Sunday, November 30, 2014

Non-traditional Fresh Food Locations ‘Trial’ Growing

Non-traditional points of fresh food distribution continue to expand sales opportunities for both consumer and food manufactures. Today consumers are from testing, trial, to tradition.  The ever expanding mobile smart phone has help propel the once struggling online grocery retailers to mainstream status.
A recent IRI study on Channel Migration found that while online orders ‘basket size’ is not expanding the user base is.  The IRI report found that ‘shoppers sampling online grocery shopping today with small, low-risk “trial” are building the familiarity and confidence that will allow them to migrate to larger transactions.”
The IRI study calculated that “33% of all households bought grocery products on the internet in the past year, and the behavior is growing fast (that’s an 18% increase over the year before). 
Companies the ilk of Amazon, Peapod, and Whole Foods are in line to benefit from the halo of either being first, being the best, or simply brand affinity according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™. Who went on to say customer appetite for fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat foods that can be bundled with  traditional grocery staples will only increase basket size and order frequency.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact Steven Johnson and Foodservice Solutions via or visit  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Foodservice Solutions® Top 10 Tips to Drive your Brand.

Established food retailers and start-up fresh food retailers both strive to create or maintain consumer relevance while evolving their own brand.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ believes that the following ten clues to build a contemporized food brand can help any food retailer maintain relevance.

Purpose:   Why you are there contemporized relevance! The most successful brands are inclusive include values greater than themselves. A lifestyle, a philosophy, an emotion a point in time today that means better for you.

A story: Most major brands have a story. Examples: if you like Ford vehicles, you might be familiar with the story of Henry Ford or if you love your Nikes, you probably know how the Nike swoosh logo was created.

Consumer interaction: When your business is first starting out, don't fool yourself into believing that your marketing efforts are 'brand building' efforts. They're not because to build a real brand, you have to have an extensive track record with consumers. Consumer will build the brand and the story for you.

Trust: When you've consistently delivered for your customers long enough, you'll gain the type of trust that many brands have.  Would you buy a Toyoda  today? Maybe so, but how long do they have to rebuild that trust?

Consistency:  When a consumer chooses a product or service because of brand association, he or she is buying an expectation. Perhaps it's the expectation that the branded product is of higher quality or that the service will be provided in a more efficient manner. The expectation must be met time after time.

Differentiation: Expectation is often borne of differentiation. Many brands offer products and services that are commodities but they're successful in developing some differentiation for their products and services that consumers are sold on.

Imitators: Imitation is the sincerest of flattery and you're probably not a 'brand' until you have competitors trying to copy you. Do what you do best and lead your niche don’t follow.

Market leadership: Top brands are usually looked at as leaders in the markets they compete in. Own the space, and  understand why you do.

Grow:  The best brands are flexible and capable of reshaping and reinventing themselves and their messages over time. Brands are either growing or dying. Consumers are not static!  Your brand must be dynamic and grow, change and adapt over time.

A strong marketing presence: The information super highway is evolving; your message must follow the traffic.  Don’t get stuck on the road less traveled

For corporate presentations, confidential engagements, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru™ at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions at: or . Johnson, 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bud’s Chicken & Seafood Fine Family Food Fast

Bud’s Chicken & Seafood is a restaurant chain headquarter in Palm Beach County, Florida but make no mistake this family run business is built on Fine Food Served Fast with a family friendly service that has keep customers coming back 56 years.

