Friday, September 30, 2016

Grocery Store Grocerant Success Requires Meal Integration

The foundation for food sales growth today can be found within the grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food sector as it is driving top line sales and bottom line profits in every sector of foodservice retail today according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®.

Retailers today need to integrate a strategic path to Meals.  What does that mean?  No longer do most consumers think about stocking the pantry, the freezer, or the refrigerator food for a month, week, or tomorrow.   The mind-set of the 83.7% consumer today is what’s for dinner.  Consumers are focused on meals, meal periods, the next meal; it’s about eating fresh, saving time, and discovery according to our Grocerant Guru®.  

 In a recent study conducted by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) found “that millennials love food but want food done their way. Fresh and healthy foods are at the top of their shopping lists, while prepared and portable foods are also very popular.”

PLMA found “75% of shoppers buy deli items in the supermarket where they do their regular grocery shopping, 77% buy dairy items and 59% buy bakery items simultaneously”. They are buying fresh, focused on specific meals.

It is critical that grocery stores integrated fresh meals as a consumer touch point integrating meal components from the dairy, deli and bakery departments according to our own Grocerant Guru®. PLMA found the millennials when in the grocery store 33% “always or frequently” purchase heat-and-eat food from the supermarket, 29% pick up prepared or ready-to-eat food, and 27% buy grab-and-go prepared food items from a source such as a supermarket or convenience store”..

The consumer is dynamic not static. Evolving with the consumer is very important when the consumer focus in on meals and meal components the retailer with fresh prepared ‘better for you’ bundled meals and or meal components will garner incremental business.

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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

C-Store Race Trac Targets Restaurant Sector Tailgating Parties

With Football season in full swing both college and professional football, the majority of U.S. consumers are thinking about where to go or how to throw the best tailgating party. Tailgating was made for Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that is portable according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
According to a recent online survey conducted by Harris Poll “79 percent of Americans have attended a live sporting event, and 81 percent believe you should never show up to a tailgate party empty handed.” Like we said portable grocerant food is simply perfect for tailgating.
One C-store thinks that they can capitalize by offering food grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat food.  That company is RaceTrac. In the Harris Poll conducted for Race Trac found:
1.        78 percent of Americans prefer a variety of beverages at their tailgate;
2. 77 percent of Americans believe in purchasing tailgating supplies before the big game;
3. 77 percent think running out of something is the most inconvenient thing when tailgating; and
4. 74 percent consider grilling items are "must haves" for a perfect tailgating experience.
RaceTrac is serious about this and has “partnered with Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating, to share tips on how to be the star of the tailgate. Since 1996, Cahn has driven more than one million miles cross-country to football games and eaten his way through thousands of tailgate parties while advising other tailgaters at”, according Race Trac.
"Tailgating is as American as football and hot dogs and RaceTrac understands that," Cahn said. "In fact, I often stop at a local RaceTrac for any last-minute items for my parties. They make a lot of easy, ready-to-go snacks like hot dogs, buffalo chicken rollers and taquitos that are perfect for tailgates."
RaceTrac offers tailgating-appropriate products such as Nathan's Famous hot dogs; fresh, delivered-daily sandwiches, salads and wraps; and a wide variety of beers, including local, craft favorites stocked daily in the beer cave.

C-stores are serious about driving new business selling Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  Are you evolving your customer mix, food product mix, or your business model? If you would like to learn how to enter the Grocerant niche visit: for more or contact:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dairy Queen Focus is on Customers not Channel Competition

Since I was in Dallas, Texas over the weekend I thought that I would simply chill out and watch a football game or two on TV.  I know that Dallas is the home of TGI Friday’s restaurants appetizers were on my mind, you know game food.  Well I could have had everything I wanted for less and skipped Friday’s by going to a DQ Grill & Chill instead.  We could ask do copycat menu help or hurt the customer traffic numbers within the restaurant sector.

