Thursday, August 31, 2017

Facebook’s Mobile App is Pizza Paradise

Integrating technology and food marketing is second nature for technology companies the ilk of Facebook.  What is a surprise to most foodservice industry veterans is the rate of customer adoption of these new avenues of foodservice distribution according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson.

Table service restaurants the ilk of TGI Fridays is letting customers pay the bill with Amazon accounts all the while US based pizza chain restaurants are in a every expanding battel for pizza  technology leadership. 

Restaurant industry competition is getting increasingly aggressive about technology, ever sector seemingly has enlist either Facebook or Amazon  in their race to make it easier for customers to order and pay for their food fast and seamlessly.
Recently TGI Fridays began letting customers pay their bill using their Amazon accounts. All the while the pizza sector  chains are locked in an escalating battle to adopt new ordering methods -- a contest that involves chat bots, voice-activated devices and social networks.
Brandon Rhoten, Papa John’s chief marketing officer, recently went so far as to declare itself an “e-commerce company” this month after delivering surprisingly strong results. “We’re much more close, I would argue, to Amazon than we are to a brick-and-mortar restaurant”.
When it seems as if Millennials the most coveted base of consumers for food marketers are living on their phones technology becomes even more important. The fact is 69% of consumer’s look-up restaurant locations, menus, and pricing at least once a month according to B. Hudson Reihle of the National Restaurant Association.
Papa John’s Rhoten noted that “An online ad, for instance, can be turned into an order with a few clicks. Most other restaurant chains are still figuring out how to get customers to do that”, ..It’s a “fundamental shift that most in the category haven’t taken advantage of,”
Papa John’s began accepting orders on Facebook in June, and the feature was an instant hit: Hundreds of orders flowed in during the first few hours. In all forms, digital orders now make up over 60 percent of Papa John’s sales. It must be noted that our own Grocerant Guru® was helping Cybermeals sign Papa John’s as the first national US chain restaurant to have online ordering.
Now both Domino’s and Pizza Hut, are experimenting with chat bots.  Chat bots are a platform that let users maker orders via Facebook Messenger and Twitter Inc.’s service. Through conversation, the bot finds out whether you want to order one of your favorites or see the latest deals. Shake Shack Inc. unveiled a similar chat-bot program in August as part of a push for more online orders.
TGI Fridays has become the first restaurant chain to let people pay with their Amazon accounts -- a new wrinkle in the convenience wars. Rather than fumbling with wallets and finding credit cards, customers use the Amazon app on their phones it’s fast familiar, and friendly.
One company still outshines all others when it comes to technology that company is Starbucks.  The Starbucks app has become so popular that it’s creating new traffic patterns. Customers bypass the registers and bunch up around the pickup area of cafes, creating slowdowns and hassles. The coffee giant has been working to fix the problem this year.
What’s next?  Voice-activated devices are the new frontier with Amazon and Google in a battle with new star-up solutions searching for a way to capture some attention.  Our own Grocerant Guru® believes that voice ordering of groceries, restaurant meals and anything Togo will become the new path to purchase.

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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Snappy Salads Daybreak Daypart Dazzles

Success does leave clues and Snappy Salads has been picking up all of the right clues.  Consumers have been migrating to retail brands that have the halo of ‘better-for-you’ according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Service® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson.
Consumers looking for a ‘better for you’ meal can visit Snappy Salad downtown Dallas (Hardwood) location for a healthy way to start their day beginning September 11, 2017.
Snappy Salads CEO Chris Dahlander said that the chain has introduced its first ever breakfast menu at its new downtown Dallas location. The menu features plant-based foods blended with good proteins and carbohydrates including a Sunrise Salad with citrus and grains, Warm Riced Cauliflower with Fried Egg, and Smashed Avocado Toast.
Dahlander continued saying “Making your first meal of the day a salad might sound a little strange, but it’s actually a no-brainer,” says. “Leafy greens topped with brain foods that are nutrient-rich can fuel your body and start your day on the right note. As for flavor, a salad has endless ingredient combinations.” Here are some tips for making a breakfast salad at home:
·         Use a variety of greens like spinach or arugula
·         Prepare your eggs as usual, but pile them on a bed of fresh greens
·         Add healthy, filling proteins and fats like beans, avocados, or cheese
·         Toss in leftovers from last night’s dinner (chicken, fish, quinoa)
·         Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh berries or a drizzle of honey
·         For something warm on a chilly morning top your greens with sautéed veggies like zucchini, onions or peppers
·         For texture add dried fruit, nuts or whole grains
·         Keep the dressing simple. Mix equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey, or lemon or orange juice for something a little sweeter

