Friday, October 19, 2018

College Students Demand Increased Grocerant Options

Regular reader of this blog, ask me all the time, why don’t legacy grocery stores, legacy chain restaurants embrace the grocerant niche faster?  It’s simple they want to be what they were 5, 10, and even 15 years ago.  They demand that the marketing team practice brand protectionism according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
What does not change is that college students continue to be the undercurrent of visual change when to come to food, fresh food and on campus dinning. Once again, Ohio State dining services is bringing big changes to campus food and meal plans this fall.
Key among the changes is Oxley’s-to-go; which is located next to Oxley’s by the Numbers, Oxley’s-to-go is a new sandwich concept that includes more locally sourced food and the ability for students with a Traditions plan to use the to-go option.  Thus driving grocerant niche mix & match meal bundling to a new sector of college students empowering them to eat and obtain a meal the way they did at home according to Johnson.
Zia Ahmed, senior director of dining services. “We made some adjustments based on feedback, but this year we felt like it’s been a couple of years that we haven’t had a major revamp of the menu. The biggest changes to the menu have been made to the grab-and-go options available in cafes and market locations across campus.”
Here look at some of the mix and match options of the new grab-and-go items available to students are Japanese-inspired bento boxes, which are single-portion containers which traditionally hold rice, fish or meat and cooked vegetables. Also featured is a custard-like Greek yogurt panna cotta and several new salad options like spicy chicken and cobb.
“Our entire grab-and-go package we’ve revamped and made it a lot more brighter, colorful.” Ahmed said. “They were great before but we’ve made it even better by bringing in more color, more vegetables [and] more fresh items.”
Another big dining modification applies to the unlimited meal plan. Students with this plan will now be able to take Traditions meals to-go once per meal time, up to five times a week.
Ahmed said the change to the to-go option was based entirely off student feedback. “The majority of our ideas, if not all of them, come from student feedback,” he said. “Based on the feedback we received a significant interest from students who were using unlimited plans to have the to-go option available to them.”
Ahmed said he worked with Undergraduate Student Government to gauge what changes students want to bring to dining services. He and USG found that students with the unlimited plan pushed for the to-go option.
My friends let’s cut through the crap.  College students get it, why don’t you?  If you are a fresh food retailer today and your floor plan, menu options, food looks more like yesterday than tomorrow I bet you are capitulating customers?  How many restaurant chains look, and feel more like yesterday?  How are industry customer counts?  Maybe, just maybe it’s time you begin to look a customer ahead. 
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

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