Dairy Queen has introduced a new line of “DQ Bakes! Snacks Menu” that’s what they call it I call it appetizers and game day food.  Clearly Dairy Queen is focusing on the 50% of US Consumers that the US Census Bureau identified over the age of 18 that are single. The new menu items are:
1.       Soft pretzel sticks with zesty queso: Three soft pretzel sticks, served hot from the oven, topped with salt, and served with warm zesty queso dipping sauce.
2.       Potato skins: Potato skins served hot from the oven filled with zesty queso cheese sauce, bacon bits, Cheddar cheese, and seasoned with a dash of salt & pepper.
3.       Buffalo chicken snack melt: Grilled chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, and melted Cheddar cheese inside a tortilla toasted to perfection.
4.       Chicken bacon BBQ snack melt: Grilled chicken, BBQ sauce, bacon, and melted cheddar cheese inside a tortilla toasted to perfection.
Barry Westrum, executive vice president of marketing for American Dairy Queen Corporation stated: We know millennials enjoy snacking throughout the day and relied on that insight to create a high-quality menu specifically made for snacking. Our snack menu continues to prove that the DQ brand truly listens to our Fans when creating new menu items.” Looks to the team at Foodservice Solutions® following the one time industry casual dining leader TGI Friday’s was at play.  Was there any innovation here?
One DQ fan seemed to agree with the team at Foodservice Solutions® according to DQ industry press reports: “The potato skins are delicious! They taste like something I’d order at a sit-down restaurant,” and “The queso has the perfect amount of spice; I can’t wait to have more at my Dairy Queen store.”
Lacking an innovative product the DQ Bakes! Institute, is again trying to make something old new again this time it is a “Artisan-style Philly”.  The new DQ Philly features warm, thinly sliced steak, Monterey Jack cheese, flame-roasted red and green peppers and onions, all served hot from the oven and served on an artisan-style basil cheese focaccia roll. So what do you think Innovative?

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant ScoreCard.  For brand, or product placement assistance our Grocerant Guru® has the skill-set you are looking for.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Convenience Stores Are Fastest Growing Fresh Food Retailers

The Grocerant niche with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food is booming and C-stores are leading the way.  C-stores in-store sales increased nearly 6% in 2015, convenience stores are now the fastest growing retail vertical according to Koupon data, which also found the vertical is now pulling in $600 billion annually. C-stores are picking up sales momentum as the $600 billion mark indicates more than 18% growth since 2010 when convenience stores brought in $190 billion in in-store sales
Recently NPD Group noted that Wawa and 7-Eleven are competing by appealing to millennials, who want the quality and fresh ingredients of fast-casual restaurants but are frugal and prefer not to wait in line at a C-store for fresh food.
The simple truth is Millennials love convenience, saving time, and money. That is good news for convenience stores seeking to enter or expand offerings within the grocerant niche offering Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  How much do Millennials love C-stores, 85% are in a convenience stores at least once every seven days. Don’t discount the fact that Baby-Boomers are migrating to C-stores as well.  Some 60% of Baby-Boomers are once-a-week spenders within the C-store sector.
What are people buying in these stores - consumer packaged goods. The Koupon data found the average shopper spends $6.52 per trip and checks out with under 3 items. Tobacco tops the list of items purchased (36%), followed by food service (21%) and packaged beverages (15%).

Wawa’s Lori Bruce stated that “the chain caters to millennials' preference for customization through kiosk ordering and made-to-order sandwiches, along with its selection of grab-and-go fruit and veggie snacks packaged with dips.”

Convenience stores also more than double other retail outlets in sheer numbers - there are just over 154,000 convenience stores in the US compared to 51,000 supermarkets/centers, 41,000 drugstores, and 27,000 dollar stores. Recently 7-Eleven set a goal to double it number of stores in the US that would mean adding 10,000 new units to this over charged sector.

The Koupon data also revealed that "With the average attention span lasting only8 seconds, consumers are becoming more distracted every day, making it increasingly difficult for marketers to capture their attention. As a retail format preferred for its ability to save time, c-stores have an opportunity to deliver an experience that customers are looking for. Today, leading c-stores are launching initiatives to capture consumer attention and drive store traffic,"
The Koupons research also breaks down what shoppers are buying:
• 76% of women and 68% of men buy fresh foods
• 71% of women and 62% of men look for 'healthy' snack options
• 62% of women and 50% of men expect items to not have expired

