Sunday, March 13, 2016

Complacent Chain Restaurants Face Growth Hackers

When an industry gets takes its eye off the ball they capitulate customers to others.  One could argue with declining year over year customer counts that the restaurant industry may have become complacent.  Restaurateurs have become very good at brand protectionism but very bad at brand evolution. 
Customer Discontinuity
Foodservice industry transitions periods have a history of not being kind to sector leaders.  In fact they have at times been devastating on sector leaders more often than not.  Back in the day when Howard Johnson’s Ice Cream Shoppes, Walgreens Soda Fountains dotted the highways of America along with Burger Chef .  All three filled an unmet need for choice of flavors, speed of service, and convenience at the time.
They became the restaurant chain leaders until technology advanced. The consumer is dynamic not static and when the consumer moves your branded foodservice operations must as well according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.
Technology is Replacing the Footprint
Then the U.S. began its race to space and technology advances drove companies the ilk of McDonalds to sell food faster, cheaper with a level of consistency, quality, and speed service consumers have never experienced.  One after the other companies copied McDonald’s success.  Today, NPD reports that 79 percent of all restaurant meals sold within the restaurant sector are sold at Quick Service Restaurants. 
Evolving restaurant customer migration is firmly underway, and CEO’s and CMO’s of legacy chain restaurants capitulating market share and customer counts year after year are experiencing turmoil.
This his time unlike before technology has become the seductress of both the industry, Baby Boomers, and Millennial consumers.  Online food ordering, advance ordering, delivery, and mobile ordering used by companies the ilk of Amazon Prime, UberEats, and GrubHub are eliminating the need for store fronts in many cases. Advances in technology are once again changing the face, the place, and pace of retail foodservice. 
Once industry stalwart leaders are capitulating market share, customer counts or store counts include the ilk of Red Lobster, Quiznos, Sbarro, Tony Roma’s, Ground Round, Country Kitchen, and TCBY.  This list could go on and on.  Do you need outside eyes for inside profits? Will the ‘better’ burger segment be next?
Do No Harm is the Manta of Lemmings
Are you on the wrong path? You might if you’re CEO’s, COO’s, and CMO’s are like lemmings headed to a cliff.  Are they flocking to conferences to hear the latest news delivered by the same experts that delivered it for the past 25 years or their colleagues? While at those conferences are you leaders drinking the elixir of complacency, looking around and saying “I’ll have the same”?   That just might be the case if your sales are not up 29+% the past 5 years.
One simple truth about the industry that is not often discussed in the main stream media is that restaurant chains are either growing or dying a slow death.  Simply put; are you growing?
It’s Not “The New Normal” unless that’s what you expect or accept.  When market research firms and industry leaders accept eight years of market share capitulation, declining customer counts, without address footprint malaise, menu management, and the undercurrents of consumer evolution, its time you’re your firm to look elsewhere.  

Growth Hackers Find a Way
Today, entrepreneurs are asking how can we enter the restaurant business, the meal business, the fresh food component industry?  Well here are a just a few companies doing just that. First, consider Plated, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh each is now selling 1 Million meals a month in less than four years in business, with not local outlets. How many meals are you selling? How many meals did you sell last quarter? Have you check out, or all of these companies are less than three years old, grocery store pantry busters and restaurant meal replacements.
It’s not just star-ups that are finding success. There are chains and fresh food retailers that are gaining 8% 10%, 14%, and 17% a year in sales and customer counts. They are doing it by not doing what they have always done.  They are migrating with consumers. Companies like Wawa, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Good Times Burgers and Frozen Custard, Casey’s General Stores.
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. 

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