trade media called both, Maple and Sprig virtual restaurants or ghost restaurants. They were restaurant delivery service
that were simply brand-less ideations concocted to drive retail restaurant meal
delivery sales for less according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®
Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
restaurant brand is a unique flavor design, a signature product, a collection
of identifiable menu items, a building and motif that codifies the menu, or a
combination of these, employed in creating a image that identifies a product
and differentiates it from its competitors.
Over time that collection of consumer associations and perceptions
creates a level of credibility, quality, consumer acceptance that drive
adoption; elevating the name, menu, products, and building into a valued band
according to Johnson.
the case of both Maple and Sprig building the brand never occurred.
Yes, they pontificated on their ideation, industry meal solution, and business
benefits but for forgot to build a brand that consumers could rally around.
CEO Gagan Biyani stated via Email that Sprig “ceased operations today because
the model doesn’t work…The demand for Sprig’s convenient, high-quality food was
always incredibly high, but the complexity of owning meal production through
delivery at scale was a challenge”.
Maple on the other hand simply
never understood restaurant branding or how to build a grocerant niche
Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared brand according to our own Grocerant
Guru®. Here look how Maple described
their own closing:
“We built a brand that struck a
chord with our customers and developed hundreds of menu items, allowing us to
serve millions of meals to supportive and loyal customers such as yourself. We
built some truly exceptional software, allowing us not only to collect, bundle
and route orders with unprecedented throughput, but to drive efficiency at
every step of our process—from ingredient sourcing, all the way through
delivery completion (resulting in over a million miles logged by our delivery
team members). Serving thousands of meals daily across Manhattan is no small
operational feat, and our team orchestrated this dance with a grace that is
rare in the face of such unrelenting expectations.”
Where to start simply put hundreds
of meals is not an identity. Maple like Sprig never took the time to understand
retail foodservice branding. I give them
both credit for blocking, tackling, and paving the way for others that will
surly follow as the business ideation was great, the business positioning was
great, the rollout lacked foodservice strategy.
The rollout of both Sprig and Maple
was filled with textbook business tactics and technology that were singularly
excellent and that will over time create a platform of success that other will
build on. However without a brand identity there can be no successful strategy
according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.
Foodservice Solutions® specializes in
outsourced business development. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify
additional food retail segment opportunities or a new menu product segment and
brand and menu integration strategy. Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche
visit Facebook.com/Steven Johnson, Linkedin.com/in/grocerant/ or twitter.com/grocerant
Consumers continue to migrate to complexity
free foodservice increasingly it is technology that is driving that
migration from traditional avenues of fresh to distribution to new avenues of
food distribution and chief among them is Delivery and Pick-Up services according
to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
Solutions® team asked consumers during Grocerant ScoreCard visits What’s
for Dinner and
found at 11:00 AM 82.6% of respondents don’t know What’s for dinner
and at 4:00 PM 68.7% still don’t know What’s for dinner. When you don’t know What’s
for Dinner consumers today are turning to technology more and more and
the drive thru less and less accruing to Johnson. Let’s look at facts:
1. Americans’ interest in
driving has declined over the years. In 1983, 87% of 18-year-olds had driver’s
licenses; more than 30 years later, that percentage has dropped to 69% (Nielsen)
2. U.S. retail trips are down
more than 1 million since 2012 15.8 billion last year, vs. 17.6 billion in 2012
3. Since 2008, chain restaurants
have experienced -14.8 percent same-store traffic growth (Black Box Intelligence)
4. 82 percent of
meals are now consumed at home (NPD Group)
5. 75 percent of
respondents to an NPD group survey said they are eating out less, with many
citing prices as a reason.
6. Meal Kit services
have become Training Wheels for Millennials companies the ilk of Hello
Fresh, Blue Apron, Plated (Foodservice Solutions) and are expected to increase tenfold in the next five
8. In 2019, Americans
are expected to spend over $12.5 billion on delivery food
9. Online ordering is
expected by more than double to 58 percent over the next three years
Consumers today have an increased
desire to save time,
save money, and reduce the complexities of daily life
according to our own Grocerant Guru®. The Grocerant niche filled with
Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is garnering the attention of
consumers according the team at Foodservice Solutions®.
Fresh prepared food is the fastest
growing sector of every sector of foodservice including at Dollar Stores,
C-stores, Grocery Stores, and Restaurant Pick-Up, Drive-Thru, and
Delivery. Is your retail operations
evolving, growing year or very customer counts, driving top line sales, and
bottom line profits?
momentum is unrestrained in the Battler for Share of Stomach. Chain
Restaurants have been particularly hit hard with falling customer counts
according to the latest MillerPluse report and reported
at NRN.com. Consumers are looking for
solutions and looking at the last minute for those solutions.