Regular readers know we have twice before featured Bud’s Chicken & Seafood in articles by our GrocerantGuru™ and on Foodservice Solutions® blog here is how The Palm Beach Post tells there story:

As a teen-ager, Mark Brinkman smelled like chicken as he spent his high school years heading straight to work after school to help out at his father’s take-out restaurant. Now at 54, Brinkman is one of the brothers in charge of Bud’s Chicken & Seafood, a Palm Beach County family-owned restaurant chain that has been serving chicken and seafood to Palm Beach County since 1957.
In the late 1970s, the Brinkman brothers — Mark, 54, Mike, 62, Tom, 57, and Tim, 52 — took over the chain after their father and founder Bud Brinkman passed away. “I think it was expected of us,” said Tim, who started working with his brothers at the age of 12. “You knew what you were going to do.”
And for five decades, the three generations – founder, sons and now grandchildren — have cultivated a profitable business that has outlived other restaurants and economic crisis. Today, Bud’s has seven locations.  “The size of our restaurant has changed, the layout has changed, but people keep coming back for the food,” said Mark. Larry Kimball, 70, has been going back once a week for 55 years.
“I remember that store like it was yesterday, small, crowded and hot because they cooked right behind the counter,” said Kimball. “I have loved their chicken since the first day.” Rachel Alberto, a customer of 30 years, said the restaurant has something more than just great food. “It’s family oriented,” said Alberto, 46, who had her first job at Bud’s as a cashier. “They are good people.”
The company has decided to keep the chain local and not expand outside of Palm Beach County or beyond their control to be able to retain consistent food and personal service. “We like to be able to go to any restaurant any day of the week and visit [our] employees and customers,” said Mark, who has turned down offers to franchise and still uses original recipes and most of the same suppliers.
Bud’s has been making the same cocktail and tarter sauce from scratch for more than 50 years. And while the price of goods goes up and down regularly, Mark prefers to maintain their quality. Staying true to its menu remains a priority for the family business that started off selling four-piece chicken dinners for $1. Today, that same dinner is $8.49.
“The temptation is always there to go to cheaper product or ingredient to save money,” he said. “But we don’t want to mess with the bread and butter of the business. Fifty years later, that’s the reason they still come to Bud’s.”
Success does leave clues and Bud’s is one of America’s restaurant success stories. When locals are Ready-2-Eat or they head to Bud’s Chicken & Seafood. Bud’s is an example of a professionally family run company.  With consistent quality, customer relevance edified with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food served with a family friendly focus works.

Join me here on my blog for insights, information and inspiration. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Steven Johnson and Foodservice Solutions visit or on Facebook at Steven Johnson Contact the Grocerant Guru® directly at:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Top 20 US Grocerants for 2014 According to Foodservice Solutions®

The United States is a melting pot of food flavors, styles of food service, and one of the most competitive food marketplaces in the world.  The Grocerant niche is driven by multi-generational families, multi-ethnic families, and a cultural convergence of consumer’s exposure to global flavors, active lifestyles, and limited time / skill-set for cooking from scratch.  The Grocerant niche is filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  This Thanksgiving an our research shows at least one grocerant meal component will be on 84% of US Thanksgiving tables this year. 
Alice May Brock said: “Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon make it French, sour cream makes it Russian, lemon and cinnamon make it Greek, soy sauce makes it Chinese, garlic makes it good.”  Our Grocerant Guru™ said “Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meal components make every meal a happy meal.” Here is our 2014 top 20 Grocerants in the US:

  1. Eatzi’s
  2. Green Zebra Grocery
  3. Whole Foods,
  4. Hello Fresh
  5. Hy-Vee,
  6. Central Market,
  7. Sprouts Farmers Markets
  8. Mariano’s
  9. Wawa
  10. Walgreens / Duane Reade
  11. Plated
  12. Sheetz
  13. Dominos
  14. Costco
  15. McDonalds
  16. Papa Murphy’s
  17. Lunds and Byerly’s
  18. Bristol Farms
  19.  Trader Joe’s,
  20. Zoes Kitchen,

Success does leave clues visit:  if you are interested in learning more about our top 20. Or on how Foodservice Solutions® 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization. Johnson,, or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Steven Johnson is The Grocerant Guru™ at Foodservice Solutions®

Since 1991 Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has been the food industries leading grocerant consultancy.  Steven Johnson is recognized as one of the leading food industry thought leaders of today. Specializing in the Grocerant niche Foodservice Solutions® has introduced, informed, and identified new products and service for both the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat niche. Many times assisting in creating the new avenues of fresh food distribution, simultaneously placing either the product or service into either traditional or non-traditional avenues of distribution. 

