Monday, January 31, 2022

Evolving Technology Continues to Help Restaurants Drive Sales

Remember cyberslice, cybermeals, and Back in the day Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® does, as he signed-up the first 7 national restaurant accounts for online food sales. Today, restaurant and most all food online ordering has migrated from the computer to mobile devices. Lots of different devices.

 To that end, the industry continues to evolve this time there is a new company dedicated to help ease the ‘pain points, cost, and speed of service for incoming orders.  That company is Deliverect, a software company that helps restaurants streamline delivery orders, better yet they have raised $150 million, so will be around to keep evolving food retail digital ordering.

Currently there are more than 20,000 restaurants that use Deliverect to route incoming orders from third-party platforms directly to the kitchen. It allows restaurants to ditch individual tablets for each aggregator and eliminates the need for workers to manually enter those orders.

Global growth company, Pret A Manger is one of those restaurants. Sarah Venning, chief digital and information officer for Pret A Manger, stated, "We’ve enabled significant growth for our delivery partner business and introduced a system that our shop teams love and find easy-to-use,".

Deliverect processed an average of 1.5 million orders a week in 2021, an increase of 300% year over year as more restaurant traffic goes digital. It's currently in use in 40 markets worldwide. Deliverect will use the funding to improve its technology as well as get into new industries including grocery and convenience stores as they quickly adopt delivery. It's also launching its own app store.

The last round of funding was led by Coatue and Alkeon Capital. Coatue noted the multiple forces driving the restaurant tech market, including changing consumer habits, the growth of delivery networks and the rise of all-digital ghost kitchens and virtual brands.

"We believe Deliverect is capitalizing on these trends with its goal to become a category leader with a mission to empower restaurants globally," said Sebastian Duesterhoeft, general partner at Coatue, in a statement.

In an omni-channel retail world you need more than one way for customers to reach you.  If you’re going to play within the grocerant niche you will be selling in many non-traditional retail food channels and you will need an application that can help you do that with ease.  Don’t stop now keep looking a customer ahead.

Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  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

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Casa Verde Meals Expand, Extend, Grocerant Niche Enjoyment


There is no doubt that grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is driving top-line sales and bottom-line profits in every sector of food retail today. According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, “Casa Verde meals are the perfect solutions for time starved consumers seeking a fresh fast full-flavored meal with transparency that are ‘better-4-you’.”

Casa Verde offers four different sustainable entrees that can be ready in just 60 seconds with a stovetop or microwave: Garbanzos Al Pastor, Lentil Mole, Coconut Chowder, and Red Bean Pozole. All of the ingredients used in Casa Verde meals are 100% plant-based, organic, sustainably sourced, kosher and non-GMO. The Ready-2-Eat meals are convenient and accessible to all and can be purchased through Casa Verde's direct-to-consumer site.

In case you have not heard of them, Casa Verde was founded with the purpose to nurture America with delicious food and bring affordable wellness to communities nationwide. The parent company name, Ilinel, directly translates to "The Plants That Nurture Us" from a Mayan language, a play on the Latin American heritage of the brand.

Casa Verde looked for ancient ingredients, culturally relevant flavors and ingenuous technologies to re-invent traditional Latin dishes that are usually heavily meat based. Founder Harry Lewis, who left the corporate world to explore his own wellness and Latin roots, wanted to pay homage to this history by creating a line of innovative Latin food products that are completely plant-based, but keep with what their ancestors would eat.

The halo of better-4-you food is one of the hallmarks of the grocerant niche. According to Johnson, the ‘halo is a key driver in customer migration from one brand to another. In fact recently FMI and NielsenIQ found continuing high demand among consumers for transparency from food retailers and manufacturers, especially in a more omnichannel landscape. According to the report, two-thirds of shoppers (64%) said that they would switch from a brand they normally purchase to another that provides more in-depth product information, beyond nutrition facts. 

Steve Markenson, director of research and insights for Arlington, Va.-based FMI, stated, “The data from this report strongly reinforce the old adage that honesty is the best policy,” … “Consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it gets made and that has held true even as the pandemic has changed grocery shopping habits. Whether online or in store, shoppers prefer brands that tell the whole story about their products.”