“Snappy Salads is passionate about making good nutrition accessible to anyone,” says Dahlander. “We are breaking the American myth about your breakfast options and re-introducing important plant-based meals. Society used to eat this way, but we lost track of that with the emergence of highly industrialized grain- and sugar-based breakfast foods. My goal is to improve the quality of food Americans are eating by serving highly nutritious, high-quality meals to our guests by bringing back what we know our bodies have been craving.”
Snappy Salads opened its first location 11 years ago, with promises to elevate salads to entrée status and has since gained a loyal following affectionately referred to as “Snapsters.” The award-winning restaurant blends veggie-forward menu items with a variety of proteins to create unique, hearty, and delicious meals. Original creations such as the top-selling Grilled Avocado Salad and Bam Bam Salad have earned Snappy Salads its trademarked tagline: “So good, even guys like our salads.”

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Retail Food Consumers are Shopping Around

Today the line between food trucks, fast food,  grocery stores, convenience stores, dollar stores and restaurants is growing ever thinner. The fight for America's food dollars continues to intensify as consumers find fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food options at a wide and growing array of outlets across almost every channel: convenience stores, chain drug stores, restaurants, grocery stores, club stores, vending and even more non-food retailers the likes of furniture retailer Ikea.
Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson stated “as manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants worry about choice overload, consumers have embraced these new avenues of distribution, the new choices, mix and match meal bundling, and show no signs of returning to the old ways. A food fight is taking place in what is called the grocerant niche for a larger share of the customer’s stomach are you positioned to win new migrating customers?”
Regular readers of this blog know that the restaurant industry is not an industry known for trying to be first as in fastest to market with an ideation, food, or technology advance. In the United States the larger the chain in almost all cases the more slowly they are to adopt something than a smaller chain or independent restaurants will. Chain restaurants goal is simple feed one meal at a time in the restaurant while protecting and edifying the brand. With continued year over year customer count declines we ask; How is that Working?
Historically chain restaurant leaders have denied the credibility of start-up competitors as non-relevant. The pizza sector is a great example; evolving from family dinning independents to national chain of "Red Roof" Italian, then to delivery only outlets and now take-N-bake is garnering market share in the pizza sector. ( Note: Home Made Pizza Company and Papa Murphy's are further examples of take and bake pizza operators.)
Increase in Drug Store and Dollar store Meal Occasions
Our Grocerant Guru® stated “it is at the intersection of the consumer, fresh prepared food, and technology we fine that consumer path to purchase behavior evolving.”  Consumer adoption and migration within the Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat space and is now beyond the control of traditional legacy chain food marketers.”
Simply put consumers are evolving the culture and lifestyle of meals and purchasing of meal componeants faster that most legacy retailers ever could have imagined.  There is a set of new consumer demographics along with the new uncertain economy are all putting pressure on the legacy food retail brands.
Time starved consumers are suffering from the demands of work, economic shrinkage, demands of raising a family, commuting, social interaction, kid's after-school activities, all contribute to a food marketplace where convenience vies with price over legacy brands. Recent advances in food packaging and new points of non-traditional food distribution have empowered consumer choice, and Americans are embracing these choices even as legacy marketers cringe.
Should you care if Walgreens is selling fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Made-2-Order sandwiches? Why should you care if Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Safeway and Wegmans are selling Ready-2-Eat and or Heat-N-Eat fresh pizza? Why should you care if Coinstar is selling Seattle Best Coffee at 1,000 locations for $1.00?
Simple, you should care because they are selling it, and you are not! The fastest growing sector of retail food service for the past four years has been the Convenience store sector. The C-store sectors growth in large part has been driven by fresh prepared food. Non-traditional avenues of distribution are growing, gobbling market share while establishing new patterns of consumption, price points and customer loyalty.
Consumers Like Today’s New Retail Food Formats
Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have created grocerant niche fresh foods with distinctive offerings. More important each is leading with innovative products and package size that create value and have positioned each chain as a food shopping destination for meal components customized and personalized for immediate consumption or mix and matched for a meal time at home. In short they are stealing your customers.