Foodservice Solutions®  is working at the intersection of competitive intelligence, business development, while focusing on the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka Grocerant niche food.

Differentiation in marketing builds strong brands. Understanding differentiation in market positioning and retail leads to industry leadership. Tired of simply following the leaders or utilizing copy-cat marketing techniques? Are you ready to garner new customers via consumer relevant unique brand and or product positioning?

Foodservice Solutions® can help you break out of the malaise of mediocrity, while building top line revenue, and bottom line profits.  Foodservice Solutions® utilizes new consumer relevant positioning and new points of non-traditional distribution.  So if you find your brand in “footprint malaise, contact Foodservice Solutions® they can help.

Success leaves clues; consumers provide insights into preferred differentiation. Transformational times require focus and experience with a qualitative edge. If you’re looking for that outstanding balance of IQ & EQ which combined with vast industry knowledge and proven success you have found it at Foodservice Solutions®.

Specialties: Developing, Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh and prepared food sales. Integrating the 5 P’s of Food Marketing with branded products and quick meal assembly. Foodservice Solutions® Excels at identifying, qualifying, and quantifying niche opportunity within the retail food space for Ready-2-Eat, Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food, and Technology applications.  (253) 759-7869

For Success Clues Contact Website:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sous-Vide Is In Style Once Again

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ asks can the quality control attributes of Sous-Vide be leveraged by restaurants and C-stores to elevate food quality and consistency?  Are US restaurants ready to utilize Sous-Vide to save on labor or are they already?  

Today, sous-vide allows brands the ability to develop customized flavor profile fresh food that can branded and personalized. In the US Culinary Brands and WR Grace entered fresh prepared Sous-vide products at one time during the late 80’s & early 90’s and both sold their operations due to lack of demand.  With the cost of labor on the rise, health care and increasing obstacle it just may be time for resurgence for Sous-vide.  Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that can be customized and bundled with meal components continues growing across all retail food sectors. 

In case you were wondering sous-vide (IPA pronunciation: [su: vi:d]), French for "under vacuum", is a method of cooking that is intended to maintain the integrity of ingredients while capturing the full flavor of the food.  Sous-vide cooking uses airtight plastic bags placed in hot water well below boiling point (Usually around 60°C = 140°F) in restaurant settings.

The sous-vide method was developed by Georges Pralus in the mid-1970s for the Restaurant Troisgros (of Pierre and Michel Troigros) in Roanne, France. He discovered that food cooked in this way kept its original appearance, did not lose its nutrients and maintained its natural texture. The method is used here in the US in a number of top-end restaurants under Thomas Keller, Paul Bocuse, Joel Robuchon and Charlie Trotter and other chefs. Non-professional cooks are also beginning to use vacuum cooking.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact Steven Johnson and Foodservice Solutions via or visit  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fresh Food Customers Converging

Today 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 for a larger share of the customers stomach.
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 Pappa Murphy's are further examples of take and bake pizza operators.)
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.
Consumers Like Today’s 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 i s 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
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 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.
Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based , with extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert and public speaking. Johnson , or  Contact:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fresh Fruit is Fast Food C-Stores Are Getting ‘Better For You’

QSR stands for Quick Service Restaurants as most everyone knows.  There is a commonality between Quick Service Restaurants and Convenience stores and that commonality is speed of service.  Today that speed is only the foundation of commonality. Each sector focus on Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food too drive sales.

Just in case you are not a regular reader of this blog, over the past five years the C-store sector has outperformed the restaurant sector in year over year same store sales growth, new customer counts, and fresh prepared food sales.  Casey General Store is just one example of success and you must note that Casey’s General Stores has 1,780+ stores it’s not a small chain.  How may restaurant chains can boast a 21% growth rate over the past two years alone?

