Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Slowly the Restaurant Business Model Tilts to Grocerant Niche

While the line between restaurants, C-stores, Grocery store, Service Deli begins to blur one thing is crystal clear consumers want fresh food faster and the foundation of those options are found within the Grocerant Niche according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
While the drive thru was so successful in garnering customers in the United States today over 80% of all restaurant meals purchased are purchased at a quick service restaurant according to NPD. Restaurant companies have documented the success both grocery sector service deli’s and convenience store are have garnering customers.  Empowered with digital hand held marketing smart phone platforms restaurants are elevated speed of service with grocerant niche tactics according to our Grocerant Guru®. 
McDonald’s Mobile Order & Pay expedites the drive thru experience incorporating digital hand held marketing with customization and personalization. Mobile Order & Pay integrates all of Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Food Marketing with a customer relevant branded messaging.
Chipotle on the other hand is incorporating a second ‘make-line’ to prepared mobile orders to empower faster service.  The 2,000th Panda Express’ that recently opened in New York City, cared out space for an Express Pickup Area for orders that were placed online.
All the while Dunkin’ Donuts’ is paring down its menu reducing options to help speed service and that just-revealed new prototype with a special location reserved for On-the-go-mobile ordering orders that from and integrated branded App.
While Starbucks sales seem to have stalled our Grocerant Guru® reminds us that Starbucks was first with order-and-pay-ahead that now accounts for over 29% of sales.  Starbucks has also set up a separate area where digital customers can find their orders waiting. Starbucks continues to lead as they now have unveiled a takeout-only stores.
Casual dinning does not want to be left out Red Robin and Chili’s have all revealed plans to add curbside delivery with updated twists, such as incorporating geolocation technology to know when a customer has arrived. With Red Robin is going mobile to get even closer to the customer. Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions has been driving success in the grocerant niche are you tired of trial and error?

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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mix & Matched Meal Components Drive Dinner Day-part Sales

Regular readers of this blog know that grocerant niche mix and match meal component bundling is now the cornerstone of retail foodservice success.  Mix & Match bundling continues to drive customer migration from legacy CPG products, restaurants, and grocery stores to new fresh food products and new avenues of fresh food distribution according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.
Yes, "the new normal" in food retail requires a shift away from traditional food packaging, points of distribution, and a focus on fresh prepared food rather that pantry stocking according to Johnson. Meal components that focus on healthier choices are an invitation Millennials cannot seem to pass up. .
Our Grocerant Guru® identified, quantified, and qualified the vital role of portability as a major driver of the growth of the grocerant niche and subsequently Technomic revalidated our findings.   of the snacking trend, obvious not only at the drive-thru window, but also with packaged offerings at convenience stores like 7-Eleven, and at "boutique" establishments, like Starbucks.
Today traditional mealtimes are less frequent, less important, less likely than the convenience of fresh prepared meal components that can be consumed immediately, used later as a mix and match meal components for the perfect family meal, cocktail compliment, or meal replacement as a small meal. 
New Non-traditional "dayparts" are emerging.  This is creating quite a conundrum for legacy retailers in both the restaurant sector focused on selling complete meals and legacy grocery stores focused on collecting slotting fees rather than providing consumers incremental fresh food options.
Recent research by InfoScout looked at 77,820 American households who provided daily receipts to the company to determine which off-hour consumers are most apt to head to a restaurant in those times, as well as the overall percentage of visits made by consumers during off-hour dayparts and the basket size during those visits and how that compares with the basket size of traditional mealtimes finding “off-hour meals make up 35 to 48 percent of all trips”.
Food retail has become a battle for share of stomach. The battle for that share of stomach is taking is between all retailers sell food including the ilk of: Convenience Stores, Supermarkets, Dollar stores, Drug stores, Ikea, Liquor stores to name but a few.
In research from CocaCola they found that Millennials average 4.2 meals a day. Clearly Millennials are evolving as food consumers here are some additional facts from the Coca Cola survey: 
1. More than half eat breakfast outside of morning hours. 
2.  30 percent replace one or two meals daily with snacks. 
3. 35 percent eat dinner at restaurants offering "happy hour" deals.
4. 43 percent say they snack more today. 
5. Members of the 18-to-24 age group reported they would go to restaurants more if they stayed open later.
Packaging fresh food meal components and placing those components in avenues of distribution that are representative of the products target market is more important now than ever according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.    Can your meals be turned into meal components?  Success does leave clues.

