Thursday, August 31, 2023

7-Eleven’s New Grocerant Niche Tailgate Menu


Grocerant niche mix and match meal bundling has never been more convenient according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. This year 7-Eleven has rolled out a mix and match array of fresh prepared food and beverages that can be bundled into a customized and personalized perfect tailgate selection.  

Once again 7-Eleven is ready for football season with an array of undefeated deals on gameday snacks and hot foods. Customers can create the ultimate tailgate spread with a new menu available at participating 7-Eleven, Speedway and Stripes convenience stores.

New gameday grub includes:

·         Spicy Meat Pizza: This pie is topped with spicy pepperoni, spicy sausage, beef and bacon, as well as diced jalapeƱo and red pepper flakes. Members of 7Rewards and Speedy Rewards programs can enjoy a whole pizza for just $6.

·         Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks: These two-count breadsticks make a perfect cheesy snack on the go for $2.29, according to 7-Eleven.

·         Chicken Bacon Ranch Roller: A spin on 7-Eleven's iconic Buffalo Chicken Roller, this item is made with turkey bacon and packed with comfort food must-haves.

·         Korean BBQ Boneless Wings: The new sweet and savory Korean BBQ boneless wings are coated in a soy, garlic and pepper glaze sauce. 7Rewards and Speedy Rewards members can enjoy eight boneless pieces for just $8.

Customers can also stock up on snacks like 7-Select chips and Big Bite hot dogs that can be delivered directly via the 7NOW Delivery app.

Vareesha Shariff, 7-Eleven's senior director of hot food, stated, "With football season right around the corner — tailgating emerges as a celebration of camaraderie, competition, and of course, irresistible eats," ... "At 7-Eleven, we're not just fueling game day — we're driving the passion that brings fans together. With every bite, we're honored to be part of the tailgating tradition by consistently bringing new products and deals to the table to make every game day an unforgettable victory."

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Restaurants Wonder What to Do with the ‘Sober Curious Mindful-Drinking’ Customers


Have you noticed that younger generations are practicing “mindful drinking,” a philosophy that promotes meditation and awareness of the impact that alcohol has on overall mental health. If not you’re, not the only one Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® had not either.  However, after reading new research; he suggested we share a article by Lauren White Director of Client Partnerships-Beverage Alcohol and CBD,  So here we go:

“A noticeable shift has emerged among Millennials and Gen Z, with a growing interest in low-alcohol or nonalcoholic (NA) alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. This “sober curious” movement is driven by social media, heightened awareness of the impacts of excessive drinking, an increased focus on health, and the growth of other options (like cannabis) for socializing.

The rise of online communities like Sober Grid, which supports the sober curious movement, and participation in Dry January prove the growing interest in this lifestyle. Alcohol purveyors and brands that want to stay relevant must find a way to genuinely resonate with these consumers and align their offerings with evolving preferences. Not every brand is fit to jump on this bandwagon, but for those that are, it’s important that any NA or low-alcohol product offerings authentically fit with the brand’s image.

Why the Shift?

Embracing the sober curious movement is more than just a fad – it’s a reflection of the evolving values and priorities of the younger generations. Health consciousness, wider availability of options when socializing and the desire for higher-quality products have reshaped the alcoholic beverage industry. In fact, in 2022 alcohol consumption within the United States decreased slightly year over year, driven by economic conditions, personal health decisions, and the recent surge of nonalcoholic beer, wine and spirits.

Younger generations are also practicing “mindful drinking,” a philosophy that promotes meditation and awareness of the impact that alcohol has on overall mental health. A recent Harrogate Spring Water study found that 57% of consumers are trying mindful drinking and of those consumers, Gen Zers lead the way, with 69% choosing to alternate alcoholic drinks with NA or low-alcohol alternatives during social gatherings.

With so many pivoting to this new lifestyle, how can alcohol and beverage retailers and brands bring awareness and educate consumers about their offerings?

Listening and Adapting to the Sober Curious

Sober curious consumers and mindful drinkers are increasingly favoring quality over quantity.

