Monday, July 31, 2017

A KISS for Dunkin’ Donuts

Regular readers of this blog have heard it time and time again KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson has found another company that is getting back to basics.  That company is Dunkin’ Donuts.

Last week Dunkin’ announced that it will simplify menus across system restaurants. Dunkin’ was faced with stagnant same-store sales and traffic.  So Dunkin’ Donuts is turning to a multi-year plan to differentiate itself through convenience and simplification.

When they posted U.S. same-store sales increase of 0.8 percent for the second quarter of this year, driven by an average ticket increase offset by a decline in traffic they knew it was time to do something.  The bright spot for Dunkin’ was breakfast sandwich sales which increased due to Dunkin’s wake-up wraps and core sandwiches with egg and cheese offerings.
On the beverage side sales were driven by the iced coffee and ice tea categories, as the brand has experienced an increase in cold brew sales and launched its fruited ice tea and frozen coffee. What does simplification mean?  Customers can expect less new menu items and a focus on convenience and broad accessibility.
Dunkin’ will simplify menus across system restaurants, removing items such as afternoon sandwich selections and bakery items like danish and cookies, in an effort to reduce operational complexities at locations
David Hoffman, president of Dunkin’ Donuts U.S. and Canada, said during the conference call that the brand is beginning a multi-year plan to “transform Dunkin’ into a beverage-led, on-the-go brand.” Hoffman said the brand believes this simplification can reduce labor turnover and allow operators and employees to focus on the basics of customer service. The streamlined menu will roll out to restaurants in two waves beginning in August, with a goal to reach 1,000 locations through October.
Hoffman continued “Simplification will continue to be a cultural mindset for our system,”  It was clear to the team at Dunkin’ the brand need to focus on customers offering “unparalleled convenience,” through initiatives like curbside delivery and mobile ordering, third-party delivery, and an increase in drive-thru’s.

Success does leave clues  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:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Restaurant Customers Migrating too Convenience Stores

Higher food and labor cost continue to drive up the cost of a restaurant meal in fact t U.S. restaurant menu prices in June were up 2.3% on a year-to-date basis, according to new Bureau of Labor Statistics data. If success does leave clues and it does according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.  One clear clue is that when and industry capitulates customers over time its leadership diminishes as well.
In a new study by GasBuddy and Cuebiq, that examined foot traffic of GasBuddy users to convenience stores and gas stations across the United States.  Leveraging Cuebiq's proprietary intelligence platform and data collection methodology to analyze anonymous geo-behavioral patterns, the study provided insights into GasBuddy users' offline behavior, such as frequency of station visits, fueling patterns, how long they spend at a location and brand loyalty. Key study highlights include:
1.       Individual visit frequency increased during Q2. The number of GasBuddies visiting gas stations and c-stores once a week or more climbed from 48 percent to nearly 53 percent. According to a recent GasBuddy survey, 74 percent of respondents say they stop at stations and stores for something other than fuel.
2.       Dwell time decreased. The number of customers spending more than two or three minutes at any location — the time it takes to fill a tank of gas — decreased from 72 percent to 68 percent.
3.       June was a busy month for gas stations. The last week of the month captured the most gas station visits during Q2 as GasBuddy users geared up for the July 4 holiday. The weeks of June 4 and June 11 ranked second and third, respectively. Memorial Day weekend came in ninth during the quarter.
4.       Good coffee drives foot traffic. On average, gas stations received 16.67 percent of their daily traffic between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. during Q2. Locations with excellent coffee ratings in the GasBuddy app receive 18 percent of their daily traffic during these hours, which is relatively 12.5 percent more than stations with below average coffee ratings.
The study was conducted during the second quarter of 2017 and analyzed more than 23 million consumer visits. Mix and Match meal component bundling are key drives of grocerant niche success and C-stores have a price and product mix advantage currently or the restaurant sector garnering customer migration.

