Monday, November 30, 2020

Healthy Lunch & Snack Ideas for Your Home-Schooled Kid


The holiday season is in full swing now and it is important they you remember that every minute with your family counts. Even when there are times you think that is not the case according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. That is why our Grocerant Guru® invited Olivia Chang from Yumble to be a guest blogger today.  Yumble understands kids and family dynamics we invite you to visit Yumble and think kids, kid’s meals, and fun family time this holiday season.

When your child is home-schooled, it’s essential that you have lots of healthy snacks and lunches that are easy to pull out at a moment’s notice. Busy parents know how important it is to keep a fully stocked fridge so that you don’t have to run out to the grocery store every day. 

If you’re feeling a creative block in the kitchen, we’ve whipped together some simple recipes below. Meal prep is the key to staying sane while you’re homeschooling. Some days call for an easy cold lunch that you can grab quickly and other days, you have more time to relax over a hot meal. Of course, for days when you don’t feel like cooking at all, you can always have healthy kid’s meals delivered!

 Hot Lunch Ideas

 Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowls: Instead of full-blown burritos, these bowls are perfect as a healthy meal option on a day when your kid needs cheering up. Prep the chicken in the morning by putting it in the slow cooker with mild salsa and it’ll be ready by lunch. Cauliflower rice is a healthy substitute for white rice and your kid won’t know the difference. Add all the trimmings your little one craves, from avocado to cheese. 

Baked Potato Bar: A baked potato bar is another perfect lunch option for your hungry kid. It’s simple, easy to cook, and fills them up. Make lunchtime fun for your kids by letting them pick out the toppings for their baked potato. Bacon, cheese, broccoli, sour cream, and chives are just the tip of the iceberg.

 Cold Lunch Ideas

 Hummus and Avocado Bagel Sandwich: Think outside the PB&J with this healthy bagel sandwich both kids and parents will enjoy. Take your child’s favorite bagel and spread a dollop of hummus on one side and a half an avocado on the other. Sprinkle salt and a squeeze of lemon for freshness. You can always add tomato, greens, and cucumber if you so choose.

Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups: If it’s rolled up, it’s likely your kid will find it appealing. The turkey and cheese roll-up is a classic that can’t be beat! You can roll them up on their own, or in a veggie tortilla. Serve with a bit of mustard and a side like carrot sticks or grapes.

 Easy Snack Ideas

 Creamy Fruit Salad: This tasty fruit salad makes for a sweet treat in the morning or afternoon. The best part is that you can use whatever fruit you have on hand and it will be delish no matter what. Mix up a large bowl and save it in the fridge for a couple days worth of snacking.

PB&J Apples: Remember when we said to think outside the PB&J? Here’s a fun twist on a snack that your child will love. You’ve probably tried peanut butter on apple, but you can also add jelly for a deliciously winning combo. You can even use almond butter if that is more to your child’s taste!

Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company 253-759-7869.  Are you looking for Kids Meals? Yumble just might be for you.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

White Castle Give a Gift that Keeps Giving


No one knows who their customers are better than the team at White Castle. Regular readers of this blog know that and that the team at White Castle also knows who your customers are as well. That according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  

Yes, the season to give gifts to friends and family is here and if you want to know how well the team at White Castle knows their customers just look at the branded way they are reaching out to their customers. White Castle’s is targeting key customer groups with unique gift ideas that will surprise and delight your favorite Craver.  Most of the customers targeted grew up with or on White Castle ‘sliders. They still love the brand and this is White Castle’s way of giving back in a consumer inviting branded interactive participatory way.

So, White Castle’s online store, the House of Crave, offers a cool collection of White Castle-branded products, from totes, ties and t-shirts to golf balls, ball caps and campfire mugs. This year, the site also features White Castle’s limited edition 100th birthday mug, created to commemorate the fast-food restaurant’s 100th birthday in 2021. The ceramic mug, which changes colors based on the temperature of the drink inside, is just $5.99 plus tax (while supplies last).

Jamie Richardson, vice president at White Castle stated “We exist to create memorable moments, and the holidays are among our favorite times to celebrate the crave and share gifts with family and friends,”  “Whether you’re near or far, this lineup is sure to surprise and delight.”

Yes, The House of Crave also includes a festive new apparel item sure to become a fashion favorite – the 2020 version of White Castle’s holiday sweater. Featuring the headline “Slider Season,” the royal blue sweater features the White Castle logo encompassed in a light-up snow globe, making it particularly striking when worn at night. Available in sizes XS to 5XL, it’s perfect for outdoor fun and household gatherings, not to mention for festive (and beautiful) sweater contests. And it pairs perfectly with White Castle’s branded face mask and royal blue beanie! Festive has never looked so good.

Check out the other fun and unique items that round out the top 10 items – all adorned with the iconic White Castle logo – in White Castle’s Holiday Gift Guide:

·         Limited edition 100th birthday mug

·         Holiday light-up sweater

·         Holiday socks

·         Reusable cotton face mask

·         Light-up glass ornament

·         Night Castle T-shirt

·         Autism Speaks hamburger scented candle

·         “By The Sackful” cookbook

·         Golf balls

·         Beanie

Free shipping from the House of Crave is available for all orders placed on Cyber Monday, November 30.

If serving convenient, craveable food is the holiday goal, then White Castle has customers covered there, too. White Castle is giving away $5 holiday promo cards for every $25 worth of gift cards purchased at participating Castles, now through the end of the year. That’s $30 worth of food for just $25! Gift cards can be used to purchase any menu item, including the new Crave Clutch, which holds 20 Sliders of any variety. Customers who sign up for White Castle’s new member loyalty program, Craver Nation, get a coupon for an original slider combo meal as well as other exclusive offers, including $2 off the Crave Clutch.

“And if you aren’t sure which items suits your giftee best, our White Castle gift cards are sure to satisfy their holiday Cravings,” adds Richardson. So, go after it. Order your git today.  As your me I asked Santa for two dozen White Castle golf Balls.  What do you want?

How well do you know your customer? Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Panera Gift Cards Can Include Unlimited Premium Coffee


Drink-up is the brand messaging Panera is sending to customers this Holiday Season.  Sharing is caring and Panera is empowering consumers to gift of unlimited premium hot drip coffee, iced coffee and hot tea.  That is a brand message that is interactive and participatory according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

If success does leave clues and it does interactive and participatory food marketing a hallmark of grocerant niche sales success, will drive incremental sales according to Johnson. Panera was the first national restaurant company to offer an unlimited subscription for premium hot drip coffee, iced coffee and hot tea.  Last week, Panera announced its popular MyPanera+ Coffee Subscription is now available for gifting. Well foodies get shopping. This is a good deal for office co-workers, friends, and family.

So, here is how it works; consumers can now give the gift of either two or three months of the brand's unlimited premium coffee subscription for a discounted price. Available for purchase beginning Cyber Monday (November 30), Panera coffee is the ultimate holiday pick-me-up for friends, family, or any coffee or tea lover on your list this year.

Customers will be able to purchase two kinds of digital gifts: two months of coffee for $15 plus tax or three months of coffee for $20 plus tax. Regularly available for $8.99/month plus tax, not only is the gift of MyPanera+ Coffee Subscription budget-friendly, it's also a simple way to give your holiday gifts, easily available for purchase from your phone or desktop.

Panera Bread Chief Brand & Concept Officer Eduardo Luz  stated "Our unlimited, premium coffee subscription has provided quality and value to our guests and has continued to grow in popularity since we launched this past March,"  "We are excited to provide our guests with this fun and unique gift option that is perfect for anyone on your list who needs a cup of optimism this time of year – whether it be neighbors, teachers, delivery workers or friends and family."

With the MyPanera+ Coffee Subscription, guests can get any size, any flavor of hot drip coffee, iced coffee and hot tea with unlimited refills in the bakery-cafe—that means plenty of coffee to pair with your favorite bagel, sandwich or afternoon sweet treat. Panera's drip and iced coffee offerings include two coffee blends—Light Roast and Dark Roast, freshly ground every day and made from 100% Arabica whole beans. Both coffee blends are available, along with Decaf and Hazelnut, as part of the coffee subscription program. Are you going to empower your friends to Drink-Up on you?

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 us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

Friday, November 27, 2020

Reef Kitchens a Brand Marketers Dream Come True

Virtual Restaurants, Ghost kitchen, are light on real estate, light on infrastructure (building cost), light on labor, and able to leverage brand marketing to drive retail growth.  The simple fact is building a foodservice retail brand cam cost you less today than ever before according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Both virtual restaurants and ghost kitchen are essential tools for every food marketers tool kit.

Regular readers of this blog have heard a lot about Reef Technology.  They know that Reef uses parking lots to offer services such as ghost kitchens.  Guess what they have now raised $700 million to expand the brand and your brand if you choose according to Johnson.

With a global view of successful growth the Reef Technology funding was led by Mubadala Investment Company, SoftBank Vision Fund, Oaktree Capital Management, UBS Asset Management, and Target Global.