Consumer’s believe that Walgreens fresh prepared food is restaurant quality.  They know it is priced less than Panera Bread, or Corner Bakery cafe. Both Panera Bread and Corner Bakery Cafe thrive in urban locations. Walgreens is now growing price, quality, and speed of service advantages over legacy retailers. Legacy restaurant chains must reconsider the speed at which they evolve and adapt or non-traditional outlets will capture profits margins as well.

Traditional views of meals and mealtime can pretty much be discarded. Legacy retailers waiting for the "next big thing" to copy simply might be out of luck this time. Legacy food retailers may not like to be first movers very much but it may prove that waiting too long will not work this time.
FIVE P’s of  Grocerant Marketing Product, Packaging, Placement, Portability and Price
The retail food world is evolving at an ever increasing pace filled with innovation in food, portion size, points of distribution, and quality fresh prepared meal solutions. The price, value, service equilibrium is resetting in retail foodservice. In order to edify the brand and reinforce consumer relevance restaurateurs must leverage Foodservice Solutions® 5P's of food marketing.

Many legacy food retailers continue to practice brand protectionism, stifle the brand while diminishing consumer relevance. The consumer is dynamic not static. Brands must be dynamic, evolving with the consumer. Four years of watching other retail sectors thrive should be long enough. Success in the restaurant world is no longer simply about what happens within your 4 walls.

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.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Traditional Grocery Stores Continue to Stumble

The grocerant niche has been discounted, dismissed, and dished by legacy foodservice sector media outlets since 1991. The simple fact is the consumer migration from legacy grocerant stores to new non- traditional avenues of distribution is in no way slowing down according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson.

Recently even legacy food industry research giants the ilk of Inmar Willard Bishop Analytics stated that “The food retail landscape is poised to shift dramatically as shoppers gravitate from traditional grocery stores to formats that more closely meet their needs”. Welcome to the grocerant niche Willard Bishop (WB)!

In a new study titled “Future of Food Retailing” Willard Bishop found “By 2021, dollar share for the traditional grocery channel will reach 44.4 percent, an increase of 0.2 percent… “Shares for nontraditional grocery will drop 0.7 percent to 39.1 percent. The convenience store channel will have a slight increase in shares, reaching 16.5 percent.

Here is the shocking from such a conventional foodservice research house  as the stated: “However, modest changes are often masked by large fluctuations occurring within the channel. For example, the number of traditional supermarkets will decrease by 24.6 percent. This decline is offset by double-digit growth in store counts for fresh-format, limited-assortment, and super warehouse formats.”
Most regular readers of this blog know grocery ecommerce trial is on the rise but the team at Foodservice Solutions® has predicted that it will top out at 11.75% of regular shoppers in 2021 and hold steady for several years before raising once again
The grocerant niche is expanding the reach of fresh food including meals, meal components, both Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat across all channels.  It is that rapid expansion that will slow ecommerce sales. Foodservice Solutions® team is not as pessimistic about legacy grocery retailers as we have firsthand knowledge some are trying very hard to adapt to the fast evolving retail landscape.

