Sunday, April 15, 2018

Restaurant Customer Counts DOWN Retail Denial is Disabling

Chain restaurant C-level executives appear to be once again at the intersection of brand protectionism and competitive denial according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
 While most restaurant industry C-level executives understand that consumers 10 years after the start of the recent recession continue to seek new non-traditional alternatives for fresh prepared meals, and meal components few will allow their brand to grow with consumers and instead continue to practice brand protectionism of the 1980’s. 
These are not the 1980’s and chain restaurants can’t wait for another ten years for customer counts to return. Even the Wall Street Restaurant Analyst that our team works with say that time is running out for those trying to maintain the status quo rather than stepping-up and standing-out.
Restaurant same-store sales rose 0.8% in March, according to TDn2K's latest Black Box Intelligence index, as the restaurant industry shows signs of creeping out of a two-year slump all the while same-store traffic still fell 2.1%.  This trend cannot continue unabated.
Consumers path to purchase for meals and meal components has evolved as has their dining habits as our Grocerant Guru® noted when he identified, quantified, qualified the 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome. Today consumers are buying Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat prepared meals frequently at grocers or convenience stores according to Johnson. The simple truth is restaurant traffic in the first quarter of 2018 declined 2.7% year over year. 
The restaurant sector must get a grip on the fast that 34.2% of US household have only 1 person. That 50.7% of US residents over the age of 18 are single today combined these to fast help explain the shift in path to purchase. 

With 80.7% of all US restaurant visit occur within the Quick Service Sector and that sector has over the past ten years gone from the $5 meal deal to the $4 meal deal putting pricing pressure on all other retail sectors except fine dining. This race to the bottom is not a race that is sustainable nor the future path to success. 
Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Index and Grocerant ScoreCards have indicated since 2009 a clear path of preference that consumers are traveling when it comes to where to eat, what to eat, and where to buy dinner. Are you practicing brand protectionism of the 1980’s?  Customer brand relevance requires evolving with consumers not waiting for the economy to turn back time.  The status quo is not good enough in 2018.
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.

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