The C-store sector is beaming with success stories. Tedeschi Food Shops Inc. has added fresh fruit to its convenience stores. Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ said “Fresh Fruit is Fast Food” and it’s clear that fresh fruit will not impede speed of service but rather create a halo around product offerings that fast food can be “better for you”.

McDonald's Corp. on the other hand is going back to basics testing “speedy lunch” at some of its south Florida units.  At “participating restaurants in the region McDonalds will provide customers with timers when they pay for their drive-thru orders. The timers are to be returned to McDonald's crew members when their food arrives. If customers don't receive their meal within 60 seconds after paying, they will receive a complimentary lunch item on a future visit.”

Consider this; fast service with fresh fruit as a mix and match meal component, Oh that’s exactly what Tedeschi is doing.  Success does leave clues and five years of the C-store sector has out preformed the restaurant sector.  I believe that restaurants need more than just fast service. Fresh Fruit is Fast Food.

Outside eyes can deliver top sales and bottom line profits.  Invite  to provide brand and product positioning assistance or a grocerant program assessment. Have you completed a Grocerant Scorecard? Contact: 253-759-7869 or

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meal Solutions LLC: Convenient Affordable Healthy Food

One Midwestern company is trying to provide a consumer focused solution to the time-stared consumer in search of fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food.  Located in  Lincoln, Nebraska Meal Solutions is striving to make eating healthy convenient offering great-tasting, healthy meals tailored to your personal dietary requirements brought right to your door or picked up at their kitchen location.

The founders of Meal Solutions BJ Christlieb and Ethan Taylor understood eating the right foods are important for your overall health and wellness. They understood finding the time in your busy schedule to run to the grocery store and prepare those healthy meals isn't always easy. The goal of Christlieb and Taylor was to create a service dedicated to offering healthy meals at an affordable price at an easy delivery or pick-up convenience. 

To ensure a measured and balanced approach Meal Solutions consults nutritionists to ensure all meals provide the nutrients and health benefits you need from your food. They did not shy away or skimp on taste either.  All of Meal Solutions meals are prepared by a culinary chef to optimize flavor.

Meal Solutions has a broad variety of ‘better for you” meals in-addition they offer custom meals: select your proteins, grains, and more for each meal! There are tons of options for healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Eating healthy doesn't have to be inconvenient nor does it mean you have to go to the grocery store any longer. 

Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food can be found in every corner of the country. The food from Meal Solutions is centered, balanced, and price competitive.  For more visit:

Visit:  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or visit: Johnson,, or

Friday, November 21, 2014

Restaurant Thanksgiving Meals TO-GO, TAKE-AWAY, TAKE-OUT

Americans are Ready-2-Eat driving Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food sales. The National Restaurant Association has forecast that 4 million Americans would order a full takeout Thanksgiving meal from a restaurant in 2013, while 14 million would order parts of their Thanksgiving meal to be eaten at home. The Grocerant Niche is Booming.  Take a look at where you can get dinner TO-GO:

Bill Miller Bar-B-Q offers an assortment of Holiday Meals to go.  Broad Breasted Turkey Hen, Broad Breasted Turkey Tom, Honey Glazed Spiral Cut Ham and more.  All orders must be placed by 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 24th and picked up by 7:00 p.m. on November 26th, as stores will be closing early.  Closed on Thanksgiving Day.  View menu.

Bob Evans will be open Thanksgiving from 8 am until 8 pm, but the chain is also offering its popular heat and serve Farmhouse Feast. The Feast serves up to eight, comes complete with your choice of turkey or ham, bread and celery dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, buttered sweet corn, green beans with ham, cranberry relish, rolls, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie.  $79.99 (prices may vary by location). Additional servings of turkey or ham, bread, savory sides and desserts may be added a la carte.

Boston Market – Menu includes everything from whole roasted turkey or spiral-sliced ham to all the sides you crave, like savory stuffing and creamy mashed potatoes.  Dinner options to feed 4 to 12 people. You can order online, by phone or at your local Boston Market restaurant. Everything is already cooked, and it only takes about two hours to heat the entire meal.

Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurants Thanksgiving Feast To Go includes sliced white meat turkey or hickory-smoked ham, homestyle gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spicy Italian sausage stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce.  Half pan serves ten for $159.99.  Full pan serves 20 for $299.99.  Prices may vary by location.

Chompie’s offers delicious complete Thanksgiving meal packages to go that serve 12-15 generously, as well as complete Thanksgiving dinners for 6 or more on Thanksgiving day. In addition to coming as part of the meal packages, Chompie’s also offers its extra large (18-20 lbs. raw weight) whole oven-roasted turkeys to go alone. A la carte Thanksgiving side dishes also available.  See full menu.

Cowboy Chicken is offering a Wood Fire Rotisserie Turkey Holiday Package, which feeds between eight to ten guests and features a 10-12 pound Wood Fire Rotisserie Turkey, Twice Baked Potaters, a Wild West Side, Country Style Stuffing, 12 dinner rolls, and Peach or Southern Blackberry Cobbler, all for $84.95.  Guests may order their Wood Fire Rotisserie Turkey Holiday Package at any Cowboy Chicken location between now and December 31st, 2014.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is offering Thanksgiving Dinner To-Go from November 22nd through November 30th.  Serve up to six for $59.99.  Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Cornbread Dressing, Gravy, a sampling of Sugar-Cured Ham, choice of Three Country Sides, Cranberry Relish, choice of made from scratch Biscuits, Corn Muffins, or a Loaf of Sourdough Bread.  Click for more details.

Famous Dave’s is offering a Hickory Smoked Glazed Ham and Ham Feast and Cherrywood Smoked Turkey and Turkey Feast for pick up.  Feasts include Garlic Red-Skin Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Dave’s Cheesy Mac & Cheese, and Green Beans.  Order by November 23rd for Thanksgiving and pick it up November 26th.

Luby’s offers an extensive selection of holiday meals, side items and A la Carte selections.  Choices include Roasted Prime Rib, Whole Roasted Turkey Breast, Spiral Cut Ham, Whole Roasted Turkey, Whole Smoked Turkey, Whole Deep Fried Turkey and much more.  Click for menu.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que offers individual Thanksgiving Dinners to go which include slow-smoked turkey, ham or both, served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Southern Stuffing, Apples Sauteed in Jack Daniels, Giblet Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Biscuits with Apple Butter and Sweet Potato Pie.  Adults $24.99, Kids $11.99.  Lucille’s Thanksgiving Day catering menu includes a choice of Smoked Sliced Turkey and/or Marinated Ham with all the fixings.  Guests can also order Hickory Smoked Whole Turkeys.  All holiday orders must be placed by November 25.

Maggiano’s Thanksgiving Day Carryout Package includes choice of salads, sides, desserts and pastas.  Entrees include Traditional Roast Turkey Breast, Country-Style Baked Nueske Ham and Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia.  Carryout orders must be placed by Monday, November 25th.

Marie Callender’s offers Holiday Feasts, Sides, Party Platters, Boxed Lunches and Desserts for carryout.  For selections and pricing, download Marie Callender’s Holiday Guide.

Max & Erma’s will be open Thanksgiving Day for dine-in, but guests can also order the chain’s Thanksgiving meal for carryout.  Guests can also order from the regular Max & Erma’s menu.

Mimi’s Cafe is offering Holiday Feasts To-Go, serving eight to ten, for $89.99.  Selections include 
Herb-Butter Basted Turkey with Gravy, Candied Pecan Sweet Potatoes, Whipped Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Cornbread Stuffing, Apple Cranberry Orange Relish, Green Bean Casserole, Whole Pumpkin Pie, six freshly-baked brown-sugar-topped Pumpkin Muffins.  Mimi’s will also offer “Just the Sides” and “Brunch at Home” to-go options.  Click for more information.

