Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Aldi Freshens Up

 


The fastest growing grocery store in the U.S is Aldi.  They have plans to not only open up more stores, but drive incremental sales in existing units.  Recently Aldi unveiled the first Aldi Corner Store, a new local, art-infused, urban-oriented small format store that add customer focused fresh elements that will drive top-line sales and bottom-line profits according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Aldi the sister company to Trader Joe’s, tapped global design firm Landini Associates for a design that aims to move the traditional Aldi model to a fresh local format for urban settings. Created in close collaboration with the retailer's executives, the format builds on the success of Project Fresh, Landini Associates' nationwide redesign of Aldi Australia's large stores.

Huw Longman, director of the Aldi Corner Store project, stated, "Aldi is (are) proud to present an elevated, never-before-seen, convenience-driven store format that is both uniquely different and recognizably Aldi," …. "The new Corner Store layout is aligned to the needs of a local, largely walk-in customer base, with simple navigation, self-checkouts, fresh offerings, quality products and everyday low prices, with a nostalgic neighborhood feel."

So, Aldi is emphasizing urban locations, the project focuses on refurbishing existing buildings vs. constructing new properties to reach it growth targets. The Aldi Corner Stores continues to concentrate on its core items — grocery and fresh produce — which are now supplemented by a growing assortment of (grocerant niche) ready-to-go meals, convenience-based products, a new takeout coffee, and artisanal bakery offering. Millennials and Gen Z are migrating to Aldi in search of food discover as Aldi is well-known Special Buys are a major feature at the Aldi Corner Store.

Aldi is a recognized global food retail leader, so the design from Landini Associates highlights Aldi's dedication to corporate responsibility. To evoke a consistent brand atmosphere and customer experience, each Aldi Corner Store will feature sustainable materials such as pale brick, white tiles, blockwork, terrazzo, black steel and galvanized steel mesh, timber palettes, oak and walnut.


Get this, Aldi is opposed to featuring neighborhood photographs or signs describing each location, so the Aldi Corner Store design celebrates its communities through strategic local art partnerships. For the inaugural store, located at 99 Mount St. in north Sydney, Australia, local artist Joel Moore was commissioned to decorate both the interior and fa├žade. That’s a good brand building move creating “my Aldi’.

Mark Landini, creative director of Landini Associates, stated "We wanted to create a solution that is both a design signature and memorably Aldi, but also something truly different," ... "We have ensured that each Aldi Corner Store will be recognizable and distinct, both in the design parameters and in this first store by commissioning a unique artwork."

While the Aldi Corner Store was commissioned by Australia for Australia, it must be noted that local smaller formats are becoming increasingly important globally. America is run separately from the other regions [at Aldi]; however, Australia has had a growing influence on the evolving design in other markets according to recent press reports.  Aldi, fresh, fast, affordable food discovery.

For international corporate presentations, regional chain presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact: Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions.  His extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand / product positioning expert, and public speaking will leave success clues for all. For more information visit GrocerantGuru.com, FoodserviceSolutions.US or call 1-253-759-7869




Monday, August 30, 2021

Gopuff Dinner and a Drink Made-to-Order

 


Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food continues to be the undercurrent of food, beverage, and snacking success in every retail food channel today according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Gopuff’s understanding of the undercurrents driving food consumers channel migration is the best in the industry according to Johnson.

With Gopuff’s new grocerant niche ‘made-to-order’ hot and fresh food placed at retail alongside everyday essentials and beverages the ability to drive incremental top-line sales and bottom-line are on track. Gopuff's new mobile kitchen facilities are within or adjacent to its micro-fulfillment centers, enabling customers to order breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night food and drinks alongside any other essentials all in a single order for a flat fee of $1.95.

Daniel Folkman, Gopuff's senior vice president of business, stated, "With today's news, Gopuff is launching a completely new category and raising the bar on how technology is making our lives more convenient," ... "Nowhere else can you order your everyday essentials while also taking care of dinner for the family or getting a quick coffee, all from one platform. This is only possible through our unique business model that features a network of hundreds of our own micro-fulfillment centers, and now, kitchens. Today's milestone represents a new way of thinking about the Instant Needs economy and will redefine consumer expectations."

So, Gopuff uses it proprietary recipes and sources ingredients from local partners to offer a mix of healthy and indulgent menu items, including hot, freshly prepared pizza, chicken tenders, salads, fresh-brewed coffee and matcha, and breakfast sandwiches.

