Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Rutter’s Fresh Food & Beverage Innovation that Rivals Chain Restaurant Innovation


Everyone has heard of the Big Mac at McDonald’s, Whopper at Burger King, and the Chalupa Supreme at Taco Bell, chain restaurant messaging has been clear, on-target, resonating with consumers as we have noted today there are 29 restaurants in the US for every grocery store. 

However, let us not forget that 7 Eleven’s Slurpee was branded before any of those items and is sold in more countries at more outlets than any product offered at any chain restaurant according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Once again success does leave clues and our friend Don Longo, Editorial Director at Convenience Store News is one of the best at identifying, qualifying, and quantifying success within the convenience store sector according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

In the Battle for Share of Stomach

Are you Winning?

This time Longo informed us that the judges on the Convenience Store News Foodservice Advisory Council lauded Rutter's overall approach to foodservice, from dispensed beverages to fresh prepared foods giving them the well-earned title of prepared food innovator of the year.

One of the judges noted that, "They've always been progressive with prepared foods in general, but I think they really lifted their game in cold dispensed beverages with their Spiked Slushies and Xtreme Shakes,".

Reading on, it was also noted how well Rutter's adjusted its menu due to the pandemic (e.g., new comfort-food offerings). And the company's approach to marketing its offerings to consumers digitally via social media, geofencing and a new loyalty app did not go unnoticed. All in all, Rutter’s paints a picture of a retailer operating on all cylinders despite the global pandemic. Johnson noted, that today convenience stores look more like chain restaurants when it comes to targeting consumers and developing new food and beverage products.

So, Rutter's introduced Spiked Slushies to the Pennsylvania market before any other chain as regular readers of this blog know. Being the leader in this category allowed the retailer to innovate even more. In 2021, Rutter's introduced limited-time seasonal flavors to further spice up the category.

Just like most restaurants, the pandemic forced Rutter's to adjust its foodservice offering, which it's done with great success. Customers wanted comfort foods and brands they trust, so Rutter's introduced a second Beef Traveller option, along with SPAM as a limited-time offer (LTO) add-on available for breakfast, lunch and dinner items. Both have been huge hits.

Yet, they were not done, Rutter's also introduced Xtreme Shakes, candy-filled shakes that allow customers young and old to add their favorite sweets, like Kit Kat and Reese's, to their drinks. To add even more fun, Rutter's started offering LTO flavors, such as Key Lime Kit Kat, which customers enjoyed.

Marketing messaging is important at Rutter's as they found new ways to reach its customers, primarily through digital media. Platforms such as Twitch and Instagram have offered the retailer ways to reach customers who weren’t on-site as often over the past year. By using these, along with other social platforms, Rutter's was able to target consumer preferences in a strong way, with geofencing and demographic profiles. Like many other retailers, Rutter's trips have been down overall, but the chain's baskets have increased dramatically.

Rutter's Director of Fuel, Forecourt and Advertising Chris Hartman, "Through our new loyalty platform with Paytronix, launched in 2020, we also have the ability to now survey customers. This has allowed us to determine what's working and what isn't,"…  "We also rolled out menu screens above our foodservice areas, in many of our new stores and remodels, allowing customers to look at all we have to offer in a quick time period."

Hartman continued, “If one thing is clear it is that Rutter's believes innovation isn't just about having the most creative item, but about adapting to customer needs. "Thriving during a pandemic isn't something that was expected at the beginning,". "However, our great foodservice team, led by Robert Perkins, took it as a challenge and came out with an improved menu offering and creative flair that fit what Rutter’s customers want."

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

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