Ruffino’s will offer its annual Thanksgiving To-Go services from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. The award-winning restaurant will also be open for dine-in guests during these hours, serving up traditional home-cooked meals alongside Ruffino’s signature “Creole meets Italian” favorites.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House offers your favorite side items to-go. Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Beans with Roasted Garlic and Creamed Spinach are all available in family-sized portions for $29.95 (serves ten to twelve).

Sticky Fingers Smokehouse is offering smoked turkey (10-12 lb), 5 quarts of Southern sides and pumpkin pie for $69.  Serves 4-6 people.  Pre-order by November 23

Texas Land & Cattle has its Thanksgiving Catering Menu available for Thanksgiving.  Orders must be placed by Nov. 24 for Thanksgiving Day pick up. Restaurants will be open Tuesday, Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Woody’s Bar-B-Q – Preorder your smoked turkey by November 15th.  8 – 10 lb. turkey $29.99.

Since 1991 retail food consultancy Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche for more on Foodservice Solutions® or for a Grocerant Scorecard visit,  Email:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is your Restaurant a Showroom or Salesroom

While consumers are evolving with technology so fast many restaurants feel that they can’t keep up, it cost too much to keep up, or that they should not try to keep up.  Foodservice Solutions® team believes that it’s not the technology that’s the problem. The problem is how restaurateurs view the restaurant itself. 
Today when you create a unique menu item that generates consumer buzz, high sales, while others start copying it, and adding it to their menu.  Then your restaurant has evolved into a showroom and is no longer just a restaurant. Has your restaurant become a Showroom? Are you still doing what you did 3,4,or 5 years ago?
Don’t let your restaurant become the next Best Buy a great showroom with declining store counts, sales, and profits.  The other concern is while you are spending millions advertising on Google, or Amazon they are doing just the opposite.  Remember when retailers were scared of their online competitors? You should be again for both are now selling food, fresh food and fresh prepared food delivered to your customer’s door.
When Amazon announced that they were opening a Brick-N-Mortar store in New York City, San Francisco, what did you think? Restaurant  advertising platform Google is delivering fresh food right to your customers door.  Did you once again think well, that does not concern us? Today, On-line retailers are becoming Brick-N-Mortar solutions utilizing ideations from your showroom and on-line ads.
Eye-glass retailer Warby Parker has opened several stores and stores-within-stores partnering with already established eye wear retailers. Plated, the once online meal-delivery service only, offers a truck instead of a stationary storefront for its hungry New York patrons.
So, are these retailers innovative expansionist? Should you worry? Yes, you should worry only if your are still doing things the same way you were 3, 4, or 5 years ago.  Here are three things customer want:
1.       Customers want to Discover
They like a brand with consumer relevance.  If your brand is not on the ‘information highway’ your customer will simply by-pass your brand.  The same hold true to the sidewalk, street corner, and airport. On-line retailers are garnering customer relevance. How are you expanding your brand?
2.       Customer want Convenience
The Hudson Riehle Senior VP Research & Knowledge Group of the National Restaurant Association said “88% of adults with smartphones/tables use them to look-up, restaurants, locations, and hours of operations.  Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ found that 92% of consumers would buy a branded food they liked item from a non-traditional outlet.
3.       Customers want it both ways.
Sampling a new food item in-store is a vastly different experience than receiving a sample in the form of a ‘free coupon’, a sample in the mail, consumers want to discover on their terms.  They want that invitation to be both customized and personalized.  Customer relevance today equals a branded seamless experience from Digital too Brick-N-Mortar and Portable or Brick-N-Mortar too Digital with food portability.
4.       Are you funding, your next competitor?
What consumer relevant digital advertising platform are you spending on?  Who analyzes the analytics first?  Does your advertising partner sell meals or meal solutions direct to consumer?
To create that seamless experience recently Plated, the online food delivery service, has started sending out a food truck to feed New Yorkers from the street. They also cleverly offer samples and coupons for online orders for new customers. Customers get to taste what’s next, literally, and feel more comfortable making that order from home next time.  Outside Eyes can help you look A Customer Ahead. What role does portability play in your integrated concumer messaging and marketing?
Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information.