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how 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, January 29, 2018

White Castle Dazzling Delivering

When we think of customers cravings regional food flavors White Castle is always top of mind according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. White Castle is one of the most dynamic restaurant brands in the United Stated according to Johnson.
While they have fewer than 500 locations and are privately held they have been industry leaders since they invented the slider (originally priced at 5 cents) in 1921, an innovation with staying power.  In fact founder Walter Anderson is responsible for both the hamburger bun and the standardization of fast food production, and in 2014, the Original Slider was cemented as a cultural icon when TIME magazine named it the most influential burger of all time
The team at White Castle is always looking a customer ahead.  White Castle was one of the first restaurant chains to beginning distribution of their signature burgers to supermarkets nationwide helping create the ‘frozen food court’ you can find in almost all grocery stores today.
White Castle may not be first but it is again looking to innovate from within the burger field by making it easier than ever to get a bag full of sliders. The pitch is simple: What if Harold and Kumar never had to leave their apartment?
Expanding on Grubhub services affiliated with more than 75 White Castle locations in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, and more, started offering delivery at 45 additional locations last month.
The new initiative will kick off with a chance for fans to win a catered meal from the White Castle Crave Mobile during the NFL championship on February 4, kicking off the burger chain’s partnership with one of the nation’s leading third party food deliverers.
Stan Chia, Grubhub COO  stated “We’re honored to partner with the iconic White Castle brand to power delivery from Castles across the country,”.. “Our orders show that sliders are clearly on the rise, and we’re thrilled to deliver more of what our nearly 10 million diners crave.”
While the chain appears to be near the front of the pack in terms of adapting to third party delivery services, White Castle faces a more challenging undertaking than its larger competitors given its footprint of 450 stores.
So what does it mean to have a chain with a cultural cult following?  In 2015, the chain expanded to a new state for the first time in more than 50 years—into the Casino Royale Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip—and over the store’s first 12 hours, White Castle VP Jamie Richardson said his team served more than 4,000 sliders per hour. Here is our point sell you food where you customers are. If they are playing games on the computer or watching a 65 inch HDTV delivery works.  Stay dynamic.

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 have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Five Universal Commonalities of Fresh Food Marketing

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson, successfully uncovered five universal commonalities driving retail foodservice sales success while conducting grocerant scorecards
Johnson found that retailer’s focused on selling fresh prepared food that was Hand Held, Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat are having the most success garnering repeat business. 

Portability is an integral driver at retail when fresh prepared food that is Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat is being offered.  The undercurrents of change evolving within the retail foodservice sector are attracting consumers looking for food discovery including Gen Z and Millennials according to Johnson. .  There is little doubt now that success within the food industry today can be traced back directly to Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s food marketing back in the day and they continue to play and ever increasing role.

Johnson has introduced, implemented, and integrated the Five P’s of Foodservice Marketing with foodservice companies including Full Service Restaurants, Chain Drug Stores, Grocery Stores, QSR’s, and C-Store clients.  The 5 P’s are:

Foodservice Solutions® current team continues to refresh the Five P’s of Foodservice Marketing utilizing four key pillars of every marketing program Build, Measure, Learn and Repeat then validated results.  After repeated successful retail food industry adoption of Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Fresh Food Marketing continue to evolve while driving top line sales and bottom line profits for leading retailers.  

Foodservice Solutions®  excels at vertical brand product positioning, marketing strategy, and business development specifically identifying, quantifying and qualifying niche opportunity for global foodservice related activity specifically grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food, packaging, and related products.

Visit  if you are interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Foodt Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization or you can learn more at Johnson, or Contact:

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Taco Bell Integrated Mobile Marketing is Measurable

Taco Bells Cantina sells beer.  So is it any wonder that when you want to invite a friend to have a beer you would text then as say meet you at Taco Bell?  Well, according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma WA based Foodservice Solutions® of course it makes sense.

Taco Bell is testing self-serve ordering stations at a store in Irvine near The District shopping center. The Irvine chain said Thursday that it plans to step up kiosks in 2018. Taco Bell announced plans to step up its digital services in 2018, including adding self-serve ordering kiosks in restaurants.

With more than 6,700 restaurants Taco Bell, said it has reached an agreement with its franchisees to fund new technologically-driven services that provide “customers and team members with frictionless digital experiences.”
Among the priorities for diners is to expedite the number of self-serve ordering stations at restaurants in 2018. The new program, called “All Access,” is aimed at providing an easy connection — from delivery to group ordering.
Taco Bell said it also plans to “prioritize and invest” in faster networks and improved back-of-house systems.
In Orange County, a restaurant in Irvine is currently testing self-serve tablets.   Taco Bell did not disclose financial details of the agreement, including how the company and franchisees plan to fund the new digital programs. Our team believes this is the right thing to do at the right time.