In fact our own Grocerant Guru® Steven
Johnson asked consumers during Grocerant ScoreCard visits
What’s for Dinner and he found at 11:00 AM 82.6% of respondents don’t
know What’s for dinner and at 4:00 PM 68.7% still don’t know What’s for dinner.
need to continue to find ways to up their game in fresh prepared pick-up,
delivery, and takeout in order to drive both trip frequency and incremental
customer migration. This means finding ways to draw shoppers Online, Mobile, when
the consumer is considering What’s for Lunch or What’s for Dinner.
team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice
Solutions® has conducted over 7,120 Grocerant ScoreCards and has tracked
customer migration and compiled so the success clues needed to win in the race
for a larger share of stomach for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Here they are:
1. The seasonal menu
ideations draw the highest shopper interest.
2. Speed of service
making dinner is all about time and reducing the time to cook.
3. Offer a complete
meal bundled appetizers, salads, entrée, and desert.
4. The empower choice
offering multiple entrees as one size does not fit all.
5. Freshly prepared Ready-2-Eat are first on the list of wants.
6. Freshly prepared Heat-and-Eat solutions are second list of
Here is where Foodservice
Solutions® team has seen a real advantage for chain restaurants in the
packaging of both the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared options with
88% of respondents preferring restaurant meals over Grocery (service Deli) or Convenience
store meals for Takeout. Fresh prepared
is offered many ways, and the study tested consumer interest for each solution
Coming in second were
meal kits from companies the ilk of Blue
Apron, Plated, or HelloFresh,
again consumers cited packaging and menu options as key drivers. The one
weakness noted with meal kits was the fact that they did not offer desert.
store fresh prepared food sales are up 14.7 % last year and grocery service
deli sales are increasing at near 7%.
Our Grocerant ScoreCards indicate that increasingly consumers are rating
both grocery store Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat as well as Convenience store
meals as ‘restaurant’ quality. As their packaging, meal bundling, and seasonal menu offerings improve so will their
sales. The a continued conundrum for the
Success does leave clues www.FoodserviceSolutions.us understand that conundrum and how to correct
declining customer counts. We can help
you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment
opportunities. Has your company had a
Grocerant ScoreCard completed, Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant
niche product Ideation? Want one? Call 253-759-7869 Email: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us
Regular readers this
blog know that the ‘halo’ of ‘better-for-you’ continues to drive foodservice
customer adoption. The team at Tacoma,
WA based Foodservice Solutions®
has documented companies the ilk of Everytable,
Green Zebra Grocery and others
as they expand the grocerant niche filled with ‘better-for-you’ fresh prepared
food. Today you can add Maple
Leaf Market to that list.
Market is one of the ‘Next-generation’
of chain retailers that are targeting grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-n-Eat
fresh prepared food that healthier, fresher, faster than most existing
retailers. Central New York-based Oneida
Nation plans to introduce Maple Leaf Market, its it is a
convenience store brand that focuses on fresh, made-to-order food. Maple Leaf will emphasize healthier grab-and-go meal and
snack offerings made with fresh ingredients and freshly brewed gourmet coffee.
Currently the plans call
for five Maple Leaf Market locations within the next two to three years with
construction on the first store, is set to begin this month (May 2017) with a
grand opening planned for the fall.
Oneida Nation representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO stated "We are constantly evolving our
businesses as the needs and lifestyles of our guests change,"…"Combining
a convenient one-stop-shop experience with fresh made-to-order food, Maple Leaf
Market will fulfill the needs for our always-on-the-go guests moving
Leveraging success Maple
Leaf Market's menu of fresh sandwiches, soups, salads, pastas and more will be
developed by the culinary team from the Nation's Turning Stone Resort Casino.
Snacks will include fresh-cut fruits and vegetables with freshly brewed gourmet
coffee. Yet there is more Maple Leaf Market will offer grocery and
essential items, competitively priced gasoline, and a variety of imported and
Is your retail brand Looking
A Customer Ahead? Invite Foodservice
Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or
for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant
Guru®. Since 1991 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us of Tacoma, WA has been the
global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869
retailers understand the universal undercurrents driving the fast evolving food
customer migration. Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®,
Steven Johnson identified, quantified, and qualified the 10 ten undercurrents
and here are the top three:
1. Desire for expanded
exposure to flavor via new international flavor profiles and a lack of a
cooking skill-set to prepare those meals.
2. Consumers are
increasingly strapped for time and have opted not t eat inside restaurants as
much as they once did.
3. Today casual-dining
chains have evolved to the point that takeout is the only traffic in that
business that’s growing.
On the flip side
grocery store fresh prepared food from the service deli and deli sections has
enjoyed great growth. For many consumers
grocery stores delis have becoming What’s For Dinner food destination of
choice. The ability to find complete Ready-2-Eat and
or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals and meal components has created a platform
that consumers are finding increasing inviting.