So, think about the intersection of time and money, permitting, and construction cost being turned on its head when you think about the cost of growing your current business model. To date this is one of the biggest bets yet on the ghost kitchen model, a key part of Reef’s strategy.

Reef is a Miami-based company uses its network of more than 4,500 parking lots to create what it calls logistics hubs. These can include modular, off-premise-only “neighborhood kitchens” for brands including Nathan’s Famous and BurgerFi. Reef operates those kitchens as licensees.

Currently, Reef has more than 100 neighborhood kitchens in about 20 markets nationwide. It also uses the hubs for micro-fulfillment, COVID testing, pop-up clinics and vertical urban farming.  That’s right fresh fast retail distribution. 

Adib Mattar, Mubadala’s head of private equity stated, “The concept of transforming infrastructure to better connect the origin of production with the destination of consumption resonated with us,” … “Reef is strongly positioned to serve communities where they have key infrastructure, proving essential to food delivery, package delivery, grocery delivery and healthcare.”

Reef CEO Ari Ojalvo stated, “We are excited for this next stage of growth and are committed to continue learning, listening and working with our communities to reimagine urban real estate into localized and networked infrastructure that entrepreneurs and cities can use to deliver goods and services sustainably and directly to our neighborhoods,” .

In a separate move, Reef and Oaktree formed a $300 million venture to acquire strategic real estate to help Reef grow. Is your business model looking a customer ahead? Does your growth plan look more like yesterday than tomorrow?

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how our Grocerant Guru® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: FacebookLinkedIn, or Twitter 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Grocerant Niche Fresh Food to Get you Thinking about 2021

There are few people or companies that have followed, studied, or documented consumers migration to fresh foods and fresh prepared food as Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, based in Tacoma, WA Steven Johnson who has been doing it since 1989 and with Foodservice Solutions® since 1991.

However, a new study from Deloitte reveals how the pandemic is accelerating growth in fresh food.  In fact, that report finds that “Fresh food is more valued than ever—nine in 10 respondents say it literally makes them happy,”.  Let’s look at some of what they found:

1.        (54%) feel stress from shopping in-stores, resulting in less frequent visits.

2.       The emergence of safety as a prominent factor when shopping a store, though price continues to be a primary driver of fresh food purchase decisions.

3.       Nearly 90% of survey respondents said both safety and price were purchase drivers.

4.       And while “a majority of consumers (70%) still value drivers like sustainability and locally sourced foods, they are now less urgent than they were last year,”

5.       The numbers of respondents who shopped for fresh food multiple times a week dropped by half this year (30% in 2019 vs. 15% in 2020).

6.       In fact, based on credit card analysis, grocery stores are seeing less of some of their best fresh-purchasing customers as consumers who shop at least once a week comprise 80% of fresh food sales,”.

“Shifting consumer priorities and new habits brought on by COVID-19 continue to impact the fresh food category,” said Barb Renner, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. consumer products leader, in a statement. “With consumers spending less time commuting, they have more time to prepare fresh meals. However, they are conflicted and want to avoid the anxiety of shopping at multiple stores to purchase the fresh items they want.

The survey analysis of American shoppers, Deloitte further identified two different consumer profiles: conventional, which it defines as the 60% of consumers who have a traditional approach to their fresh shopping at the grocery store, and contemporary consumers (40% of those surveyed) who are driving innovation in the fresh food category in a variety of ways. Cultivating the contemporary consumer may be a key factor in continued fresh category growth.

7.       “Contemporary consumers value a new kind of convenience that now includes availability,” says Deloitte. Since the pandemic, that availability has moved increasingly online.

8.       Whereas 68% of contemporary consumers have bought at least some fresh food online, only 9% of conventional consumers have done so.

9.        (68%) of contemporary consumers now trust their assigned in-store shoppers to select the best quality fresh food items available.

10.   Contemporary consumers are also more willing to pay a premium for fresh food, and they’re buying almost twice as much of it as their conventional counterparts (50% versus 27%, respectively).

Now let’s think about what our grocerant guru® has been pointing out for the past 27 years, ‘increasingly consumers do not want to cook from scratch.  New avenues of distribution are important, and Gen Z and Millennials want full-flavored fresh food fast with a hint of discovery.  Are you ready to look a customer ahead?

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Honey Baked Ham Safe Food is Great Food


A great Holiday meal must first taste great but it also must be safe to eat and the Honey Baked Ham company plans to help make your holiday meal one of the best and safest they can and that is not only a good thing it is very reassuring in these uncertain times according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  This is value added brand messaging at its best.  