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

What’s Driving Foodservice Traffic Count's

With Grocery store prices down 6.7% and Convenience stores leveraging mix and match meal bundling to a price advantage the restaurant sector has taken a hit in customer traffic counts. The question is what is driving customers to migrate from one avenue of fresh food distribution to another?
Foodservice Solutions® team has identified several commonalities that the successful retailers are utilizing to drive top line sales and bottom line profits. What even more important is that this set of commonalities are driving traffic counts. 
1.  The Fact is Price Matters More
While food quality, food consistency may be the mainstay foundation for chain restaurants.  Non-traditional fresh food retailers the ilk of Costco, Ikea, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s have leveraged price to their advantage. They have elevated the ideation of private label products to brand status. 
2. Customizable Differentiation For Individualization
Burger King may have started it with the tag line “Have it Your Way”, Chipotle may have elevated its and now McDonald’s has added customization for hand crafted fresh prepared food. Everyone from Subway to Sheetz MTO customers like to customize their food.  .
3. Vending technology is Back
Oftentimes, technology is an add-on but for companies like 365 by Whole Foods digital automation is the foundation for the brand. From TEA Bots to Scales 365 by Whole Foods is focused on automation turring technology into freshness while saving labor.
Pizza Touch, an Italy-based company that offers pizza baked hot in two minutes has placed units in Central Florida according to our own Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson  who stated “vending might just become the new face of fast food” as we noted just last month about the Pizza ATM at Xavier University.
4. Everyone Delivers Fresh Food Fast
Grocery store delivery of Deli fresh food is now offering delivery and Publix has gone so far as to offer catering. Fast-food and fast-casual restaurants are getting aggressive with delivery selecting customer relevant options such as Amazon Prime Now, Uber and DoorDash. Once again this is important because they expand their brands presence allowing for incremental customization of the family meal via mix and match meal components.
5. Fresh is Hot and Hot is Fresh
Fresh fish is one of the hottest fresh food options and leading the way is Poke (Hawaiian raw fish) it’s is a full flavored enter and complemented with bold spice and spice blends that are regional favorites. 
Hot is fresh from seasoned fresh fries with red hot chili and cheese to cheese infused with ghost peppers, and cool summer salads Sriracha dressing. Fresh is in, Hot is still in and Fresh and Hot top the charts.
6. Less is More When it comes to Ingredients
Clean labels edify authentic brands that offer additive free and preservative-free foods, menu items and ingredients resonate with consumers. Consumers are not buying food for a pantry nor do they have any desire for food that they buy to last for a week, a month or the winter. 
When it comes to CPG food products less is more and the same holds true for consumers Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food. The fewer the ingredients in a menu item the more consumers will want it.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant ScoreCard.  For brand, or product placement assistance our Grocerant Guru® has the skill-set you are looking for.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Amazon Global Delivers Grocery Service

Amazon has never shied away from a challenge.  Last week Amazon expanded its grocery delivery service into India with the launch of its Pantry service in in Hyderabad, India where customers can shop for over 4,000 everyday essentials.
In a press release Amazon stated that "Using Amazon Pantry, customers can now shop for over 4,000 everyday essentials such as groceries and household products on the website and mobile, fill a virtual box of items and have them conveniently delivered at their doorsteps the following day,"
"Amazon Pantry makes it convenient for customers to stock-up for a basket of frequently purchased items while also increasing savings when compared to shopping at supermarkets," it added.
The newest international grocery retailer, Amazon brought its premium subscription service - Amazon Prime - to India this summer.  In India, Prime comes with unlimited one-day and two-day deliveries with no minimum order size, apart from early access to some deals on Amazon, as well as some Prime-members only deals.
Things are different in India  benefits available to Prime members in the US the ilk of Amazon Music  and Amazon Video - the shopping giant's video and music streaming services respectively - are not available in the country at this point. However Amazon will rollout incremental service over time and I expect both Video and Music to be included.
Country to country differentiation is a key to Amazon’s roadmap for success moving forward.  Amazon Pantry service was launched in the US for Prime customers only, and it's noteworthy that the company has launched the service in India for regular customers. There is a slight delivery charge for regular customers, but Amazon Prime customers currently have a promotional offer where they do not need to pay a delivery charge.

As with all new country launches there will be lessons learned.  However in the case of Amazon it’s noteworthy that grocery items are high on the list of products they want to deliver.  With a growing middle class, food, fresh food, food delivery including Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food will continue to drive success for retailer’s incremental customers.

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom line profits.  Are you Looking A Customer Ahead?  Visit   or Contact for more information.  Remember Success does leave clue and we just may have the right clue for you.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Kum & Go Evolving Fresh Food

Success does leave clues and Kum & Go understands the undercurrents of customer migration into grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  After six years of Foodservice Marketing and experimentation using a system similar to the templated Foodservice Solutions®® Build, Measure, Learn and Repeat validating results Krum & Go is launching it new prototype fresh store.

Greg Tomberg explained “While the chain has been offering food for more than 50 years, Kum & Go in 2010 began a six-store operational food pilot to gain that commitment from the chain to a foodservice culture. As the chain expanded and evolved its food program over the following years, the company culture has had to change as well”
Tomberg continues “Retail is based on replenishment, and the food side is all centered on production. If we didn’t have parallel structures in place it wouldn’t work, so we had to create a blended culture”  With a marketing perspective and customer focus  Kum & Go also started focusing on creating a conversation with customers about its food products. Dollar slice pizza on Wednesdays became a profitable way to encourage trial of its pizza product. Kum & Go also began engaging its district supervisors in the food process so they were comfortable working with the food and could lead by example.