With this shift in preference, a trend in premiumization has arisen, where brands are offering higher-quality, more expensive drinks for consumers who want to enjoy a great cocktail but desire to consume less. This also extends into the NA beverage market, with many companies offering sophisticated nonalcoholic beer, wine and spirit options. Companies like Heineken have championed this movement with Heineken 0.0, its alcohol-free beer that promises the same full-bodied taste as the original. High-quality alternatives have become a core part of many brands’ portfolios. 

According to a recent DISQO study, 32% of respondents said that they were curious about trying alternative beverages and 24% said that they’re supporters of such a lifestyle shift. Keep in mind that it’s important to know your consumer. If your target customer would be averse to a nonalcoholic beer, start with a small strategic launch, gauge the market reaction and scale from there.

Help Build Authentic Customer Connections

Targeted connected TV (CTV) and digital advertising are crucial for retailers and alcohol brands to efficiently reach the right consumers, build awareness and stay authentic. CTV in particular presents a unique opportunity: 62% of daily CTV audiences fall between 18 and 34 years old, making it an ideal channel for reaching the generations driving the sober curious movement.

For alcohol brands, CTV helps maintain responsible advertising through more granular audience data than traditional linear buys. Precise targeting on CTV allows marketers to serve all promotions, even NA promotions, to consumers of legal drinking age. CTV also enables advertisers to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests and viewing behavior. For example, the target NA audience may include health-conscious individuals, occasional drinkers or those sober curious consumers. Lastly, CTV can deliver personalized, relevant ads to the right audiences while they’re at home, relaxed and receptive.

Interactive digital video advertising complements CTV by offering a lean-in experience for mobile and desktop users. For example, educational content like product galleries, hotspots, recipe galleries and customer reviews can be included on interactive tabs within the video unit to invite audiences to engage and learn more about your NA or low-alcohol offerings on their own terms.

Retailers can tailor promotions to consumer preferences, optimizing product displays and offering personalized discounts. Store locator maps can even be integrated into the video ad to help users discover their nearest retailer offering NA or low-alcohol products, thus shortening the path to purchase and increasing in-store foot traffic. This level of personalization enables brands to provide customers with a more engaging and authentic experience.

The sober curious movement isn’t a passing fad, but a profound transformation in consumer behavior. Retailers and alcohol brands must adapt to these changing preferences authentically to remain relevant in market. By embracing this movement and engaging with consumers genuinely, retailers and brands can establish themselves as leaders in the evolving landscape of the alcoholic beverage industry.

Lauren White Bio: As director of client partnerships at Emeryville, Calif.-based, Lauren White has played a pivotal role in driving the success of high-profile premium CPG brands, specializing in the beverage alcohol and CBD categories. White is a founding member of Tech Up for Women and plays an active role in the Alliance for Women in Beer. She can be reached at”

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

At Bojangles Tailgating is a Branded Invitation


What could be more relevant, timely, or customer focused in the fall than a branded tailgating opportunity for a fresh fast quality hand held restaurant than tailgating mix and match bundled meal?  Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® thinks that Bojangles revamped Bojangles app are a prefect fit for fall. 

Yes, Bojangles is once again the go-to destination for sports fans and tailgaters this fall. With an all-new app and partnerships featuring the Carolina Panthers and college programs, the official tailgate headquarters is setting the stage for unforgettable gameday experiences. 

Tom Boland, Chief Marketing Officer at Bojangles, stated, "Bojangles is proud to be at the forefront of the ultimate tailgate experience," ... "Our delicious food, convenient new app, and exciting sports partnerships showcase our commitment to making every game day a memorable one. We’re thrilled to declare ‘It’s Bo Time’ and can't wait to celebrate the traditions that unite us."

Gameday Food Made Easy: Ordering Party-Sized Meals in the all-new Bojangles App

So, with the newly revamped Bojangles app, ordering a tailgate-worthy meal for pick up or delivery has never been easier. The all-new app boasts a gallery of delectable food photos, an array of customizable options, and a streamlined interface that reduces clicks and navigation time. Also new this year and available exclusively on the app, Bojangles will offer 25 pieces of its famous Chicken Supremes, two family fixin’s, five biscuits, and five sauces, packaged in a convenient party box to set up at any tailgate. 

Collegiate and NFL Partnerships

Bojangles announced 11 NCAA and NFL-branded Big Bo Boxes, perfect for the ultimate themed tailgate and allowing fans to enjoy 12- or 20-piece meals with their choice of Southern fixin’s, made-from-scratch biscuits and Legendary Iced Tea®. The team-themed Big Bo Boxes will be available at restaurants in each team’s primary market(s) while supplies last. 

·         Clemson University

·         Coastal Carolina University

·         East Carolina University

·         East Tennessee State University

·         James Madison University

·         North Carolina A&T University

·         University of Georgia

·         University of South Carolina

·         Western Carolina University

·         University of Tennessee 

·         Carolina Panthers 


In addition to the school-themed Big Bo Boxes, Bojangles will showcase murals resembling the coordinating Big Bo Boxes on restaurants of each of its partner schools, encouraging fans to get in the spirit with the ultimate fan selfie. 

Gameday Thrills: Partnering with the Carolina Panthers and Bryce Young

Bojangles is excited to team up with the Carolina Panthers, bringing fans an array of exclusive offers and rewards. Beginning Sept. 18, fans who download the Bojangles app can unlock a free Cajun Filet Biscuit when certain game incentives are achieved. This collaboration ensures that fans not only enjoy the game, but also savor the mouthwatering goodness of one of Bojangles' signature dishes.

In addition, Bojangles recently announced a multi-year partnership with Carolina Panthers’ rookie quarterback, and Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young, bringing together two hometown favorites. Attendees of Panthers’ home games can look forward to an immersive, augmented reality fan experience, which superimposes their photos with Young on the field or in the locker room.

Follow along on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter as Bojangles plans more surprises to help make this football season even more memorable.

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

Monday, August 28, 2023

Are you Bidding for a Collector's edition of founder's secret recipe comes with lifetime supply of sauce?


If you like Zaxby’s there is a very good reason you should be reading this blog.  Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® stated, consumers that like Zaxby’s ‘love Zax Sauce’ and this is one consumer focused promotion that is for you.

In case you have not heard, Zaxby's® is making history during Saucetember™, its annual celebration of all things saucy, by auctioning a single bottle of Zax Sauce™, signed by Zach McLeroy, Zaxby's founder and the creator of the brand's iconic Zax Sauce.

The collector's edition bottle—the first-ever bottled sauce from Zaxby's—comes with a lifetime supply of Zax Sauce. Proceeds from the "Zax Sauce for Life" auction will benefit The Boys' and Girls' Clubs of America. The auction opens to the public on eBay on Sept. 12 and closes on Sept. 15 with the winner to be announced on Sept. 18.

McLeroy, Zaxby's founder and board chairman, stated, "It's the first time Zax Sauce has ever been bottled, and it's benefitting a great organization with the Boys' and Girls' Club," ... "I created the sauce back in 1990, and it became a cult favorite among college students who were our earliest brand fans. I used to make every batch from scratch myself."

Here is a little background if there is not a Zaxby’s near you, for 33 years, Zaxby's has been known for two things: Indescribably Good™ chicken and Zax Sauce. McLeroy personally made the sauce and distributed it to various locations to ensure that no one single person would know the recipe from start to finish. Now the highest bidder can get a lifetime supply of the legendary sauce in the form of gift cards redeemable at participating Zaxby's locations and a one-of-a-kind collector's-edition commemorative bottle. For full details visit on Sept. 12.

So, this auction of this first-ever bottle of Zax Sauce celebrates Saucetember, the month Zaxby's has designated as a salute to sauce. In September 2022, Zaxby's dropped free sauce-flavored popsicles to mark the season. This year, Zaxby's is commemorating Saucetember by treating its loyal fan base to saucy in-app offers throughout the month, in addition to the Zax Sauce for Life auction.

To place a bid for a chance to win a lifetime supply of Zax Sauce, brand enthusiasts may enter the auction through on Sept. 12. Taking place on eBay, the bidding starts at $19.90 in an homage to Zaxby's founding year.

Patrick Schwing, chief marketing and strategy officer at Zaxby's, stated, "Our fans have been clamoring for bottled Zax Sauce," … "This bottle is the golden ticket to a lifelong connection to the brand and the sacred sauce that started it all."

Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Surprising WHYs Behind Gen Z's Snack Decisions


At the intersection of successful growth and looking a customer ahead is information that helps you drive branding ideations, and customer focused planning.  To that end Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® wants to share with you some new insights via a guest blog, that can assist you in looking a customer ahead.

Guest Blog By Hunter Thurman and Mary Mathes MA

Earlier this year, market research company Alpha-Diver and The Food Institute released the first ever Snack 50 Psych Pulse report, the industry’s first measure of the psychological drivers of consumer decision-making when it comes to snacking.

Alpha-Diver has now conducted a deep dive into The Snack 50 findings, unpacking unique insights regarding Gen Z’s snacking preferences. This young consumer edition disrupts many of the assumptions and conventions upon which marketers and retailers base their strategies.

This chart describes the four emotional jobs different snacks do for consumers and shows the top two snacks for each “job.” The analysis studied 12 categories of snacks overall, with an emphasis on packaged snack and sweets brands.


The report examines differences in preferences for snack “jobs” among Gen Z versus the overall population, revealing how this cohort differs and what it means for brands. The findings point to three macro differences for Gen Z when it comes to what categories and brands they decide to buy.

1.       They choose the chews

Two categories increased most significant in popularity among younger consumers: fruity / chewy candy and meat snacks / jerky. Corresponding brands within these categories jumped similarly in their emotional importance to this generation.




Further, behavioral science offers an interesting insight regarding these improvements: these are the chewiest snacks included in the study. It’s been widely reported that young consumers are experiencing potent levels of stress and anxiety. The field of psychology has found that the physical act of chewing contributes to stress reduction. So, it’s likely no coincidence that “the chews” are appealing to Gen Z.

This insight can be transformative in guiding innovation pipelines and corporate strategy.

2.       ‘Better-for-you’ may not be better-for-business

Snack categories like nuts reside in the ‘functional’ space – meaning they make rational, practical sense. Typically, this is the domain of better-for-you, sensible options. (Snack bars and pretzels also serve this emotional job).

With many headlines awash in the supposed importance of health and wellness for Gen Z, it’s surprising that snack nuts plummet in popularity among this cohort, dropping to #11 out of 12 (and the #12 spot belongs to pretzels).


Why don’t sensible snacks create the emotional voltage of their fun-forward (and generally less “healthy”) alternatives? Because snacking decisions for Gen Z are primarily about feeling better emotionally. Snacks’ role is to provide mental escape via an interesting experience, or just some feel-good satisfaction (and stress relief) that comes with salt, fat, and carbs / sugar.


It’s not that sensible options are irrelevant to young consumers, but wise marketers will adapt their offerings to address not only better-for-you functionality, but also a “better-to-you” emotional experience.

3.       (Name) brands matter

With ongoing economic uncertainty, most marketers are concerned about shoppers “trading down” to store brands / private label. However, the broader Snack 50 findings reveal that shoppers choose store brands not merely for prices, but because of social norms: shoppers perceive that other people like them agree Walmart’s Great Value, for example, is the best choice.

For Gen Z, however, the importance of social conformity drops considerably when it comes to snacking. Individual experiences drive decision-making much more. As a result, the rankings of store brands in our list drop across the board.




So, while the snacking decisions of Gen Z are often surprising, and counter to conventional assumptions, they are explainable. Experiences matter. Brands matter. And marketers have options beyond the price promotion race-to-the-bottom. Brands that heed these explanations, serving the core emotional needs of these consumers, will enjoy strong potential.

The complete report is available for download here.

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

Snacking Matters

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