During, the initial pilot program, Gopuff delivered hundreds of thousands of orders across more than 20 micro-fulfillment centers, including in Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, Ariz.; Miami and Tampa, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Philadelphia. Gopuff plans to launch additional kitchens across the country by the end of this year.


Regular readers of this blog know that, Gopuff acquired Bandit, the first app-only coffee shop in the United States, launching the company's fresh food offering and jump-starting Gopuff Kitchen. Bandit was co-founded in just two years ago.

Crowley a co-found of Bandit and now Gopuff's vice president of business expansion, is now leading Gopuff's business expansion efforts, including the Gopuff Kitchen vertical. Crowley stated, "We started Bandit with a focus on improving the customer experience, understanding that consumer preferences were rapidly shifting to mobile orders, especially for fresh everyday items such as coffee... "Together with Gopuff, we are taking this mission to the next level and beyond by making it easier than ever to get everyday essentials alongside quality food and drinks all in less than thirty minutes."

Customer relevance matters and Gopuff has made a major push into local products, having launched more than 1,100 local products from more than 300 partners, including local in-market supplier partners, like La Colombe, Au Fournil and Dizengoff in Philadelphia, and Cartel Coffee in Phoenix, as well as Bandit in Austin. Some of those items are also featured in their Gopuff Kitchens.

Extending the halo of ‘better-for-you’ Gopuff Kitchen consists of a proprietary all-electric fleet and maintains "clean cooking," meaning no open flames, odors, propane gas or fryers, and no combustion in the cooking or climate control processes. Gopuff's innovative modular design also allows the kitchens to adapt menus and equipment to the preferences of the communities it serves.

How fast are you growing? If you did not know, Gopuff currently operates more than 450 sites across North America and the United Kingdom, including 285-plus micro-fulfillment centers and 185-plus recently acquired BevMo! and Liquor Barn locations.

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 edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 






Sunday, August 29, 2021

Now GNC Enters Meal Delivery

 


Who is your next competitor?  Last week the new entrant in the race for a larger share of stomach is GNC.  They are now selling meals and offering meal delivery.  Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® asks if you are a chain restaurant, C-store, or grocery store why does your product mix look more like yesterday than tomorrow’s?

In a partnership describe as a natural extension GNC is entering into the meal delivery space through a new partnership with RealEats. Yes, GNC the retailer focused on holistic health and wellness is adding more to its plate (like that).  Extending customer relevance, and the ‘halo’ of better for you GNC is not only a new meal competitor it is a powerhouse of ‘better for you’ messaging that will drive new electricity into grocerant niche fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food sales according to Johnson.

GNC CFO, Cam Lawrence, stated, It’s a natural extension for the retail brand, both literally and figuratively.  Helping our customers live well has been at the heart of what we do at GNC since we were founded in 1935 and has never been more relevant that it is today,”

Lawrence continued, “This exciting partnership was a natural fit for our business that expands our product line to include diverse and delicious meal options, and give GNC consumers access to fresh, healthy meals across multiple channels.”

Battle for Share of Stomach



So, GNC customers can choose from different meal bundles that can be ordered through the company’s website. Choices include meals designed for specific consideration or diets, such as meat-free or lower-calorie dishes. Available in vacuum-sealed packaging for quality, food safety and shelf life, RealEats meals are made with ingredients free of additives or preservatives, many of which are locally sourced.

Npte: The meal deliveries will begin later this year, with service available throughout the United States.

RealEats, founder and CEO Dan Wise, stated, the partnership provides an opportunity to expand its footprint at a pivotal time of growth for the subscription meal delivery service. I started RealEats as a busy, single dad who wanted to provide fresh, nutritious dinners for my two young boys, but didn't have the time to do grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning. Through this new partnership with GNC, we will be able to deliver our nutritious and delicious meals to a whole lot more people,” RealEats will garner the ‘halo’ of better for you with this deal that will drive incremental customer relevance and new electricity.

So, how are you creating new electricity?  According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”  That said, what are you waiting for?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.

All retailers 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.  

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 edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 




Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dollar Stores, Grocery Stores, C-store Garner Restaurant Consumers

 


Success does leave clues, those who pick them up win, those that do not loose.  Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® says, “watch what customer do, where they shop you will pick up all of the success clues you need to drive your business forward.

Travel app GasBuddy and convenience retail software provider Professional Datasolutions Inc. (PDI) last week issued their first joint report that examines how the pandemic has influenced shopping behavior in the $650 billion fuel and convenience industry.

So, the “Buddy Up: C-Store Shopper Insights” report combines GasBuddy consumer survey data from more than 15,000 convenience retail consumers across all key U.S. geographic locations and PDI consumer-buying data from 5,500 mid to large-size convenience retail sites across all key U.S. geographic locations from its Insight Cloud solution. The inaugural report’s focus, The New Pandemic Consumer, utilizes this data to identify changes in c-store shopping habits from 2020 to 2021.

Key Findings

·         C-store shoppers have grown over 4% in the past year compared to 5% growth in grocery and 6% in dollar stores.

·         Younger, female shoppers make up a majority of the c-store customer base.

·         75% of consumers are shopping for fuel in 2021, up from 68% saying so in 2020.

·         86% of respondents are paying close attention to retailers’ commitment to the safety of their employees.

If you are a restaurant chain that has lost customer you now know where they have gone.  Looking for younger female shoppers?  Guess what they are on the move.  Does your restaurant brand look more like 1995, than 2022 or yesterday vs today? Brands must be dynamic not static.

Battle for Share of Stomach


Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, stated, “By integrating GasBuddy’s vast consumer data insights with PDI’s already robust capabilities, it provides a more comprehensive view of the fuel and convenience retail industry,” ... “This report highlights how our industry is ripe for growth as the pandemic has caused consumers to value convenience more than ever. Brands that are optimizing for this new breed of shopper — like providing delivery services and special offers on food or gasoline, and focusing on cleanliness — are seeing more transactions and customer loyalty.”

In case you did not know, PDI acquired GasBuddy in April 2021, furthering innovation across the spectrum from wholesale to retail, from canopy to store. The “Buddy Up: C-Store Shopper Insights” report is the first of a series of quarterly joint reports, combining PDI transactional data with GasBuddy consumer survey responses.

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 GrocerantGuru.com for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.



Friday, August 27, 2021

Long John Silver's Seafood is ‘Better for You’

 


Consumers love seafood, but don’t want to cook it at home, or so the old pundits say.  That said, Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® acknowledges that research shows that the ‘halo’ of better for you is extended to 87.3% of all types of seafood including items that are deep fried.

In an effort to extend that halo, Long John Silver’s is the first major national seafood chain to offer plant-based seafood options. In partnership with Gathered Foods, makers of Good Catch Plant-Based Seafood, America’s favorite seafood restaurant is rolling out two new plant-based menu items for a limited time in select markets that will drive new brand electricity according to Johnson.

So, how are you creating new electricity?  According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”  That said, what are you waiting for?

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.

All retailers 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.  

So, consumers will be able to choose from two Long John Silver’s classic menu items, now with a plant-based twist. Good Catch Crab-Free Cakes are packed with 15g of plant-based protein per serving and features lump crabmeat taste and texture complemented with sweet peppers, green onions, parsley and a kick of spice.

Now, if a fillet is what you’re after, Good Catch Fish-Free Fillets are the crispy breaded, tender, flaky whitefish texture you’re looking for and deliver 12g of plant-based protein per serving. Good Catch Plant-Based Seafood is made using a proprietary six-legume blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans, and is free of GMOs and dairy. 

Christopher Caudill, Vice President of Marketing of Long John Silver’s, stated, “Our mission is to make the unique seafood experience from the coasts accessible to all,” ... “We believe plant-based seafood, furthers that mission by making Long John Silver’s accessible to guests who are hungry for more plant based protein option. It’s also a great addition for fans of our classic sustainably sourced, wild-caught fish who are curious about a new take on their seafood favorites. We’re excited to set sail with Good Catch on this test.” 

While supplies last, Long John Silver’s customers can purchase the two new plant-based options from any of the locations below:  

  • 3801 Ming Avenue Bakersfield, CA 93309 
  • 7228 Stockton Blvd Sacramento, CA 95823 
  • 406 W. Shaw Ave. Clovis, CA 93612 
  • 52 Bullsboro Drive Newnan, GA 30263 
  • 1805 N. Slappey Drive Albany, GA 30014 


Christine Mei, CEO of Gathered Foods, stated, “We’re thrilled to partner with Long John Silver’s for their first plant-based offerings. This is a groundbreaking milestone for both the quick service and plant-based sectors,” ... “We provide consumers with a delicious alternative to animal-based seafood, delivering the taste, texture, and comparable protein of the seafood they crave.  And with the plant-based seafood industry expected to grow to a staggering $1.3 billion in the next ten years, Long John Silver’s and Good Catch are on the leading edge of a long-term movement.” 