So, the Honey Baked Ham Company updated safety measures include buy online, pickup in-store order options, early product pickup incentives, and asking customers to minimize the number of people in their groups to reduce store crowding. These updates are in addition to the operational changes HoneyBaked introduced in March as part of their continued effort to keep associates and customers safe.

Dan McAleenan, Chief Operating Officer at The Honey Baked Ham Company stated, “This holiday season, we want HoneyBaked customers to be assured that our stores are taking all the proactive measures necessary to create a safe shopping experience,”  “Since the start of the pandemic, we made the health of our associates and guests our main priority. We are introducing convenient shopping methods like buy online, pick up in store options to speed up time in our retail locations. We also have curbside pick-up in select locations. With these operational changes, we hope more families can celebrate the season with their favorite HoneyBaked meals.” Here are HoneyBaked’s updated operational changes:

Encouraging Early Shopping: To minimize lines the days preceding the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, HoneyBaked is offering Gold Pick-Up Days. This includes a special offer of $8 off a Bone-In Half Ham for early pickup between November 20 – 22 and December 19 – 21. The $8 off coupons are available at The Bone-In Half Hams are guaranteed fresh for 7 to 10 days when refrigerated.

Streamlined Checkout Experience: The Honey Baked Ham Company is offering Buy or Reserve Online & Pickup In-Store options so customers can use the website for placing orders ahead of time, making store visits faster and easier when collecting purchases either in-store or at curbside pickup.

Delivery and Shipping: Customers preferring to stay at home can order their holiday meal through Uber Eats and PostMates and have it delivered (available at select locations).  Additionally, HoneyBaked has online shipping available for direct-to-door delivery. Online shipping orders must be placed by November 20th to ensure on time delivery for Thanksgiving and December 18th for Christmas. Honeybaked encourages customers to order early this year, due to high demand. 

Continued Proactive Steps In-Store: In response to the current environment, the product pick-up process has already changed. Customers will see a different register configuration, limits to the number of people in store at one time, and social distancing through controlled service lines with 6 feet spacing designated on floors. All frequently touched surfaces in the store are being thoroughly cleaned on an hourly schedule. HoneyBaked will also continue the pause on handing out free samples, as well as unwrapping hams for customer evaluation. How are you delivering a value-add brand message this Holiday Season?

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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Dickey’s Grocerant Ready-2-Heat Holiday Feasts for Thanksgiving


Are you sure you want to cooking a big holiday meal for the family and then pack up leftovers for everyone to take home? COVID-19 has most of us stuck home this year.  However, cheer-up you can still treat, your kids, grandkids, and family with a holiday meal on you.  It’s simple call Dickey’s Barbecue Pit they everything you need for your family to enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving with time left over to think about you.

Being socially distanced does not mean you can’t still enjoy the celebration with a meal according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

This year, Dickey’s customers can order individualized holiday box lunches containing slow-smoked carved turkey sandwiches, sides of cornbread dressing, bags of chips and cookies along with a to-go sauce of the guests’ choice. The family-owned restaurant brand is also offering a deluxe version of its new holiday box lunch option that includes an additional fan-favorite holiday side of southern-style green beans.

For mid-size gatherings of eight to 12, Dickey’s is also offering a new ready-to-eat Holiday Big Yellow Box which comes with sliced turkey breast, cornbread dressing, gravy, baked potato casserole, green beans with bacon and a dozen buttery rolls.

Available for pickup and delivery throughout the holiday season from participating Dickey’s locations, guests can enjoy these heat-and-eat options:

The Complete Feast – Choose from smoked turkey, prime rib, Cajun-fried turkey or spiral ham along with cornbread dressing, gravy, baked potato casserole, green beans with bacon and a dozen buttery rolls.

The Dinner Feast – Choose from smoked turkey, prime rib, Cajun-fried turkey or spiral ham along with cornbread dressing, gravy and a dozen buttery rolls.

À La Carte Menu – Order any of Dickey’s slow smoked holiday meats of savory sides individually.

Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants stated, “This year is anything but traditional and we want to do what we can to help make sure that all of our guests enjoy Thanksgiving without the added stress of having to cook,” says “Our holiday feasts have always been a big hit and this year, we’ve debuted the Holiday Big Yellow Box, which is a delicious Ready-2-Eat option. Whether you’re looking for delicious, high-quality sides, slow smoked meats or dessert, Dickey’s is here to help.” You can order and pick up and or have delivery from most locations. Have a Happy Thanksgiving Meal or Give a Thanksgiving Meal.

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.