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Think Amazon & Whole Foods as Food + Price will Drive Customer Adoption

Success does leave clues and as traditional chain grocery stores struggle to keep stores open and chain restaurants continue to capitulate customer counts and top line sales and bottom line profits to the convenience store sector it appears that the grocery store sector is picking up some of the C-store success clues according to our Grocerant Guru®.

Yes, regular readers of this blog know that Steven Johnson Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® coined the term "grocerant" back in 1996 and trademarked it. The term grocerant refers to any fresh prepared food item sold in any channel for takeout, to-go, delivery, or sold in a drive thru.  Grocerant food is about Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food according to Johnson.  Simply put grocerant food at non-traditional fresh food outlets is driving customer adoption. 

Foodservice industry icon Bonnie Riggs of The NPD Group recently pointed out that grocery stores selling grocerant niche fresh food “generated 2.4 billion visits and $10 billion in sales in 2016 by promoting restaurant-quality freshly prepared foods. Now that’s a lot of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat to eat fresh prepared food.

Riggs explained that grocerant offering “represent an extension of what's known in the supermarket trade as the service deli, those staffed counters in many upscale stores that have long offered salads, fresh bakery items and rotisserie chickens. Grocerants, however, take these delis to the next level with niceties that can include sit-down service with waiters, full bars and even sushi chefs.”

Consumers are not confused by the offering of restaurant quality offerings at C-stores, Club stores, furniture stores, or drug stores but retailers seem bewildered at all of the new avenues of fresh food distribution and must reevaluate just who is the competition.

Riggs continued “more than 40% of Americans buy freshly prepared foods from grocery stores. Besides being fast, it can be cheaper than traditional takeout. A grocerant meal costs $4.22 on average, according to NPD, compared to $7.96 at a fast-casual restaurant, a 53% difference.”

The Price Value Service equilibrium in retail foodservice has changed according to the team at Tacoma, WA Foodservice Solutions®.  Restaurants, Grocery stores, furniture stores, club stores, drug stores and dollar stores are all selling grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meal components?

Since 1996 the continued expansion of the grocerant niche has driven change within the retail foodservice industry including increasing awareness of fresh food, food safety, food packaging, most important it met consumer demand and filled a void that traditional restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers did not. Amazon and Whole Foods will elevate the competitive undercurrents within retail foodservice today.  Does your brand look more like yesterday than tomorrow?  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?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Food Retailers and Technology are Forever Inseparable

When it comes to retail foodservice today technology is seemingly as important a fresh food with flavor according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.  How customers order their food, where they order from are evolving how we define service in foodservice today. 