By 2015, the chain stepped up its quality assurance process, having third-party checks for critical checkpoints to ensure a safe product and that correct procedures and protocols are being followed. The chain has also added a fresh item management forecasting tool to ensure more frequent smaller batches to better overcome hurdles with shelf life.

Then in 2016, Kum & Go’s Marketplace store is its newest concept and the chain aims to have 16 by the end of the year. In this prototype, the kitchen is front and center with a grab-and-go case in front featuring fresh sandwiches, cut fruit and more.

Developing marketplace model took nearly two years, and the result is an entirely new concept. The centerpiece of the store is an expanded and open food preparation area that customers can see from the moment they enter. Other location features include:

  • Elevated food experience with Kum & Go’s “Go Fresh Market”
  • Open kitchen layout, clear aisles and easy-to-navigate zones
  • Seating inside with patio seating outside (weather permitting)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and charging stations for customers
  • Expansive beer cave and growler station with fresh beer
  • Designed for LEED-certified status, using energy efficient and sustainable design

Tomberg stated that his biggest takeaway was “at the end of the day, your chain has to be united behind food because it’s your brand customers are coming in to shop.” Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is the key to driving top line sales and bottom line profits in food retail today.

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a grocerant program assessment, grocerant ScoreCard.  For brand, or product placement assistance our Grocerant Guru® has the skill-set you are looking for.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Subway Coloring the Fall Fresh

Subway founded on the ideation that fresh food fast would be ‘better for you’ is kicking it up a notch this fall. Subway will be rolling out a Food Truck in New York City yesterday with “The +color initiative which is designed to challenge Americans to add one more cup of color, which is two servings of vegetables, to their diet every day”. Clearly Subway is as customer relevant today as it was when it was founded according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015—2020, the average intake of fruits and vegetables for adults under 50 is about half of the recommended intake ranges. The American Heart Association and Subway restaurants are teaming up to bring a +color food truck to New York City on September 22, to show New Yorkers how adding one extra cup makes a difference. Subway restaurants makes it easy to add more vegetables (and more color) with two servings per 6-inch sub.
The truck will serve up free fruit and vegetable items, including veggie kebabs, colorful veggie salads, avocado multigrain flatbreads, seasonal fruit skewers and fruit and avocado popsicles, to show how easy it is to add color. Dylan Dreyer of NBC News’ “TODAY” will be on hand to dish out these colorful treats.
Today you can continue the conversation, as, +color is launching a nationwide digital event on the American Heart Association's YouTube Channel. Consumers across the country are encouraged to participate by watching and sharing the +color launch video using #addcolor that will connect them with additional content and recipes.

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’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. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pizza Vending Machine Fresh Fast Food

Italian pizza has arrived in Florida by way of a state-of-art pizza vending machine.  Two Mobil-branded convenience stores one in Orlando and the other in Lakeland, Fla., have rolled out pizza vending machines from Pizza Touch, an Italy-based company that offers pizza baked hot in two minutes according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson vending might just become the new face of fast food as we noted just last month about the Pizza ATM at Xavier University.

The Pizza Touch pizzas are priced at $6.  The fast food vending machine takes cash, cards or coins some have dubbed it a ‘Pizza ATM’. Customers use a touchscreen to select and pay for any one of three pizza varieties—Margherita, Pepperoni and 4 Cheese, with mozzarella, gorgonzola, Edam and Emmental cheeses.
While these are the first two installed Pizza Touch operates nearby service centers for its ATM-style modules, where logistics are in place to refill machines with pizza. Each Pizza Touch machine also records ordering information in real time. It’s our best guess you will be seeing this located at hotels, resorts, colleges, and universities in the local area soon as well. 
Given the current uproar and pressure to raise the minimum wage in the US somewhere between $ 10 and $15 dollars an hour it would look as if it’s vending a natural progression in the fresh fast food space according to our Grocerant Guru®.  Younger consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 seek out vending machines for snacks with Forty-one percent of younger consumers choose vending machines for midmorning snacks; 58% say the same for midday snacks according to Technomic.
A recent report revealed that “49% of consumers ages 18–34 purchase pizza as a snack, and 68% of consumers overall report choosing pizza as an afternoon snack”.  Pizza Touch is no joke, no start-up in fact
Pizza Touch is a division of Grupo Rocket, an Italian holding company that has been operating foodservice and technology businesses for 15 years in global markets and in over 400 stores in overseas locations.
Grupo Rocket announced the arrival of Pizza Touch to U.S. markets in April 2016; convenience-store installations, including the initial rollouts in the Florida Mobil units, are tests for the company. If successful, Grupo Rocket will prep for wider expansion of Pizza Touch in convenience stores and gas stations nationwide. Foodservice Solutions® team has is confident this vending platform will find success.  does grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email: