Friday, June 8, 2018

Chain Restaurant Leadership Mediocrity and Complacency Stifles Success

When it comes to building top line sales and bottom line profits chain restaurants have failed to keep their brands relevant as consumers continue to opt grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food options instead of frequenting restaurants or ordering from a chain restaurant.
Regular readers of this blog understand that chain restaurant brand protectionism of the 1970’s, 1990’s and 2000’s is dead.  Only Neanderthal C-level chain restaurant executives are trying to maintain the status quo of a bygone era.   If your chain added online ordering, catering options, delivery within the past three years you most likely fit in that Neanderthal grouping as those points of consumer relevance introduced by our own Grocerant Guru® back in 1998 this is 2018.  How far behind the consumer are you today?
Consider this restaurant sector menu prices are up 2.4% through May 2018 and chain restaurant same store sales are up a 0.3% in May according to TDn2K The simple fact is many chain restaurant executives frequent long established food industry trade events to look for new jobs rather than hear new things according team Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  
When they do listen to educational event at an industry conference they nine times out of ten hear the same speakers adding no new insights only a new version of the same old metric, focus, of past relevance year after year. Well just how well has that worked.   
Black Box Intelligence, reports that same-store traffic declined by 2.9% during the month May 2018, a 150-basis-point decrease from April’s 1.4% decline. Does anyone think the business model for chain restaurants needs to evolve to stay relevant?
Reality check, hell yes it’s time for a reality check.  When Steven Johnson the Grocerant Guru® published his white paper back in 2012 titled The 65 Inch HDTV Syndrome, grocery store service deli’s, convenience stores, and new non-traditional fresh food retailers took notice but not chain restaurants as they were working very hard to ‘protect the brand’.
The fact is that brand protectionism has stifled customer relevance for most legacy restaurant chains.  Simply look at Boston Market’s a once thriving grocerant niche concepts store count in 2005, 2010, 2015, 2018 and you can see how adding table service, trying to look like a chain restaurant of 1980 help them as they reduced store count substantially between 2005 and 2018.
Is your chain restaurant staring to look more like Boston Market than Amazon Go or Bingo Box?  Are you selling fresh prepared food for yesterday’s consumers, today’s consumers or tomorrows?  If your sending your executive to industry trade events to the same person speak you heard 30 times the past 30 years you might be wasting your team members time.
If you just hearing about Netflix consuming more and more consumers time and leaving less time visit your restaurant I’ve got news for you your wasting your companies money, you’re wasting your employees time and you are losing customer relevance.
The fact is fundamental change requires evolving with the consumers thus not practicing brand protectionism you brand must to as alive as the consumer.  Consumers are not eating less food they are buying to somewhere else.  We know where and why they are buying.  It just might be time to call the Grocerant Guru®.  Don’t become the next Boston Market.
Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Where is your new electricity coming from?  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.

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