Success does leave clues  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:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Xpress Convenience Store Sets Sights on Success

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson believes that when it comes to fresh food retail success a smaller footprint is better in the minds-eye of the consumer.  According to the team Johnson leads “fresh, faster, food is what customers are looking for and that requires a small footprint.”
This holds true around the globe and German retailer Edeka Südbayern is launching a new convenience store format, called Edeka Xpress. Edeka Südbayern will open around 50 stores, which will all be under 600 square metres in size, will be converted to the new format by the end of September from the smaller Tengelmann sites that Edeka is taking over.
Each of the the Edeka Xpress stores will feature a smaller product range than standard Edeka supermarkets, targeting the daily needs of customers in urban areas. The new format will feature fresh produce, convenience foods, and Edeka's own brand ranges.
Edeka Xpress will initially be introduced in cities including Munich, Starnberg, Freising, Augsburg, and Bad Tölz. In addition to the conversion of the Tengelmann outlets, five new Edeka Xpress store locations will be opened over the next two years

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact:  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: for more information

Friday, July 28, 2017

Foodservice Partnerships Strengthen Brand Value

Regular readers of this blog know that success does leave clues and according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson customers are dynamic not static brands must continue to evolve to maintain customer relevance.
This year two iconic North Carolina-born brands are celebrating milestone birthdays this year: Cheerwine is turning 100, and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is turning 80. To mark the sweet occasion, the two brands are bringing back the soft drink that caused a frenzy with its debut last year: Cheerwine Kreme and in case you don’t know Cheerwine Kreme tastes like Cheerwine with a hint of Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed flavor.
From now through September, Cheerwine Kreme is available in 2-Liter and 20 ounce bottles in major grocery chains and select convenience stores in North Carolina and South Carolina, and online at
Joy Ritchie Harper, Cheerwine’s head of marketing stated  “We’re grateful to the generations of Carolinians who’ve made it possible for Cheerwine to spend the last century, and Krispy Kreme to spend the last 80 years, delighting their taste buds and being part of their special moments… “Cheerwine Kreme is a celebration of uniquely Carolina tastes and our deep roots in the region. We had such an amazing response last year in the Carolinas that we had to bring it back for a limited time, especially during such a milestone year for both of us.”
Cheerwine Kreme isn’t the first time Cheerwine and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have collaborated to make a one-of-a-kind treat.  Back in 2010, the two joined forces to bring fans the Cheerwine-filled Krispy Kreme doughnut, which sold out in many shops during its limited availability.
Not all brands last 100 years or 80 years but one thing that is for sure if you want your brand to survive, thrive, and stay relevant your brand must be dynamic not static.  Partnerships are a great way for brands to extend value while edifying the relationship with consumers.
Success does leave clues  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:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Menu’s, Meals, and Small Plates

When is a small plate a snack rather than a meal?  When is a snack a meal? Is it defined by day-part, portion size, or lifestyle?  The team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® does not think it is that easy.  Just over 45% of the people living in the United Sates that are over the age of 18 are single according to the US Census bureau
Today most snack foods are eaten between meals, snack foods eaten at main meals now represent 24 percent of all snack food eating’s, which is up from 21 percent five years ago, according to NPD’s continual tracking of U.S. consumer snacking attitudes and behaviors.
The NPD report found “As Gen Zs and millennials age and move through life stages, their interest in consuming snack food at main meals is expected to ontinue. Annual eating’s per capita of snack food at main meals is forecasted to grow by 12 percent by 2024, according to NPD’s Generation Study: The Evolution of Eating.

Grocerant niche fresh is important to the snacking sector as consumers are shifting toward Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh foods and foods with a healthy halo, which is one reason why fresh fruit and refrigerated yogurt are among the top snack foods included as meals themselves by many.
Now here is some eye opening information to ponder  from NPD “There are 12 billion snack visits made to foodservice outlets, including convenience stores. When snacking replaces an away-from-home meal, the meal is most often lunch. Forty-eight percent of foodservice snack visits occur during the lunch timeframe. Morning snacks represent 23 percent of foodservice snack visits, and evening snacks 30 percent.
When thinking about Small plates, fresh foods, menus and meals grocerant niche mix and match bundling empowers customer choice so edify your product offering empowering consumer flexibility on price, portion size and portability.  Remember you customer will define if it is a snack, small plate or a meal occasion. 

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  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meal Kit’s Disrupting or a Family Solution

If success does leave clues the growth of the ‘meal kit’ sector just might be a clue that restaurants and grocery stores sectors want to take a second look at and reflect on the true nature of the growth of the meal kit sector according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson.  

Back in the day the team at Foodservice Solutions® identified, quantified, and qualified ‘the 65 inch HDTV Syndrome’ which helped define the foundation creating a platform for one solution we now call the Meal Kit sector.  The simple fact is consumers want to cook, eat, and be home watching their big screen TV’s in order to save time. Kinda like what fast food restaurants did to grocery stores save consumers time.

