1 tsp. Dried Thyme 1 Quart Rice
Preparing Turkey Stock:
Place turkey bones from Cajun Fried Turkey into a large stock pot cover with 3 quarts water.
If available toss in 3 celery ribs and two quartered onions (peel included), 1½ tbsp. garlic, simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat allow to cool and strain
Reserve 2 quarts of stock for Jambalaya recipe and discard remainder.
Preparing Jambalaya:
Dice onions, bell peppers and celery.
Measure Peanut Oil into stock pot and heat on medium high heat.
Add celery and sauté 3 minutes, as oil reheats add green peppers and sauté for 3 minutes more. Finally, add onions and sauté until all vegetables are cooked through.
Add sliced sausage and all seasonings, and continue to sauté.
Add turkey, rice and turkey stock to the pot and stir.
Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes. ©

Popeye’s continues to extend brand value with family holiday mix and match meal options that edify store level sales while extending the brand into the home on one of the warmest of holiday seasons.

Visit: Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru™ at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, with extensive experience as a multi-unit operator, consultant and brand/product positioning. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wild Oats is Better for You, Back, and Affordable

Food quality never takes a step backwards is an often used phase of Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.  The Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food space continues to evolve with consumers. There is one brand that help pioneer the niche well before it was mainstream.  That company was Wild Oats. Wild Oats help pioneer both the organic food industry and Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that was “better for you”.

Since it’ founding in 1987 until Wild Oats was bought by Whole Foods in 2007 they grew from 1 unit to 110 stores in 24 states. Along the way Wild Oats created legions of devotee’s.  These many years later many of those devotees continue to talked about and today reminisce of a delightful experience shopping at Wild Oats.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru believes today is the day Wild Oats devotees will rejoice with news of a resurging brand. 

According to Wild Oats they have “been busy sourcing and creating wholesome, tasty food that’s affordable for EVERYONE. Because being a pioneer means constantly exploring new seas. So get on board, and hold on tight!”  Welcome back Wild Oats and all of us at Foodservice Solutions® look forward to shopping in your new and remodeled stores.

Interested in learning how the 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 

Monday, November 18, 2013

So What’s for Dinner? It’s November and no time to cook?

Do you have time to eat, time for dinner, or even time for cooking at home today?
If you are "Ready-2-Eat" there is a very good chance you are looking for fresh prepared multi-flavor, multi-ethnic Grocerant meal components. Heat-N-Eat and Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food with portability are driving retail food success in 2013. Where are you shopping for you food today is not the same place your mother was nor is the meal prepared the same way.
As long as multi-generational family's gather for meals together, the demand for more divergent flavors continues to permeate. Grocerant mix and match bundled meal component offerings allow for increased family integration, understanding and acceptance in less time without a required cook from scratch skill set.
In the 1940's cooking from scratch was the normal. The average home cooked meal took 150 minutes to prepare. Everyone sat down at the table and enjoyed it or not but they all ate the same thing. Today's "home cooked meal" takes on average less than 30 minutes to prepared. In most cases at least two different entrées are served.
The average time spent inside a McDonalds in the 2,000 was 11 minutes. Today 65+ percent of all McDonald's food is sold via the drive-thru. U.S. fast-food chains are increasingly remodeling restaurants in an effort to garner additional drive-thru customers inside and increase sales, simple because the drive-thru can't hold all the cars.
According to the New York Times Magazine - McDonalds Came Back Bigger Than Ever McDonald's Corp. saw a 50% increase in sales during the first quarter of 2012 after opening a remodeled restaurant in Riverside, California, that features a new décor, solar panels on the carport, and ceiling panels that contain L.E.D. lights. During the first 12 months, sales at this restaurant increased 20% overall.
Walgreens is creating and bundling distinctive differentiated food consumable's as an entity with identity by day part in a mix and match meal component format in select urban setting targeted at both the office worker for lunch and meal components for them to take home for the family dinner. It is a successful program. With over 7,550 units operating in the United States Walgreens has the potential to become the most disruptive force in food retailing in 50 years. Walgreens with its modular mid-sized foot-print is garnering customers from both restaurants and grocery stores.
Consumers Want Easy to Prepare Meals
The grocerant niche continues to grow with companies like Central Market, Whole Foods, Wegmans and 7 Eleven entering the fresh prepared better for you space. Meal time is now becoming a time of convenient meal participation, with differentiation and individualization for the entire family. Safeway with its lifestyle stores are heading in the right direction however the stores are so large consumers are forced to spend more time in them than they want.

More often than not the multi-generational family today is multi-ethnic as well. Creating a demand for more varied flavors and additional cooking skill set that is simply not there. Grocery stores, Convenience Stores, Restaurants and Chain Drug Stores are all selling ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food. Is your focus family dinning? Are you selling meals or meal components for Take-Out, delivery or Take-Away?
Lacking the skill set to prepared fresh prepared multi-ethnic meal components at home coupled with the time it takes to prepared a home cooked meal it is clear the buying habits of consumers will continue to evolve. Bundling mix and match meal components into a meal is one key driver within the grocerant niche. Given that most American family are comprised of multi-cultural background. The fight for share of stomach will only intensify.
Restaurants menu's at one time were very narrow in focus and have moved more upscale with offerings such as Oriental; Chicken Salad, Southwest Chicken Salad, along with a chef salads. Grocery stores on the other hand are expected to sell complete lines of reay-2-eat multi-ethnic food. That places higher expectations on grocers than restaurants or a company like Walgreens. Walgreens might just be in the perfect spot to expand fresh prepared food offerings capturing customers from both restaurants and supermarkets. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® a Tacoma, WA based retail foodservice consultancy has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact: