Saturday, January 15, 2022

With Help from a Restaurant Executive Bulk Plans to Disrupt Grocers


There is no doubt that the food industry is tired of disruption, supply chain problems, continuing customer migration, on top of the problems maintaining employees. However. no one cares if you are tired of doing what you have always done and are complaining.

In the case of grocery stores while they ‘spin’ to CNBC how much progress they are making, how sales are up, how great they are, they are forgetting to inform that that without inflation, the pandemic, that simply would not be the case.

In fact, regular readers of this blog know that in the last 12 years there are 50% fewer legacy grocery stores than there used to be.  They also know that there are 29 restaurants for every grocery store in the U.S. today.  Why, consumers don’t want to take the time to cook from scratch, but even more important they have distain for the time it takes to walk around a grocery store when they only need three or four items.

They also know that the average American buys only 100 items a year from a grocery store. They may buy those times weekly, monthly, but very few Americans buy more than 100 different items from their local grocery store.

Well, readers of this blog are not the only ones that know that. E-grocer Buyk is now planning national expansion after launching three months ago in NYC. Buyk is launching operations in Chicago with six “dark stores” to fulfill online grocery orders, which are delivered by bike-riding couriers dubbed "buykers."

Recently, Buyk announced its official launch in Chicago last week as part of plans to enter more U.S. markets in 2022. The e-grocer said it’s starting operations in Chicago with six “dark stores” to fulfill online grocery orders. Initially, the service is slated to cover the city’s Wicker Park, Bucktown, Old Irving Park, Ravenswood, Sheffield Neighbors, and Logan Square neighborhoods.

Plans call for Buyk to open another 14 dark stores in Chicago by the end of the 2022 first quarter, which the company said will raise its dark store count to 35 for both New York and Chicago. 

You will love this; Online grocery orders made via the Buyk app carry no delivery fee and aren't subject to a minimum purchase. So, if you have a smart phone, which most of us have now and you live in Chicago you can save time and money, while adding incremental convenience to your life according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  

Buyk CEO James Walker, stated, “Chicago is where trends, especially in retail, become mainstream. This is why Buyk has chosen the Windy City as the next frontier to disrupt the way Americans get their groceries,”… “We hope that unbeatable delivery speed and quality of products become as synonymous with our brand name as deep-dish pizza is with Chicago. We want to capture this growth momentum and bring this technology not just to big bicoastal metropolises, to which so many advancements are limited in the United States. Buyk wants to take instant grocery delivery in the U.S. inland, and our technology, smart unit economics and lean growth strategies will help make this a reality.” 

Growth comes fast, as the Chicago market entry comes just over three months after Buyk’s service made its debut with the launch of free, “ultrafast” grocery delivery in New York City. Buyk said its online grocery model combines its proprietary technology stack with a network of dark stores, or “new generation” micro-fulfillment centers, to deliver fresh food, groceries and other essentials — including household and beauty care items — to customers’ homes within 15 minutes. Buyk also offers local New York City brands and said it aims to expand its in-app offering to include a selection of local Chicago favorites. 

When you consider that each of the dark stores each carry 2,000 to 3,000 SKUs and are strategically located to enable maximum coverage in the fastest possible time, according to Buyk. The company noted that its technology optimizes the speed of order picking and delivery and provides detailed information on a hyperlocal level, allowing each dark store to tailor its stock to the communities it serves. 

If you are a urban home owner you will love that fact that when a order is placed via the Buyk app, orders require no delivery fee or minimum spend and are collected within two minutes for delivery by bicycle-riding couriers — dubbed “buykers” — in another five to 10 minutes, Buyk reported. The company said its fulfillment centers are similar to grocery stores, with shelves and refrigerators stocked with products available for purchase, and direct partnerships with local suppliers enable price-matching with area grocery retailers.

Buyk kicked off its service in Manhattan on Sept. 14 and then in early November expanded to the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, served by 20 dark stores. At launch, the company said it aims to launch operations in “the largest metro areas across the U.S.” in 2022 as well as develop a private-label offering “in the not-too-distant future.”

The back story: Buyk was founded by entrepreneurs Rodion Shishkov and Slava Bocharov, who previously started and ran Samokat, a Russian instant grocery delivery service and, according to the company, one of the largest operators of dark stores among on-demand grocers outside of China.

Walker, formerly senior vice president of restaurants at Nathan’s Famous, was named as Buyk’s CEO in mid-November. His 30-plus years of senior management experience in the hospitality and retail industries include such brands as Nathan’s Famous, Baja Fresh, Cinnabon and Subway.

Walker continued, “I’ve been highly impressed by both the company’s early success, as well as the proven expertise and track record of the founders. Add Buyk’s unique technology to the mix and you can see why I felt compelled to become part of the Buyk team,”... “I am confident I can bring great value to the company and drive our fast-growing operations to meet our ambitious goal

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

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