Sherry Frey, VP of total wellness with Chicago-based NielsenIQ, stated, “Transparency trends continue to evolve as omnichannel gains importance,” ... “As consumers demand greater transparency, brands have an opportunity to educate consumers, communicate sustainability and health credentials, and win consumer loyalty.” 

So, get this, in the area of transparency, ingredient and nutrition information remain top priorities for a growing number of health-minded consumers. For instance, 89% said that general nutrition facts about a product are at least somewhat important in deciding which products to buy when grocery shopping, while 66% said this was important or extremely important. In addition to nutrition facts, the majority (80%) of shoppers noted other important transparency indicators: allergen information, certifications and claims, and values-based information such as animal welfare, Fair Trade and labor practices.

In 2018, a little more than one-fourth of shoppers (26%) bought groceries online in the past 30 days. The recent FMI/NielsenIQ report found that this number has now grown to 55%, making the online marketplace a crucial spot for consumers to seek their favorite brands and discover new ones. For example, 47% said that discovery of new products – including information on sourcing and manufacturing processes – is easier online, compared with 23% saying that it’s harder and 30% saying that it’s about the same. In the realm of online shopping and transparency, shoppers said that they want faster delivery (42%), easier-to-navigate websites (37%), more and better product information (30%), retention of order history (29%), more accurate search functionality (28%), and product recommendations based on preferences (23%).

Across the United States there has been a large movement towards plant-based diets with sixty-five percent of Gen Z'ers wanting a more "plant-forward" diet and seventy-nine percent going meatless one-two times a week, but there are limited options that are both affordable and healthy. Additionally, there has been a recent boom in Latin foods and flavors.

A recent study conducted by flavor and fragrance innovator T. Hasegawa shows that forty four-percent of Gen Xers occasionally eat Latin cuisine and thirty-three percent regularly eat it. Younger generations are looking for more culinary options and cuisines, but studies have shown that many are unable to find quality, ready-to-eat options. Casa Verde will be the first plant-based ready to cook meal on the market. Creating a variety of meals that are easy, accessible, and delicious so consumers don't need to compromise on what they eat. 

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

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Drive Food Sales with Grocerant Fresh Food


Regular readers of this blog know that, Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson identified, quantified, qualified, then named the what is now the fastest growing sector of retail foodservice the ‘Grocerant Niche’ back in the day (1996) in a article in titled CALL THEM GROCERANTS published in Foodservice Director and Nation’s Restaurant News. 

The underling undercurrent of success fundamental the continued growth of the Grocerant Niche is the ‘halo’ of better-for-you that consumers find in grocerant offering including that today, consumers increasingly support mobile ordering.  Even more important is that today consumers are willing to paying more for it than they were in the past. 

In a report from Paytronix Systems found that consumers spent a collective $769 billion ordering food from restaurants last year, with 63% of that — or $486 billion —consumed at home.

Of the $486 billion, 89% was ordered via desktop websites, mobile apps and aggregator apps, the report found. Additionally, 61% of digital food orders in 2020 was spent at restaurants that had only offered dine-in service before the pandemic.

The report also found that consumers spent 50% more on average when they placed orders online for takeout. Where are you selling food?


Consumers continue to migrate to the attributes of the grocerant niche in every sector of food retail. The underling undercurrent of success fundamental the continued growth of the Grocerant Niche is the ‘halo’ of better-for-you.  So, if your fresh food is not portable you just might want to rethink how and where you will be selling food in 2025, or 2030?

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: or visit: for more information.

Friday, January 28, 2022

C-Store Parkland Corp Heat’s Up Food Focus


Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat prepared food offerings have as regular readers of this blog have known have been growing since the early 1990’s and now are the key drives of growth in every sector of food retail today according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. 

Johnson, is not the only one paying attention to disruption within the retail food sector driven by customer migration from brands not proving what customers want to those focused on grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food.

That’s right, you guessed it, Parkland Corp. understands those customer migration patterns as well, and that is why they are going to will acquire Mississauga, Ontario-based M&M Food Market, a premium, restaurant-quality frozen food retailer.

Now here is a company doing all the right things, starting with looking a customer ahead. The deal represents one of multiple steps Parkland is taking in its retail diversification strategy to expand its proprietary food offer, customer reach and its own food innovation pipeline.

Parkland’s Ian White, senior vice president of strategic marketing and innovation, stated, "This acquisition provides a platform to grow our food offer, expand our proprietary brands, and advance our digital and loyalty strategy," … "Consistent with our commitment to create convenience destinations, M&M's national store network, and innovative approach to food preparation and menu development positions us to offer high-quality food that complements our growing quick-serve restaurant offerings.

White continued, "We will grow these capabilities in all our operating regions and bolster our digital connection to customers by combining M&M and Journie rewards programs,"…. "We look forward to bringing On the Run and M&M together to help customers make the most of every stop."

The acquisition includes more than 300 standalone franchise and corporate owned stores; 2,000-plus M&M new non-traditional Express locations; and a well-established rewards program with approximately 2 million active members.

So, it’s this simple, M&M will create quality food options that Parkland customers can consume fresh-from-frozen, both on site and on the go, and prepared from frozen at home, the company said. Parkland plans to leverage these capabilities throughout its existing network and soon-to-be-launched standalone On the Run convenience stores.

Andy O'Brien, CEO of M&M, stated, "Parkland's On the Run brand is a convenience retail leader and we are excited to combine our two offerings," ... "M&M and its franchise partners share Parkland's customer focus and passion for quality food. The combination of our innovative food capabilities and Parkland's more than 3,000 retail locations in 25 countries creates an immediate runway of growth and expansion opportunities."

Here is how they are looking a customer ahead, as the acquisition enables key elements of Parkland's diversification strategy, including:

·         Advancing its enterprise food strategy: The deal adds a proprietary brand, experienced team, franchisee network and a scalable fresh and fresh-from-frozen food growth platform across all markets. Parkland will leverage M&M's expertise and track record of developing successful menus in its innovation kitchen to evaluate and develop additional fresh and quick-serve food choices across its network.

·         Advancing its digital strategy and creating a premier Canadian loyalty program: By combining Journie and M&M's reward programs, Parkland will create extensive cross-promotional opportunities and form one of Canada's premier loyalty programs.

·         Enhancing its On the Run customer value proposition: M&M will be integral to growing the On the Run network, bolstering Parkland's in-store, e-commerce and home delivery offers, and supporting its standalone convenience concept.

·         Capital-light: M&M leverages a well-established, highly efficient food preparation and distribution network, requiring limited capital investment to efficiently serve its retail locations.

·         Ratable cash flow with significant growth potential: M&M's royalty fee-based operating model creates a ratable stream of cash flow. Parkland aims to grow M&M's Canadian annual run rate adjusted EBITDA to approximately $55 million in three years.

Total consideration for the transaction is approximately $322 million, which will be funded out of existing credit facility capacity. Subject to approval under the Competition Act (Canada) and other customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. How are you looking a customer ahead?

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.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

7-Eleven Giving Headaches to Grocery stores and Restaurants


No matter what they seem to do, chain grocery stores, chain restaurants, and some new non-traditional fresh food retailers simply can’t keep up with the global leader in food retail convenience 7-Eleven. Why is it so hard?

According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® it is simple, with over 77,711 locations worldwide, everyone knows their name. Everyone one knows they try new things, keep prices down, and have faster service than most of their competitors.

7-Eleven is giving 7NOW mobile app users the golden treatment with the introduction of the 7NOW Gold Pass subscription delivery service to save move time and money.

That’s right saving both money and time for only $5.95 a month, customers can access the new 7NOW Gold Pass subscription delivery service and have delivery fees waived on all delivery orders on a selection of more than 3,000 products. The 7NOW Gold Pass service pays for itself in about three delivery orders per month, according to 7-Eleven.

Branding success while elevating the, Price, Value, Service equilibrium with additional customer focused benefits listed below:

·         Subscribers with a basket subtotaling at least $10 will receive other perks including the option to select a free product, such as a free small Slurpee drink.

·         Members of the 7Rewards loyalty program in the 7-Eleven mobile app will unlock double the rewards when they order delivery using the 7NOW Gold Pass Service.

·         For the first 14 days, 7NOW delivery is available at no cost.

Raghu Mahadevan, 7-Eleven senior vice president and chief digital officer, stated, "Our 7NOW Gold Pass subscription delivery service brings convenience to a whole new level, giving our customers the ability to order what they want, when they want it — and now as often as they want without an added delivery fee," .. "Whether our customers are ordering their favorite snacks and drinks for a fun night in with friends and family, or keeping their home stocked with everyday essentials, they can have it all with the 7NOW Gold Pass service."   

Regular readers of this blog know that 7-Eleven launched delivery in 2018 via 7NOW, and the introduction of new offerings — like the 7NOW Gold Pass subscription delivery service — is part of a company-wide commitment to bring value and delight to every customer experience both in and out of the store, according to the company.

All items available for order through the 7NOW app will be available through the 7NOW Gold Pass service throughout the United States and real-time tracking lets customers know when to expect their orders.

There is no reason for you to have a headache.  All you have to do is look a customer ahead.

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, FoodserviceSolutions.US or call 1-253-759-7869

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Hy-Vee Talking Success


Hy-Vee is elevating it branded messaging too drive top-line sales and bottom-line profits the old fashion way but with a twist that they hope with drive new electricity into it brand. Once again, a larger food chain retailers is leveraging a partnership to drive success. How is your brand building new electricity?

According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new menu related products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, free food / sampling, talking, beer, 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, full flavored and fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not completely different according to Johnson.

In a Battle for Share of Stomach

You Can Win

The new partnership is strategically targeting customers at the point of purchase, Hy-Vee has agreed to a multiyear partnership with Vibenomics Inc., a location-based audio out-of-home (AOOH) advertising and audio experience company to elevate its brands relevance. 

So, just what does that mean talking to consumers? Vibenomics broadcasts hyper targeted on-demand audio advertisements and curated playlists, delivered through flexible plug-and-play, proprietary Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled media players.

That said, they can do it within any combination of locations across its swiftly growing national footprint, unlocking a powerful new shopper marketing channel for reaching consumers during the critical final footsteps along the path to purchase.

Through a first-of-its-kind partner program, retailers can receive a portion of revenue for all advertisements sold by Vibenomics that play within their locations, giving them the ability to monetize their private airwaves and transform a legacy expense into a new profit center. Think about this, building your brand, while reducing the cost to do so.  Don’t you just love the retail foodservices evolving business model?

Beginning Feb. 15, Vibenomics will bring targeted, specialized music and messaging into more than 400 Hy-Vee locations across the grocer’s eight-state region. Vibenomics will work closely with Hy-Vee to determine which categories of advertisers, brands or specific products to promote on its airwaves while considering the type of shopper experience it strives to deliver.

Brent Oakley, CEO at Fishers, Ind.-based Vibenomics, stated, “We’re thrilled to continue building our retail media presence by partnering with Hy-Vee, an innovative grocer who sees the potential of monetizing their audio with Vibenomics,” ... “As a company, we’re evangelizing AOOH’s value and partnering with retailers like Hy-Vee to incorporate media capable of creating memorable shopping experiences.”

Get this, Vibenomics has made significant strides in owning the programmatic AOOH, reaching up to 63% of the total U.S. shopper population. The company recently partnered with Vistar Media to expand The Trade Desk’s omnichannel demand-side platform to support AOOH. Vibenomics also has an ongoing ongoing relationship with Kroger at more than 2,500 locations nationwide.

But that’s not all, with its cloud-based technology, licensed background music library, data integration capabilities, full-service team of audio experience experts, and network of on-demand professional voice talent, Vibenomics provides the right revenue-enhancing vibe for 150-plus advertisers in more than 6,000 locations across 49 states, reaching more than 210 million people.

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