Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Family Dinner is not Dead

In a new study Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™ found; “The Family Dinner is Not Dead however it is evolving from cook from scratch to meal assembly.”  Let’s set the table; sales of food for at-home consumption in the US are at $147.3 billion totaled over 50% more than eating and drinking place sales in the first two months of 2015 according to The Food Institute”  But not all food for dinner or meal components come from traditional retail, restaurant, or grocery outlet today. 

Although grocery sales will almost certainly continue to outpace eating out sales for the forseable future, people are eating away from home more. During the first two months of 2015, grocery sales accounted for 61.1% of all food sales while compared to 62.6% a year earlier – down 1.5%. Eating and drinking places’ share meanwhile, rose 1.5% to 38.9%. In short customers are continuing to migrate too Ready-2-Eat from cook from scratch when they can. Consumers first choice is not cooking from scratch any longer.

However a new Gallup study found that most U.S. Families with children under 18 still dine together at home. “The average 5.1 dinners that families share each week is down slightly from 5.4 in 1997, but unchanged from 2001” according to Gallup. 

The study did find “there has been a slight increase in the percentage eating together less than four times per week; this was 16% in 1997, but jumped to 22% by 2001 and has remained at that level since. With unemployment dropping the occasions of eating at restaurants will continue to climb according to Gallup. 
Gallup found “since 2001 married parents report eating dinner at home with their families more often than unmarried ones. Married parents report that their family eats 5.3 dinners at home weekly, on average, compared with 4.8 dinners weekly among those who are not married.”

The same study found “parents who work full time dine slightly less frequently with their families than those who work part time or who don't work (5.0 dinners vs. 5.3). Also, parents who are aged 35 and older enjoy fewer family dinners than do younger parents (5.0 dinners vs. 5.3, respectively).

Remember that 50% of U.S. consumers over the age of 18 are still single when you think about this data. Regular readers of this blog know that we have documented time and time again that cooking from scratch is something from a by-gone era, and meal assembly is home cooking today.  

The family dinner is not dead, it has certainly changed.  Is your restaurant, C-store, or grocery store selling Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meal component’s that can be mix & matched into a customized family meal?  You should be.  Think Customer Migration, think The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome

Are you 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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Are you a Food Industry Professional of Yesterday or Tomorrow?

Foodservice Solutions® team has been inundated with questions and request for proposal this spring. I appreciate every question and all of your RFP’s.  So, I was thinking, after another recorded this month of unique views on our blog and after a record number of Emails, phone calls and request for proposals.  We are going to do something different we have decided to answer some of the most common questions we get from our blog and LinkedIn contacts once a quarter or so.  I hope that this help. 

Today, we are addressing questions pertaining to the retail food industries evolving vernacular. While regular readers are accustom to our use of these terms clearly many of our new readers are not.  So we hope that this helps:
  • Brand Protectionism: When a brand elects not to move with the consumer and continues the menu, messaging, and melding of past consumer valued food attributes today.
  • Frictionless: Providing customers a smooth, speedy and interaction-free flow between ordering, paying and receiving a meal (Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat), often with the help of technology.
  • Grocerant: Expanding fresh prepared food sales in new non-traditional points of distribution with a strong emphasis on Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Meal Components.
  • Line busting: Shortening lines and wait times by allowing for transactions away from the counter, at the table, at a kiosk or on a smartphone think virtual retail (No store needed).
  • Mobile pickup lines: Think Chilies Pick-Up window. Some restaurants are sectioning off areas at the counter for customers who order and pay via app to run in, grab their food and be on their way, keeping human interaction to a minimum.
Please feel free to continue sending us your questions, comments and encouragement. Our expanding staff will get back to you.  We are experiencing record numbers of request for proposals. Our entire staff thanks you and our Grocerant Guru™ Thanks you!  Keep them coming, we do great work and clearly the word is out! Success Does Leave Clues!  specializes in outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities or a brand leveraging marketing integration strategy.  Foodservice Solutions of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche and has been since 1991 Contact:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

C-store Prepared Food has a Huge Up-side

With cigarette sales teetering and gasoline prices on the rise Convenience store operators need to focus more and more on instant gratification grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru™. Fresh prepared small meals for immediate consumption can drive both customer frequency and loyalty according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.

Today only 22 percent of recent convenience store quick purchases include prepared foods, according to the findings of a joint consumer research study commissioned by Tyson Convenience Foodservice and Anheuser-Busch. 

On the other hand the study found that “the P.M. snack daypart (after 2 p.m.) is especially open for more convenience foodservice business. The research showed 46 percent of convenience store visits happen after 2 p.m., and 50 percent of convenience store snack purchases happen between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.”

C-store operators must understand what drives consumer’s purchase of instant gratification grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food. According to the study, it’s a combination of both physical needs and emotional needs.
The physical needs relate to:
  • Taste;
  • Satisfy;
  • Ease of eating;
  • Affordable; and
  • Fresh.
The emotional needs relate to:
  • Habit;
  • Distraction;
  • Indulgence; and
  • Reward.
Convenience store foodservice has to do a better job of incorporating ease into everything the study found including the food, eating, packaging and portability. Cleary Foodservice Solutions® 5 P’s of food marketing can help you integrate the 5 P’s into your brand messaging, driving sales and success.  

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  View or page on follow us on

Monday, April 27, 2015

Chipotle is Customer Driven, Fresh Prepared, and Delivering Success

When customers speak, industry leading companies listen.  When you have a consumer focused interactive participatory brand like Chipotle that listens to consumers a big part of the ‘better for you’ halo around the brand is listening to consumers. 

Chipotle’s halo of ‘better for you’ uses a simple formula. A Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant stocks just 68 ingredients to prepare everything on its menu. Those simple 68 ‘better for you’ ingredients have driven Chipotle’s average unit volumes to $2.5 million, a $500,000 increase from three years ago.

This week Chipotle announced a new strategic alliance with  San Francisco-based startup Postmates. The New York Times notes that Chipotle will offer delivery in each of the 67 markets where Postmates is now operating.

Here is where the listening comes in Postmates was already delivering Chipotle items to its users, but now the companies are officially working together. Re/code reported that Postmates delivered $500,000 worth of Chipotle orders in Q1 of 2015 before the partnership was announced this week.
Chipotle already offers a way to order-ahead on its site and mobile app for an in-store pickup. The company also put out an Apple Watch app just to keep pace with its customers.

In our Omni-channel retail environment developing new grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-n-Eat points of distribution is important.  With Postmates Chipotle is expanding points of distribution while meeting customer expectations. 

As important as customers are Chipotle respect for and development of  its employees is worthy of note. Chipotle understands taking care of your employees is important, last year Chipotle promoted 10,500 employees who started as hourly crewmembers into management positions. Success does leave clues. 

Are you 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.