Grocery Stores have
the upper hand here according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® and
they have the experience, desire, and product mix to leverage for the
all-important mix and match meal bundling that consumers have come to rely
upon to serve the ‘perfect family meal.
In fact in the Food
Marketing Institute’s “Power of
Fresh Prepared/Deli 2017” report found that ”Freshly prepared heat-and-eat solutions” top list of consumer solution types with “Prepackaged
but freshly cooked items that can be reheated easily draw the greatest interest
at 38 percent”. That is the restaurant
fast casual conundrum.
about a hot concept that is expanding with customer relevance let’s talk Doc
Popcorn, the world’s largest popcorn franchise retailer. Doc Popcorn opened its first
location in a Major League Baseball stadium, the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park.
Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®
stated “high foot traffic and a small footprint are a perfect balance to drive
top line sales and bottom line profits.”
Downs and Rudy Cook Doc Popcorn franchisees via of Innovative Concessions
Enterprises, LLC, opened the new location just inside the main entrance from
The Battery Atlanta. Cook started the company in 1989 as a frozen lemonade
and Downs have expanded their concessions business to 3,200 accounts, 400—500
special event sales like PGA Tour Events and NASCAR Series races, distribution
and retail. Downs joined the business in 1998 and helped lead the first
franchised distribution arm for Dippin’ Dots, innovator and
market leader of flash-frozen ice cream.
are talking success here with hand held food for immediate consumption
both Cook and Downs understand the growth in the niche and how to garner a
larger share of stomach focusing on customer migration trends, and
food consumption trends.
Fast food the pair owns three Dippin’ Dots mall locations, one Doc Popcorn mall
location, and six Dippin’ Dots kiosks within SunTrust Park. They previously
owned Dippin’ Dots locations in the former Braves stadium.
stated “SunTrust Park’s foodservice
management was excited to introduce Doc Popcorn and see what the product could
do for the ballpark’s popcorn sales. We’re thrilled to bring this gourmet
popcorn to fans at the stadium, and we can’t think of a better way to spread
smiles than with the delicious aroma of Doc Popcorn’s fresh popped flavors
popping as guests walk in,” … “We offer a more unique popcorn experience than
the typical concession stand popcorn, so we knew we had to get it into the Park
and let guests decide for themselves. Given the favorable response, we envision
adding more locations in SunTrust Park in the near future.”
Popcorn is a better-for-you snack option in the minds-eye of the consumer. The
halo of ‘better-for-you’ Ready-2-Eat fresh prepared food can be found nearly
anywhere in the US. Where are you
selling your fresh food?
Success does leave clues www.FoodserviceSolutions.us is the global leader in 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, Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product
Ideation? Want one? Call 253-759-7869 Email: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us
Consumer migration from
legacy CPG products, legacy grocery stores, filling the pantry has hit an ebb
and the preference for Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat
and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food is now leading according to Tacoma,
WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®,
The undercurrent foodservice battle brewing is one for Share-of-Stomach
as the lines between Restaurants, Convenience stores, Grocery stores, meal component
channels grow ever thinner and the battle for top-of-mind intensifies.
Meal Delivery, Restaurant Advance ordering Pick-Up stations, Food-trucks, and Kiosk
at farmer’s markets are all full of customer relevance, authenticity expanding consumers’ options for buying food away-from-home.
(2016) foodservice Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food generated more than
half of food industry sales, exceeding grocery by 1.2%, according Acosta. The NRA’s forecast for U.S. foodservice is outpacing inflation with more
than 5% expected gains as consumers face lower food and fuel costs.
of ‘better-for-you’ encompassing fresh prepared meals and meal saving consumer
time empowering choice in mix and match components is another leading factor
driving customer adoption according to Johnson as outlined at our Grocerant Meal Mash-Up last week during the NRA show.
report from Mintel shows “79% of sandwich-buying consumers are
willing to pay more for premium sandwiches. And seven in 10 say they want
high-quality sandwiches made with all-natural ingredients.” Clearly the ‘halo’
includes hand held food for immediate consumption.