David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts notes that “the meal kit delivery services space, which has mushroomed to $5 billion in sales”… “Meal kit delivery services are a specialized sector but widely disruptive force in the food industry. This space is the most striking example of the movement toward greater convenience in getting fresh foods to the consumer,…And new approaches to fresh food groceries are consumers are most interested in, and what will determine the winners and losers of the current food industry re-set.”

Today there are is no one single leader within the meal kit sector Blue Apron (at a 17% share), Freshology, Green Chef, HelloFresh, and Home Bistro—the top five players in the market, according to June 2017 consumer survey by packaged-facts.  Three-quarters of U.S. adults have heard of delivery services for fresh food meal kits to cook at home, and a quarter of adults have undertaken at least a free product trial. Advertising by meal kit delivery services providers is by far the top source of information.

Consumers like the solution meal kits provide its just that simple.  Sprinkle continued “Although there is lane-changing (in terms of suppliers) and attrition in use of meat kit delivery services, particularly after free or heavily discounted product trials, almost all (97%) current fresh meal kit delivery services subscribers are using the company they originally signed up with, and nearly that percentage (90%) would recommend fresh meal kit delivery services to their friends.”

The team at Foodservice Solutions® asks are you providing a solution, a service, or a value added attribute to the food you sell?  Are you doing what you have always done or what others in your sector have always done or are you focused on the customer first? 

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

10 Effective Strategies for a Foodservice Business Plan in 2017

If success does and it does; the team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has built a global client relationship, following, and platform that encourages global best within retail foodservice.  One such company is Alsco that has 150 years of history experience with Australian businesses.  Today we have a guest blog from Alsco titled 10 Effective Strategies for a Foodservice Business Plan in 2017:

There are so many restaurants nowadays that having a unique venue, providing an outstanding service, and preparing mouth-watering meals definitely do not mean you are bound to succeed.
But what should you do then? You are already putting in the hard yards, but your restaurant isn’t doing any better? You absolutely do not have a clue what else can help you stand out in the ocean of restaurants? Is there a magic trick?

Fortunately, there is a solution a quick and easy one, indeed. What you need is an adequate restaurant business plan. That’s the main difference between those who succeed in business and those who fail.
Nice, but you have NO idea how to create one? Don’t worry! Alsco has collected these inestimable guidelines for you to follow and prosper.

1. Your Location Matters

Having a house on the corner perhaps doesn’t sound like a great idea, but placing your restaurant there would be a perfect move. If it’s impossible, at least make sure it’s in a busy neighborhood with easy access and enough parking spaces. You don’t want these details hinder your customers from visiting you, right?
2. Comfortable Furniture Is a Must
You wouldn’t spend your precious free time sitting in an uncomfortable wiggly chair, would you? Then, it would not be wise to expect that from your guests. Not only do people go to restaurants to eat, but to relax and enjoy spending their precious moments with their dearest ones, or to close a business deal.
Either way, if your furniture isn’t comfortable enough, they’ll want to leave your place as soon as possible.

3. Don’t Neglect the Colors

Colors are proven to have profound effects on humans. Avoid cold colors such as blue because it’s an appetite suppressant. On the other hand, use colors like red or orange in order to stimulate your visitors’ cravings for food.
All in all, learn how different colors can change one’s appetite and use that powerful weapon.
4. Attract More Guests with Fantastic Design
Never mind if your space is limited! An excellent interior decorator can turn it into a highly functional cozy area and maximize its use almost overnight. What’s more, a renowned designer will wave their magic wand to make your space visually appealing both inside and outside.
You could also check out social media channels including Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook to find some fascinating restaurant designs for inspiration. The stunning beauty of your space will bring about your customers’ memorable experience they will undoubtedly want to share with others.

5. Get Attractive Tableware

Interesting tableware and table linens together with the perfectly decorated magnetic space will make an enchanting effect on your guests. They simply won’t be able to resist taking photos of them being a part of that dazzling atmosphere.
Moreover, they’ll feel so excited and share those photos on different social media networks and probably tag your restaurant. High standards of hygiene go without saying.

6. Benefit from Your Online Presence

Create your restaurant profile to interact with your staff members and customers. Keep them updated and regularly post photos of your tasty meals, special events, or exceptional staff in action.
Encourage your customers to engage with you online by offering them a unique experience. Make ordering their food hassle-free by accepting online orders or bookings because many modern restaurants do so.
The primary goal is not getting Likes on Facebook but using social media as leading marketing tools to spread the word about your business and show people it’s worthwhile.

