Sunday, October 25, 2020

High’s Reinvents Renews Customer Relevance


Consumers are dynamic and brands need to keep up with consumers according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Consider this back in the day aka 1928, the High’s brand was born. Back then it was an ice cream store; grew into a ice cream chain, and at one time, there were more than 500 locations, making High’s the largest ice cream chain in the world.

Consumers evolve as their need-set, technology, and in the food space taste evolves.  Then they migrate too new and different avenues of distribution based on current customer relevant offerings. The world is evolving faster than ever.

Back in 2012, Carroll Motor Fuels acquired High’s and begin to build off of that strong heritage. Today, High’s is a chain of 49 convenience stores run by a team of 500 people. Yes, 450 store less, long ago but the C-store industries calling card was selling gasoline with fresh food as a bonus and cash cow is entering a era of reawaking as the automobile industry has shifted focus on customer demand from gas powered cars to electric.

Carroll Motor Fuels knows that and is moving forward, with new partnerships to drive new electricity into the High’s brand once again.  This time with a focus on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food too maintain customer relevance. High’s has launched a series of new foodservice programs at most stores, including new rotisserie wings, always fresh-brewed bean-to-cup coffee and new bakery items.

Baltimore-based High’s announced a partnership with Trout’s Supreme Seafood by debuting an authentic Maryland Jumbo Lump Crab Cake at 41 of its 49 stores. Looking and acting more like a chain restaurant than a C-store High’s once again is on the right track to drive long-term customer relevance in these evolving times.

High’s Food Service Director Sherryn Diamond stated “High’s takes pride in their hometown heritage and continues to find ways to celebrate Maryland in their food offerings,” …“Nothing is more authentic than a Maryland Crab Cake.”

With a renewed focus on food High’s is introducing their new crab cake as a standalone sandwich and as a platter meal, the latter of which includes the customer’s choice of one or two crab cakes and comes with both coleslaw and potato wedges. Regular readers of this blog know that hand held food for immediate consumption is the leading food purchased for both lunch and dinner.

While the sandwich is available at all food service stores, the platter is available at all High’s Kitchen locations. Both choices are served with a multitude of toppings that include the customer’s choice of old bay seasoning, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce and local favorite Saval mustard, along with fresh lettuce and sliced tomato.

High’s Dallas Wells, VP of Food Service stated, “We considered many of Baltimore’s well-known restaurants in our search to provide the best crab cake for our customers,”. “Our crab cake is quality, local and authentic made with lump and jumbo lump crab meat. This signature item is authentic for the Maryland Crab Cake connoisseur, as well as a real delight for customers looking for unique, delicious local fare.”

High’s is focused on driving customer relevant touchpoints in order to drive new electricity into the brand.  So, they have also launched a series of new programs at most stores, including new rotisserie wings, always fresh brewed bean-to-cup coffee, and brand-new bakery offerings. How are you driving new electricity?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply chain and includes such things as fresh foods, online ordering, delivery, plant based foods, sampling, toy’s, cereal, developing brands,  grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.

All food and beverage retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food and beverages that are portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different.  Does your retail path forward look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Why?

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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