‘halo’ extends to “Hot food offerings are an integral part of convenience store
foodservice with nearly nine in 10 consumers (88%), surveyed in 2016 by
Technomic, stating they buy hot food items at c-stores, and purchasing is up,
with 44% claiming to buy hot foods more often than last year.”
you wondering if Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food is still
booming take a look at this VideoMining study that “demonstrated
food-to-go boosts the average transaction in convenience stores by more than
14%. Sales increase by more than 19% for evening/late night baskets.”
legacy grocery stores lack authenticity within their offerings in the grocerant
space. Many legacy grocery stores excelled at being all things for
everyone back in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s however that was a strategy
that worked yesterday is not working today and will not work tomorrow.
the problem with the grocery sector they lack a cohesive grocerant
strategy. What they have done is ignore or deny the core values of the
grocerant niche and simply thrown a plethora of tactics into an existing
footprint and new locations as if grocerant niche products were a new CPG
product. We all know how many CPG products don’t work out.
most of tactics have some merits but when bundled together they do not create
an avenue for customer migration but rather they create a highway
without a reason to stop. Consumers are not blurring
the line between Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food so
please retailers quite trying to make grocerant offering a CPG product. That
CPG mind-set has been an Achilles heel for many trying to regain customer
adoption. If you do you risk continued decline in market share.
Success does leave
clues and Subway the world’s largest restaurant chain is expanding the value of
their brand messaging this summer with music, food, fun, and consumer
interactivity and Foodservice
Solutions® Grocerant Guru® believes that is a very good way to expand the
‘halo of better-for-you’ beyond the four walls.
This summer Subway, will be serving free mini sandwiches,
among other goodies and experiences, at five music festivals. From May to August, Subway will take an
interactive lounge known as “The Green Room, baked by Subway” on a
roadshow to festivals, starting with this past weekend’s Hangout Music
Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The Green Room baked
by Subway, is a restaurant, a performance space, and a lounge, “it
will bring a “backstage” experience to the front of the house for all
festival goers. Featuring live acoustic and DJ sets, meet-n-greets with artists
and semi-famous internet people, a live-stream of mainstage performances,
virtual games, prizes, sweet amenities like cookie-flavored lip balm (no joke),
and free mini sandwiches, festival-goers can chill out and recharge however
Room is about much more than FREE MINI SANDWICHES (and high speed Wi-Fi,
air conditioning, exclusive performances, phone charging stations, and personal
refreshment stations) but don’t get me wrong the Free mini sandwiches will be
big hit. It’s about th, expanding, evolving, and redefining, Subway as a brand
Karlin Linhardt, SVP
of Marketing for North America at Subway stated “The Green Room provides
an experience festival-goers can’t get anywhere else. It’s also a chance for
people to connect with Subway in a fresh way, and reconsider how they see our
brand.” “Subway is a part of people’s lives everyday, and we want to expand
into new territory to exceed the expectations of younger customers,”
There will also be a
sauce bar and fresh-baked cookies “offered sporadically,” while thirsty folks
can chug new vitaminwater that will be served at select festivals. If success
does leave clues this is the right step at the right time for a brand consumers
Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh
prepared food continues to drive
consumer adoption, customer migration, retail foodservice disruption all
while expanding fresh food to millions of urban dwellers and suburban soccer
mom’s according to the team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Uwajimaya’s a staple for foodies in
Seattle has opened a new concept that is even more foodie friendly called Kai
Market. Kia Market has about 5,500 sq. ft. is filled with options that are
both Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat all can be eaten in the store or simply as
grab-and-go meal and or meal components.
aims to answer the question What’s For Dinner with fresh food
fast. Kai has more foodservice options
with an emphasis on fresh seafood, along with a limited selection of grocery
items which follows the consumer trend of empowering fresh food discovery and
backing away from legacy CPG products according to our won Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
Uwajimaya’s CEO Denise Moriguchi stated that targeting urban
office workers is their goal. Moriguchi noted “There are just so many office
workers—it’s super-dense,.. I would say there’s not enough lunch and dinner
options right now; there’s definitely a number in the area, but just for the
number of workers, people want more choices and more options for primarily
lunch, but a little bit for dinner as well.”
Looking a little like Whole
Foods Kai Market is somewhere around 70 percent grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat or
Heat-N-Eat foodservice and 30 percent grocery according to Moriguchi. This new store
focuses heavily on grab-and-go, it also offers a range of Asian snacks popular
at the more traditional Uwajimaya grocery stores, including Japanese crackers,
cookies and candy, as well as beverages ranging from tea, coffee and soda to
beer, wine and sake.
Moriguchi continued “The
amount of grocery that we have is basically enough to complement your
seafood,”. “We have a small selection of produce, enough to make a side noodle
dish or something like that also.” The company anticipates a rise in
residential population, so it’s possible that the product assortment could
shift over time to target more than the grab-and-go lunch and dinner crowd. But
Moriguchi believes that Kai Market will provide shoppers looking for more Asian
grocery options with a taste of what can be found at the full Uwajimaya stores.
footprint store filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food with
authentic Asian flavors will drive incremental top line sales while garnering
customers from other avenues of fresh food distribution including legacy Grocery
stores, C-stores, and Fast Casual and Fast Food Restaurants according to our
international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact:
Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us the 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. Visit:
www.FoodserviceSolutions.us for more