7. Make Use of Upselling

People are competitive by nature so why wouldn’t you make a proper use of it? Encourage your staff members to upsell by offering prizes and bonuses. Just make sure they’re not too pushy and obvious. You can even have a competition and make it fun.
8. Listen to Your Employees
It’s recommendable to appreciate your customers, but make sure you don’t forget your employees! On no account should you disregard them! Would you put your mind to a job if your boss underestimated or neglected you?
A lack of open communication can seriously damage your business. So, keep your staff involved in almost every important step you take and ask for their opinion. That’s how you’ll show respect to your loyal employees.

9. Mind To Your Employees’ Health and Safety

Your employees’ health and safety should be your top priority since they’re the cogs that keep the wheel of your business turning.
Provide them with a clean and sanitized working environment from the kitchen to the washroom. Also, always keep a high-quality first-aid kit at hand just in case.

10. Choose Noticeable Workwear

Not only should your space, tableware, and furniture be classy and noteworthy, but make sure your staff members also wear attractive and comfortable uniforms. It will make them look trustworthy and professional for sure.
Those people present your business with their appearance. Thus, it’s vital to keep their workwear spotless at all times.

You’re highly dedicated to your business, so you want to watch its day-to-day improvement. You’d also like to run it as effortlessly as possible? Who wouldn’t? Still, you somehow feel you need more advice?
What are you waiting for? Refer to these 126 expert ideas for your restaurant business plan and start implementing them right away. The sooner you do it, the faster your business will grow.

Cheers, Discover more about Alsco’s 150 year history and service to Australian businesses.
The team at Tacoma, WA based wants to thank Katrina McKinnon 
Community Outreach - Alsco  once again for providing today’s guest blog.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Locali Convenient Organic Deli Menu Franchising

Grocerant niche ‘Better-for-You’ concept Locali is so popular they are now franchising.  According to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson the undercurrents of ‘better-for-you fresh food continues to drive customer migration from legacy food retailers.
Locali, is a Los Angeles-based healthy convenience concept, is the only franchised natural food store with a healthy and organic-based deli menu. Locali wants to give customers options to Eat Smart All .
The story goes that Greg Horos and Melissa Rosen founded Locali Healthy Convenience so busy people wouldn’t have to sacrifice healthy eating for convenience or flavor. The first store opened in 2009 and, thanks to overwhelming success, additional stores, Locali Venice and Localita & The Badasserie, a smaller counter-service store offering vegan fast food options, coffee and smoothies, soon followed.Fresh
Locali’s menu is loaded with healthy items created from locally sourced ingredients and certified organic products. With masterpieces like the completely vegan “Badass Breakfast Sandwich” (a mouthwatering combination of vegan sausage, soy-free cheddar, chipotle sauce, and maple syrup on a multigrain English muffin), it’s easy to see why locals and celebrities alike flock to Locali, and why the creation was named one of “LA’s 10 Best New Sandwiches” by Zagat.
Melissa Rosen  stated “We want change the way people think about healthy eating,” …. “We strive to provide a warm environment that encourages people to make healthy choices while still enjoying an utterly delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner. We’re excited to take this mission and unique food service model to consumers and entrepreneurs in new markets.”
Locali is currently looking for experienced and qualified franchise partners in the United States and has partnered with Fransmart for their expansion effort.  The team at Foodservice Solutions® believes the undercurrents of ‘better-for-you’ will drive retail trial and concept adoption.  Locali is doing many of the right things.