Don’t over reach. Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions® can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit us on our social media sites by clicking the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter



Thursday, August 26, 2021

Fresh Fast Famous Virtual Restaurants Leave Legacy Chains Restaurant Languishing

 


At the intersection of food trends, consumer eating patterns, and technology Gen Z and Millennial consumers have disrupted traditional avenues of fresh food distribution because they were two slow to evolve according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

There was a time that independent local restaurants embody the American ethos of menu creativity, distinctive flavor profile, and were the fastest to respond to a change of operating circumstances. Chain restaurants would watch what worked for independent restaurants, see what consumers (liked) were buying elsewhere then copy it, advertise, and regain market share. They the chains would spend big dollars promoting “copycat’ menu items to drive sales. Those days seem to be gone according to Johnson.

Consumers in search of food discovery have changed all that. Restaurant chains once nimble focused and quick to respond, have been “simply watching from the sideline” according to Johnson as virtual restaurants garner the attention of consumers.  It would appear that many legacy chain restaurants are waiting for the days of old to return. The facts seem to show that they simply can’t keep pace with all of the new entrants disrupting the landscape of food consumption.  Many chain restaurants reeling from the pandemic, don’t want to move forward they appear to want the old days to return.  Good luck with that.  They wonder what or who’s coming after us next?  Let’s take a look.

In a Battle for Share of Stomach

Are you a 'Player'




Well, here is one person that is; content creator, musician, and YouTube sensation Larray recently announced the launch of his very-own virtual restaurant brand called Larray’s Loaded Mac. 

So, as one of the fastest-growing, multi-hyphenate creators worldwide, Larray’s music, style, and vibrant personality have captured audiences globally and resulted in a loyal following of fans and nearly 40M followers across YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Now, Larray is adding restaurateur to his digital profile as he debuts Larray’s Loaded Mac in partnership with Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC).

Robbie Earl, VDC co-founder, “We are focused on working with digital-first talent by helping them create an ownable virtual dining brand,” … “By tapping into the creator economy, we’re not only playing a part in growing the influencers’ personal brands but also further helping the restaurant industry leverage the digitally native community.

Having Larray join the virtual food space provides him with another way to engage his fans, this time with food deliveries in 30 minutes or less, and have them be a part of something that means so much to him.”  Johnson asks, can your restaurant or food outlet deliver your grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals or meal components in 30 minutes?

New networks of “virtual chains” are emerging, for example, as explained in the New York Times, when a customer ordered from the MrBeast Burger in Midvale, Utah, the food was prepared at a Buca di Beppo location following a standardized MrBeast recipe.  

Virtual Restaurants, virtual kitchen, or ghost kitchens now reflect the American ethos of menu creativity, distinctive flavor profile, and are fastest to respond to a change of operating circumstances more important they have become food marketing powerhouses driving customer adoption. Johnson, went on to say they are doing that while simultaneously building a brand and evolving a menu.


Driving down the cost to start a brand or open a restaurant, essentially, virtual restaurants have no physical storefront. Cooks prepare food for delivery or take-out, and no dine-in options are available to customers. Virtual restaurants typically leverage websites, social media, and various third-party apps to reach their customers and offer alternative means for restaurants to continue operations and generate much-needed revenue.

Food marketing trumps a physical location aka a store front as digital technology via a mobile smart phone is in the hand, the pocket, or on the ear of 85.7% of the U.S. consumers. Virtual restaurant branding is driving by creative food marketers use of descriptive names.  So while, Millennials and Gen Z are seeking fresh food fast. Marketing and technology matters because limited screen space and time to engage with potential customers, a brand name that not only identifies the ghost kitchen but also highlights the available fare could be the difference between a sale and a customer’s continued scrolling.

The question today has become not who is our competition, but rather how fast will competitors be coming after us.  Then what are you going to do about it when they come? If success leaves clues and it does it clear that the grocerant niche filled with fresh prepared food that is either Ready-2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat is set to ramp up once again. 

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: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or visit: us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter