Saturday, June 24, 2023

At Texas Born, Fresh Food Drives Customers Inside the Store


Convenience Stroes that sell gasoline and electricity for EV’s drive top line sales and bottom-line profits by getting customers out of their cars and into the store or food and beverage.  According to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® the fresher the food, the faster the service the higher sales inside the store well be.

Regular readers of this blog know that At Texas Born convenience stores, marketing messaging fresh food fast begins outside of the store.  Texas Born begings directing customers' attention to the brand's unique, fresh-made menu items begins before they ever set foot inside. From the fuel pumps to the building itself, everything serves a purpose.

Kevin Smartt, CEO of Texan Born, stated, "We start the messaging outside. You start seeing fuel at the pump," said, pointing to the food-centric digital and physical signage that drivers see as they gas up. "You see the outdoor dining facility. When you walk in, you get a very fresh-feeling store. You see a lot of different connotations of food."

This is done in service of making food a central traffic driver, Smartt explained during his presentation, "Distinguishing Your Store Through Constant Menu Innovation," at the 2023 Convenience Store News Convenience Foodservice Exchange (CFX) event, held in Nashville.

"We focus pretty much 100 percent on the food," he said.This food-focused mindset extends to the packaging, which combines strong marketing in the form of bold declarations of TXB's identity with functionality. For example, chicken tenders can be served in vertical boxes that fit in a cupholder and have perforation to allow airflow and prevent sogginess.

Just like most restaurant chains Texas Born, on the innovation front, launches a new limited-time offer (LTO) every quarter, which the team tries to plan a year in advance. LTOs generate consumer interest in trying something new, but they don't have to add to ingredient costs.

"We try to limit what we bring in. We want to use pretty much the same ingredients we have," Smartt said.

He pointed to TXB's pizza'dilla as "a big winner for us" that only required additional sourcing of pepperoni and sausage, with all other ingredients available for the existing menu. Other LTOs, like TXB's cubano quesadilla and pork 'n mac sandwich, have done well using minimal to no new ingredients.

The goal is for the team to constantly think about how to create opportunities for customers to shop and eat at TXB multiple times per week.

"That's our goal. We've got a lot of people coming to us two or three times per week, but we want them to eat with us two or three times a week," Smartt said. "So how do you keep your menu from being fatigued? This is one way that we do it."

Other ways to innovate and differentiate include thinking local and launching occasion-based menu items. After Austin, Texas-based Yellowbird Sauce reached out to TXB, the brands collaborated on items like TXB's fish taco during the Lenten season.

"I challenge you to think about who's in your area, what products are sold, what partnerships could you create," Smartt said.

Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® has once again retooled, reevaluated, calculated then evolved the formula and here is the new formula:  Price + Quality + Social + Portability = Value.

At Texas Born they understand that value is also a key differentiator as consumers try to get more bang for their buck. Smartt noted that it is still very possible to include value options on the menu that are still creative and high-quality. Instead of a full chicken sandwich, retailers might offer slider sandwiches at a lower price point, such as TXB's buffalo, BBQ and boom-boom pork sliders.

"We're trying to take the same products and just do it in a different way," he said.

Finally, while technology may not be menu innovation, it is innovation that is important to foodservice. TXB customers can use the retailer's mobile app to order food, use loyalty points to receive special rewards or donate to charity, and take part in TXB's subscription beverage program.

"You can order our food from our App, you can have it delivered and you can pick it up in the store. You can also order other convenience store items," Smartt said. "And when you get in our app, we're offering you other coupons and discounts on food in our app. We want to drive as much foot traffic or eyeball traffic to our app as possible, because that's how we learn about our customer."

The beverage subscription, in particular, is yielding long-term rewards despite offering members unlimited drinks.

"I can tell you from the majority of the data that we're seeing, they're all buying something in their basket when they're getting a free drink," Smartt said. "Customer acquisition is how we look at it as an owner. So I encourage you to think about being innovative, creative and [to] think about getting foot traffic in the store to go fast."

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

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