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.
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
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.
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 Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant or