Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Technology Once a Restaurant Attribute now Competitor

New, Faster, Better were taglines of chain restaurant companies marketing campaigns of the 1970’s, 1980’s by newly hired MBA’s of that era touting Operational Efficiencies or, Throughput Advances. Legacy chain after chain headed by a Boomer CEO’s simply built a store and consumer came.  It was a time when differentiation was in name only and copy-cat menu’s and décor ruled the day. Little has changed.

Today, if it was not for menu price increases those legacy chains would be closing stores nearly as fast as they opened them.  Some are, by the way. The reason is Customer Counts at restaurants nationwide continue to slip. Does your restaurant messaging, menu, and media look like yesterday or tomorrow?

Websites, Online Ordering, Mobile Interaction / Ordering / Payments were the touted by MBA’s of 1990’s and 2000’s. Most legacy restaurant industry companies are doing all or tried a version or combo of each thinking that testing technology will keep them in the game until the economy recovers.  OhYeah that did not happen either and many Boomer CEO’s are under fire.  Today, the consumer has moved from Ritual Consumer to Virtual Consumer when shopping for food. 

Regular readers of this blog have heard of Amazon Fresh and Amazon Spotlight (fresh meal deliver), each driving success, filling an unmet consumer need. A need-set that went unrecognized by legacy food retailers or overlooked, discounted, and dismissed as non-competitive. 

Technology companies are today courting the Virtual Consumer while integrating “Better for You” messaging, simple and restaurant quality meals all without the cost of retail locations. This new retail model is direct to consumer, something we touted for chain restaurants in 1999, early once again. There are many technology companies doing direct to consumer currently creating additional industry disruption.  Today I will focus on just one such company; Blue Apron another by the way is Munchery.

Blue Apron slogan is: “Healthy & Delicious meals without shopping the shopping.” … “Skip the store and get fresh ingredients delivered at home. Get 2 meals FREE when you try Blue Apron!” That by the way is three meals new Virtual consumers won’t be eating at a restaurant, buying from a grocery store, or picking up in a C-store’s fresh prepared food section.  How is your brand positioned to compete with technology competitors? Is your business model more like yesterday or tomorrow?

Here is a sample of what Blue Apron is offering “Blackened Drum over Cheddar Cheese Grits with Sorrel, Parsley & Chive Salad”. They describe the meal this way: The technique of “blackening” fish is a hallmark of Louisiana Cajun cuisine. The fish is coated in an aromatic blend of herb and spices then seared in a hot pan. The seasonings are allowed to char slightly, giving the fish its characteristic, deep brown or black color. This method releases and blends the essences of the herbs and spices, creating an intensely flavorful, aromatic crust.”

Foodservice Solutions® was first in the food industry to introduce and position companies the ilk of Cyberslice, Cybermeals, Food.com and Threep.  Understanding consumer’s migration with food purchasing, messaging and placement is key in developing next steps for consumer success.

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us  Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking will leave success clues for all. www.FoodserviceSolutions.us

1 comment:

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