In a new study conducted by Oracle Hospitality titled “The Hotel 2025 and Restaurant 2025 reports conducted in February 2017 proved to be very insightful. Here are some of the insights:
Recognition and Personalization Will be a Driver for Future Technologies
  • 33 percent of restaurant and 72 percent of hotel operators say that guest recognition via facial biometrics will be in use within the next five years.
  • 31 percent of restaurant guests and 41 percent of hotel guests will be more likely to visit an establishment with greater frequency if they are recognized by a server or associate without having to give their name or show a loyalty card.
  • Both restaurant (49 percent) and hotel (62 percent) guests agree that having this recognition would improve their experience.
  • 28 percent of restaurant customers would visit more often and 45 percent said it would improve their experience if service was faster because they were recognized.
  • 42 percent of restaurant guests find suggestions based on health invasive and 68 percent find suggestions based on digital footprint invasive.
  • 47 percent of hotel guests agree that using artificial intelligence to suggest items based on past purchases would improve their experience.
  • 72 percent of hotel operators agree that AI-based systems that leverage guest preferences and buying history to make targeted dining recommendations will be mainstream by 2025.
Consumers are Warming to Voice-Activated Experiences
  • 36 percent of restaurant guests say ordering through a virtual assistant would improve experience and 17 percent would visit more often, along with 50 percent and 33 percent of hotel guests respectively.
  • 59 percent of hotel guests believe controlling their room via a voice-activated device would enhance the guest experience and operators agree. Hotel operators polled indicated that managing room control and ambiance management (78 percent) via voice activation would be widespread by 2025. Hotel operators also believed that ordering room or hotel services (70 percent) via voice activation would be adopted by 2025.
  • Operators are keen on gathering customer feedback by voice; 61 percent of restaurant operators and 68 percent of hotels said this will be in use in the next 5 years.
Virtual Reality will Enhance the Booking and on-Property Experience in Hotels
  • Consumers also indicated that virtual reality tours of hotel properties (66 percent) and virtual reality lounges for entertainment (44 percent) would improve the guest experience.
  • Hotel operators also believe virtual reality technology will be widespread by 2025 with a variety of use cases: staff training (68 percent), guest entertainment on property (64 percent), and previewing meeting rooms (63 percent).
Robots Won’t be Replacing Hospitality Staff Anytime Soon
  • 50 percent of restaurant guests said being served by a robot would not improve the guest experience and 40 percent would visit less.
  • 37 percent of hotel guests said being served by a robot would not improve the guest experience and 22 percent would visit less.
  • 64 percent of restaurant and 58 percent of hotel operators say that the use of robots for cleaning is appealing.
Operators Begin To Consider Investment in Wearable Technology
  • 51 percent of restaurants and 63 percent of hotels say staff activity monitoring via wearable device will be in use in the next 5 years.
  • 59 percent of restaurants and 78 percent of hotels say that staff checking into work and onto workstations via wearable device will be in use in the next 5 years.

Do your 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.

Friday, August 25, 2017

At Starbucks Partnerships Matter

In what just might become the next big thing in foodservice retail once again very well may be branded partnerships that’s according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson. 

Just think as Starbucks is closing its online store it is signaling to the industry that is a 'seismic shift'  is about to hit the fresh food retail branded world.  Note: Starbucks' online store is selling items at up to 50% off "while supplies last. Check it out at

A recent press release noted that Starbucks' online store is discounting items up to 50% as the coffee giant prepares to shutter the store for good. The company will close its online store on October 1, a Starbucks representative confirmed to Business Insider.

Starbucks' online store is selling items such as glasses, mugs, coffee brewers, and espresso makers, in addition to coffee, tea, and beverage syrups. People will still be able to buy items currently sold online at third-party sellers like Amazon and Starbucks' grocery partners.

Starbucks spokesperson Maggie Jantzen  stated "We're continuing to invest in amplifying Starbucks as a must-visit destination and are looking across our portfolio to make disciplined, thoughtful decisions… "Continued integration of these digital and mobile customer connections into our store experience is among the highest priorities for us, and to enhance that focus we've looked for ways to simplify our current efforts."

Jantzen said that Starbucks will keep frequent visitors of the online store up to date on product availability, especially as certain items sell out. As Starbucks shutters its online store, the coffee giant is looking to build "commercial partnerships" with digital companies.

"These partnerships, we believe, will enable us to leverage our brand, our global retail footprint, and the customer base in order to extend our reach," CEO Kevin Johnson 
said in a call with investors in late July.

In case you had not noticed Starbucks is also growing its consumer packaged goods (CPG) business, selling items such as K-cup pods and bottled Frappuccinos in grocery stores. Earlier in August, Starbucks announced that it would begin selling its new bottled Pumpkin Spice Latte in grocery stores later in the month.

Starbucks has made 
serious investments in digital over the last few years, as executives have witnessed retailers struggle to cope with the rise of ecommerce. Currently, mobile payments make up 30% of Starbucks orders in the US.

"Retailers who are agile and reimagine the art of the possible will be big industry winners," Johnson told investors on the industry's "seismic shift" towards digital and mobile. "Those who do not will struggle mightily."

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