Taco Bell Chief Executive Brian Niccol said in a statement “Our fantastic relationship with our franchisees and our growth mindset have enabled us to create an aggressive plan to make Taco Bell an All Access brand,” “We always aim to stay relevant with changing consumer tastes and trends, whether that be creating innovative menu items or offering the latest technology that connects customers to our brand when they want it, where they want it.”
Smartphone penetration in 2014 was at 67% and in 2020 it is expected to be over 80% according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.  Hand Held Food Marketing is going to be the next big thing according to Johnson and Greg Cred and his team at, Yum Brands are on top of it.
The fact is Taco Bell one of the industry’s most envied fast food brands because its quirky inexpensive foods and marketing campaigns score well with millennials. Food comes first, marketing second but together within the fast food space hand held marketing the platform of choice.

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.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Eataly Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat Brand Building Success

Eataly is a cash cow that just keeps giving according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson. When Eataly Executive Chairman Andrea Guerra told Financial Times that The Italian food hall chain is considering a public offering and wants to fuel further expansion regular readers of this blog were not surprised.
Guerra told the Financial Times that Eataly is eager to expand the presence of its massive Italian food emporiums in the U.S. The company has five locations in the US, including two in New York and one in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. It was reported that Eataly's U.S. sales have doubled following the expansion.
Eataly is on pace to generate 470 million euros in sales in 2017, which would be an increase of nearly 24% over 2016. Guerra told Financial Times that Eataly can open stores for the next 10 years. “We think we can have a store in every world capital,”  The team at Foodservice Solutions® believes this will be the year.
However this isn’t the first time that Eataly has indicated plans to go public. In 2016, the Italian merchant bank Tamburi Investment Partners, which owns a stake in Eataly, indicated that it planned to take the chain public in 2017.
Oscar Farinetti founded and created Eataly, opening the first, 30,000-square-foot location in Torino, Italy, in 2007. The company opened its first location in the U.S. in New York City in 2010.  Eataly is filled with grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared portable food.  Remember Grocerant niche fresh prepared food is booming around the world according to the team at Foodservice Solutions®.
Eataly is not a food hall, food halls are quite different in many cased they are simply food courts without a mall.  Grocerant niche concepts the ilk of Eataly are on the rise driving top line sale, bottom line profits what garnering evolving an migrating food consumers according to Johnson.

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Millennials are Young not Dumb Groceries Shoppers

Lost leaders, digital smartphone freebies, coupon matching  have worked for generations and Millennials are more likely than other age groups to shop three or more retail outlets for groceries each week saving themselves close to 35% according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Regular readers of this blog know that the parents of Millennials shopped around for the best prices and understand that while in search of food discovery Millennials aren’t stupid either.  It’s the quest for discovery of the app or exploiting the establishment Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCards indicated price is as important as ever.
According to Acosta’s “Trip Drivers” Hot Topic Report, 76% of consumers who shop at least once per week said they visit two or more stores to buy groceries. Millennials are the most likely to shop at the most locations, with 44% saying they shop at three or more stores, compared with 29% of all shoppers.
Price is the biggest motivator for all shoppers visiting multiple outlets, with 60% agreeing that some products are priced lower at certain retailers. Forty-one percent said quality variability across different categories is a motivating factor in store-hopping, 33% said product availability is a factor and 23% cited convenience.
Among Millennials, only 45% cited price as a key factor driving them to shop multiple stores. This age group is more likely to cite physical proximity and the availability of specific brands.
Millennials are also more likely to shop multiple retailers to ensure freshness, the report found. While 37% of shoppers said they make multiple trips to ensure their food is fresh, 65% of Millennials said they make multiple trips or have multiple deliveries to receive the freshest possible food. That compares with 47% of Gen-Xers, 25% of Baby Boomers and 22% of Silents (age 70-plus).
Consumer that shop three or more grocery stores a month are not brand loyal?  How much are you paying for loyalty? Do you know?  Should you care?  Does you outlet look more like 2005 than 2020?  Does business model look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Why? Do you like doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Good for you if you do.  But just how is that working?

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 a Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product Ideation?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Le Macaron Growth Means Smaller Fresher Faster

Retail foodservice business models continue to evolve Amazon Go is fresh convenience food fast with a small foot print and Le Macaron new nontraditional franchise opportunity is another leading company expanding with a flexible viable reduced footprint according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson.
Le Macaron French Pastries announced a new nontraditional franchise opportunity in the form of a mobile food cart. Folded into its overall growth strategy Le Macaron has evolved it business model that requires less upfront investment it is a new opportunity for franchise partners who are seeking flexibility with their business.
The new Le Macaron franchise opportunity aims to lean into the growing quick-serve and snack brand trend of kiosks, mobile carts, and express locations. As consumers’ on-the-go lifestyle continues to accelerate, Le Macaron French Pastries seeks to capitalize on these captive audiences at malls, sporting events, festivals and other gatherings. The investment for Le Macaron French Pastries’ new mobile food cart opportunity ranges between $91,7500 to $127,000.
Rosalie Guillem, CEO and co-founder of Le Macaron French Pastries  stated “We wanted to create an opportunity that allows our franchisees to work in nonconventional environments and offer guests a sweet treat when they are unable to access one of our locations,”… “Our products are small and can easily be eaten on the go, so a mobile food cart aligns directly with our brand. This will only accelerate our growth as we welcome a new group of franchisees looking to enter the fast-casual industry.”
Le Macaron French Pastries is known for providing guests with a light dessert with lesser calories, the brand offers more than 20 flavors of macarons, as well as seasonal flavors, and the menu extends to include pastries, gelato, coffee, cakes, ├ęclairs so you can see how this new model is a very good fit.
Guillem continued “We saw an opportunity to treat the American palate with our authentic recipes while bringing our family together,”.. “As a result of our brand’s popularity, we created a business model that can grow rapidly throughout the nation and requires zero on-site baking for franchisees. We are able to give our guests products that are always fresh and superior to others on the market as we continue to expand our concept.”
Le Macaron French Pastries closed 2017 with 45 units awarded and seeks to add new single and multi-unit franchisees in 2018. Interested prospects should have a strong desire to own a business, as well as a passion for the dessert space and success.  Is your business model evolving?

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 have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wawa has Coffee Amazon Go Does Not However That Said

When Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson walked through, shopped, and sampled fresh food from Amazon Go and believes that there is no doubt that Amazon reached its goal in providing a ‘better-for-you’ retail experience.  Why? 

Simple the fresh food was fresh and full flavored and the experience was fast.  The store was well designed so that you could with ease find a fresh meal, meal component, or fresh snack item.  The incremental benefit was you could buy a loaf of bread, milk, beer, wine, and or chips if you wanted to stock an urban pantry or have the gang over to watch a game.

The technology was seamless you did not notice it unless you were looking up at the ceiling.  You could not see the sensors on the shelves detecting when an item picked up or placed back on the shelf.  What was noticeable upon reflection was how natural it was.  No one missed the cashier, the checkout station, or standing in line.  You simply shopped and left. 

Amazon Go is not about replacing some of 3.5 million cashiers reported in the United States in 2016.  The number of people involved in retail in my opinion could rise as Amazon expands its technology to other locations.  Jobs may be in not jeopardy if the technology used by Amazon Go is saleable and all indications from Amazon’s  Gianna Puerini the executive in charge of Amazon Go and  Dilip Kumar, Amazon Go vice president of technology that is the case.

Amazon Go has created a platform where consumesr can get fresh food fast, meals and meal components in a complexity free setting that will empower consumer to buy fresh food more often.  It will help evolve from retail work space from cashiers too skilled cooks, meal assembly workers all while empowering sustainable local specialty outlets the ilk of bakery’s, butchers, breweries incremental avenues of distribution.

The store size helped with the speed of service with only 1,800 square feet.  Without room allocated for cashier’s there was plenty of food, and beverages choice without choice overload.  This store is about stocking the shelfs with food consumer want.  Amazon Go is not about slotting fees while they did have traditional CPG bread, milk, chips, and beer clearly the grocerant niche fresh prepared food was the star of the show. 

So what did we try?  We tried the Alki Bakery Club Sandwich, Molly’s Tortellini Pasta Salad, and Portland Style Coconut Dream Cake.   All were grocerant niche fresh full flavored portable and portioned for either one or two people. We have at this point three insights:

1.       Just like using your iPhone (or any smart phone) for the first time you told yourself this is great.  Sure we have all learned smart phone are not perfect but the fact is we now want them to do more and more.  In the case of Amazon Go we will want more and more fresh food options and I’m sure they will evolve.  Note to Gianna I wanted fresh coffee this morning. 

2.     The store size was just fine, the assortment of food and legacy CPG products exceed my expectations.  However food manufactures will have to up their game to maintain market share, packaging, freshness, and flavor appeared stayed.

3.       There is no doubt that this template is working in an urban footprint but clearly Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Scorecards indicate that the unmet demand from consumers for fresh fast retail food experiences will drive this technology into suburbs as sure as autonomous vehicles can’t be stopped.

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

Wawa Has Coffee