Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sonic Drive-In is Evolving Menu Relevance

Restaurant labor cost continue to rise, utilities continues to rise, rents are leveling off, but food cost are not, and consumers continue to migrate from traditional restaurant and grocery formats to new non-traditional points of fresh food distribution seeking new fresh food experiences according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Fast food restaurants are in an intensifying battle for share-of-stomach and if chain restaurants are not evolving with or faster than consumers they are most likely capitulating market share.  Sonic Drive-In is one company that does not plan lag behind.
In an effort to garner incremental Gen Z and Millennial customers Sonic is rolling out a ‘blended burger’ line system-wide to offer a 350 calorie cheeseburger with a halo of ‘better-for-you’ or as they say with” health and sustainability halo for $1.99.
Scott Uehlein, VP of product innovation and development for Sonic stated “The new Signature Slinger burgers are a blend of beef and diced mushrooms. …. the combination provides a juiciness and amped-up beef flavor. Signature slinger burgers “makes you feel like you’re getting away with something,”
According to Uehlein Sonic is the first national quick-service chain to offer a blended burger system-wide.  The new sandwich consists of a blended patty topped with melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, diced onion, a crinkle-cut pickle chip and mayonnaise, all served on a brioche-style bun.
Sonic has found its new electricity to drive top line sales and bottom line profits it could be according to Johnson in a blended ‘better-for-you burger.  Sonic’s partnership with the mushroom council is on supply and innovation is the platform for the new electricity, according to Johnson; partnerships specifically strategic partnerships are driving retail success today. 
Johnson stated that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, grocerant consultants, urban farming (produce, seafood, etc.), autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, cash-less payments, digital hand held marketing.
Retailers the ilk of Sonic to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different in some form.  That’s exactly what Sonic did here. That will require brands to embrace new fresh food partnerships more now than ever before according to Johnson.
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? 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.

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