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 Johnson, or

Sunday, July 23, 2017

In Retail Foodservice Influencers Matter

Success does leave clues and every now and then the team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® likes to hear from other on what they see coming down the road within the Grocerant niche that’s filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  This week our team like the term Vocal Aficionados. Here is what we learned:
In a new study titled on The future of retail, from Daymon Worldwide, we learned that shoppers evolving into advocates, helping brands determine ways to meet their new demands.
The study, "From Shopper to Advocate: The Power of Participation," presents six key shopper insights that will shape the future of retail. The insights have to do with looking beyond demographics, allowing for co-creation, catering to new ideas about “freshness,” understanding the value of private brands, interacting with engaged shoppers, and integrating mobile strategies.
It’s Not Just Generational
Customers are breaking the bounds of their demographics. It’s now more about values, attitudes and lifestyles than age, gender and income. Daymon breaks customers into three categories: Vocal Aficionados, Balanced Enthusiasts and Struggling Apathetics. Vocal Aficionados, with their zest for shopping and overall awareness, are the most valuable to retailers. Not only are they most likely to buy products themselves, but they also make for good brand ambassadors and marketers. Among other attributes ascribed to Vocal Aficionados are creative, passionate, wellness-oriented, socially minded, and digitally savvy. Comparatively, Balanced Enthusiasts, while engaged, are more pragmatic when it comes to shopping and slightly less digitally proficient. Struggling Apathetics, the least engaged of the three, are often more concerned with price due to financial constraints and other circumstances; despite this, the group is overall aware of trends.
Co-Creation Is the Future
Under the shopper-turned-advocate trend, co-creation provides a significant opportunity for growth. Shoppers, especially Vocal Aficionados, want to provide feedback to companies and assistance to brands in designing new products or services. Of those considered Vocal Aficionados, 55 percent are interested in giving company feedback, vs. 45 percent of Balanced Enthusiasts. And 51 percent of Vocal Aficionados are interested in helping a company design a new product or service, vs. 42 percent of Balanced Enthusiasts.
Fresh as the Gateway to Loyalty
Six out of 10 shoppers cite "fresh" categories as being important factors in their store choice. For engaged shoppers like Vocal Aficionados, "fresh" categories extend beyond produce, meat and seafood and into factors that fall within the “Participation Halo.” Fifty-three percent value in-store restaurants more than the average shopper; 33 percent more want a wide variety of natural and organic products; 31 percent expect more fresh prepared foods; 24 percent want more sustainably produced or sourced products; and 22 percent seek a more broad selection of local products.
A New Dimension of Private Brands
The most engaged shoppers are committed to, among other things, learning more about private brands and the features they might provide. Vocal Aficionados, compared to average shoppers, are 41 percent more likely to perceive that private brands have attractive packaging, 37 percent more likely to find them trendy, and 36 percent more likely to believe that they offer unique flavors they can’t get elsewhere. Other factors include whether the brands understand local needs, provide higher quality, offer the variety of products one cares about, meets one's needs, and fits one’s lifestyle.
Conversational Engagement
Daymon’s research indicates that shoppers’ relationships with brands now extend beyond the transactional and outside of the store — be it brick-and-mortar or online. To meet new expectations, brands have to use technology as a means to connect. Facebook, blogs, live online chats, Twitter, mobile apps and text messaging are all ways in which shoppers can provide feedback to brands. Vocal Aficionados are 58 percent more likely than the average shopper to want to provide feedback via Facebook, according to the study, and 44 percent more likely to want to provide feedback through Twitter. While it’s great to provide a platform for consumers to provide feedback, it’s also important to respond to feedback, making communication between shopper and brand a two-way street.
Seamless Integration With Mobile
While being digital savvy is great for communication with shoppers, it’s perhaps even more valuable when it comes to actual sales, which is why mobile integration is key. In fact, according to Daymon’s study, the digital experience an engaged shopper has with a retailer more often than not determines where they decide to spend their money. A stunning 83 percent of Vocal Aficionados are more likely than the average shopper to use their mobile phones during a shopping trip to help them make a purchase. And 90 percent are more likely to prefer stores that have apps for shopping that enable payment. Click-and-collect programs are 48 percent more popular with Vocal Aficionados, too.
“With legacy categories declining, digital strategies emerging and shoppers’ demand for engagement and customization increasing, retailers and brands must better understand the emerging needs and behaviors of shoppers on a global scale and dramatically rethink their go-to-market strategies,” said Dave Harvey, vice president of thought leadership at Daymon. “As shopping becomes more on-demand and increasingly personalized each day, we find ourselves amid a seismic shift that promises to reshape retail as we know it.”
So, what’s next according to Damon? Retailers can meet new customer expectations with the five following strategies:
1. Offer opportunities for collaboration and co-creation.
2. Allow for hyper-personalization of products and services.
3. Incorporate multi-sensory experiences, from discovery to digital.
4. Accent new interpretations of “fresh.”
5. Simplify the experience of shopping with an eye toward making it effortless. 

Regular readers of this blog know that the team at Foodservice Solutions® has over the past six months edified each of these findings in one way or another helping retailer find was to create complexity free meals, dinners, and food discovery.  For more clues to retail success follow us on Johnson, or Email: