Thursday, February 29, 2024

Is Self-Checkout Technology Better than an Employee


In a time when there are more digital natives working and spending money than ever before retailers are evolving to give them what they want and according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® that means technology. There is no doubt that more and more retail foodservice executives are embracing self-checkout (SCO) capabilities, whether they already have kiosks in place or plan to install stations in the future.

Once again, there is a new survey was conducted on behalf of NCR Voyix Corp. by Incisiv entitled "The State of the Industry: Self-Checkout in Convenience & Fuel and Food & Grocery Retail," revealed 43% of retailers have mature SCO networks, while an additional 17% are planning to further scale up their self-checkout deployments.

SCO adoption rates currently vary by retail vertical; about half (53%) of retailers in the food and grocery segment have mature SCO adoption vs. 34% of retailers in convenience and fuel industry. However, convenience and fuel retailers plan to catch up quickly, with 37% currently piloting or scaling SCO deployments, according to the report.

Executives who have already implemented SCO reported benefits for both retailers and shoppers.  Now let’s look at some of the numbers that I’m sure will surprise you:

·         79% reported a better customer experience

·         75% believe the SCO stations enhanced store layout and space utilization

·         58% reported lower labor costs

·         51% reported improvements in operational efficiency

"Self-checkout is now essential for retailers aiming to provide a better and more convenient checkout, while also freeing up employees for other engaging and critical tasks like helping customers in the aisles or keeping inventory stocked," said Eric Schoch, executive vice president and president, retail at NCR Voyix.

Polled executives also commented on common technology woes:

·         Less than half (48%) reported it taking more than a month to roll out a standard bug fix or update at SCO terminals.

·         Nearly all (94%) retailers encounter challenges implementing simultaneous software updates across their store network.

To download the full NCR Voyix Corp. by Incisiv report entitled "The State of the Industry: Self-Checkout in Convenience & Fuel and Food & Grocery Retail," click here

Headquartered in Atlanta, NCR Voyix provides digital commerce solutions to the retail, restaurant and digital banking industries through comprehensive, platform-led SaaS and services capabilities. It employs approximately 16,000 staff members in 35 countries.

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, February 28, 2024

Finding Food Sales Success at the intersection of Share of Stomach and Share of Wallet.


Retail food sales success can be found at the intersection of growing your share of stomach and your share of wallet according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® who stated these two metrics play a crucial role in understanding consumer behavior and competitive dynamic driving success today within the food industry.

The grocerant niche is filled with Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food that can be portable and is found at all of the sectors listed below. Let’s first try to understand the term Share of Stomach.  So, Share of Stomach refers to the portion of a consumers food spending allocated to different types of eating options.  It answers the question: “Of all the money a consumer spends on food to eat themselves, where does the consumer spend it.  

The various options include but are not limited to:

1.       Fast food Restaurants

2.       Convenience Stores

3.       Dollar Stores

4.       Grocery Stores including Service Deli

5.       Meal Kits

6.       Full-Service Restaurants

7.       Stadium Food

8.       Street Fairs

9.       Limited-Service Restaurants

10.   Third Party Food Delivery Companies

So, just why is Share of Stomach important?  All food retailers need insights into what the consumers is eating in order to identify emerging trends consumption to evolve their menus, meals, and snack options to maintain customer relevance.

These insights include preference of consumers for the ilk; Hand Held Food for Immediate Consumption vs Sitting down at a table to eat. Drive-thru and pick up a meal vs Walk-in and Order a meal too go at a counter, Burger vs Pizza, Chicken vs a Steak, Spicy vs Bland.

Measuring share of stomach is done by data aggregators use polling or publicly available sources including U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect share of stomach data. In addition, some firms track consumer credit and debit card transactions, segmenting them by establishment type / fast food, service deli, convenience store, grocery, bodega, online aggregator, stadium, street fare, etc.

Share of Wallet on the other had focus on how much a consumer spends within a sector aka grocery, convenience, restaurant, dollar store etc. With emphases on “how much a consumer spends on a specific brand’.  That is done within sector for example grocery Walmart, Kroger, Publix, Aldi then the same within Fast food example McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC etc. Then in Grocery for example companies drill down on category brands the ilk of Hunts, Hines, Kraft, Tyson, etc.

Share of Wallet answers the question “What portion of a customer’s total spend does a business capture?” While share of stomach looks at a broader food buying habits, share of wallet zooms in on specific brands. 

All that said, its where Share of Stomach and Share of Wallet intersect that brand value can be found and that is the intersection that can garner new customer if the retailer is leveraging relevant messaging that edifies both the consumers need set along with the undercurrent food trends.

The need to understand both metrics is required to maintain customer relevance as these metrics provide insights into consumer behavior, guide menu and product planning, and help brands adapt to changing trends.

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Amazon’s Data Drives Fresh Food Fast with Reservations for Grocery Pick-Up or Delivery


On average, grocery shoppers buy approximately 260 different items at the grocery store throughout the year, with just over 100 of them food items. It’s interesting to note that grocery store typically stock, a much larger variety of products, with an average of 35,829 items.  According to Steven Johnson grocery stores understand just how diverse out country is and reflect the way we continue to be the melting pot.

Amazon’s new Recurring Reservations feature for groceries is designed to enhance convenience and freshness for shoppers.  Here are seven ways it can benefit consumers:

1.       Automatic Reservations: Customer can have their preferred pickup or delivery time automatically reservice each week.  Think about it, customization get it when you want it.

2.       Advanced Planning: Consumers can schedule the weekly delivery up to seven days in advance.  On vacation or a business trip, your food will be there when you are.

3.       Reservations Notifications: You get a reminder / notification two days ahead of pickup or delivery and another one an hour prior to delivery. 

4.       Customization: With Amazon’s Repeat Item’s feature, you can automatically add exactly what you want into your cart. Their system adapts to your preference milk once a week, coffee once a month.

5.       Flexible Modifications: No obligations, you can modify or cancel any order any time. Of your work schedule changes, not a problem, have a birthday party to attend, no problem.

6.       Pay at Checkout only: it’s the Amazon way.

7.       Add items anytime: You can add forgotten items at any point before an Amazon gig worker begins picking you food order.


Now then all that said, here are some reasons you may not want to go to the grocery store yourself:

1.       Grocery stores in America receive 29-30 million daily visits from Monday to Thursday.

2.       The average person spends nearly two hours a week shopping for groceries.

3.       In 2021, the average number of items on the shelf of a grocery store was 35,829.

4.       69 percent of consumers struggle to pay their grocery bill.

5.       The Food retailing industry in the US employs 4.8 million people.

6.       As of 2022, the US had 63,328 grocery stores.

7.       Today Mass merchants account for 26 percent of the US grocery business. (Costco, Sam's Club, BJ’s)

Now then, Johnson believes the grocery sector is evolving fast and Amazon’s Recurring Reservations streamlining the food shopping experience will simply speed up the evolution and development of the grocerant niche.  

Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideas look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how our Grocerant Guru® 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 one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

Monday, February 26, 2024

Little Caesars Looking a Franchisee Ahead


At the intersection for growth and profitability Little Caesars Pizza is reducing costs while elevating franchisees profit potential with new modular building templates.  Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® believes that Little Caesars is signaling new franchisees its open for growth.

Here are five ways these modular building will help drive either growth or profits:


1.       Reduced Construction Timelines: The modular units in the POD Program are manufactured off-site and seamlessly transported to the concrete foundation on location. This streamlined process significantly reduces construction time compared to traditional restaurants, allowing franchise owners to open their stores quicker.

2.       Lower Building Costs: Because of the way PODs are manufactured, their building costs are lowerThis financial advantage benefits both the franchisor and franchisees, making it an attractive option for Little Caesars Pizza.

3.       Eco-Friendly Solution: PODs feature recyclable walls and minimize the impact on the surrounding community. By opting for modular units, Little Caesars contributes to sustainability and environmental consciousness.

4.       Tax Write-Offs: Franchise owners who choose PODs qualify for a full tax write-off, providing a significant financial benefit. This tax advantage can positively impact their bottom line.

5.       Operational Efficiency: The POD program redefines the operational landscape of fast-food establishments. With only two-to-three employees needed to efficiently operate the entire facility, franchise owners can maintain service quality while keeping operational costs in check.

Now just think about this, Little Caesars’ POD Program combines innovation, cost-effectiveness, and operational efficiency, making it a win-win for both the company and its franchisees. 

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.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

10 ways Vision Pro Headset Will Change Restaurant Marketing Strategies


Retail foodservice operators and restaurants specifically are operating at the intersection of yesterdays branding templates, and tomorrows customer focused interactive, participatory experiences according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® who stated, “The Vision Pro Headset has elevated every brands relationship with every customer making it a one-on-one immersive personalization experience.” Let’s see Why:

1. Spatial Computing and Immersive Experiences

The Vision Pro headset, released by Apple, introduces a new term: spatial computing. This wearable mixed-reality device whisks users into a world where eye movements and finger taps replace traditional peripherals like keyboards and mice. Restaurants can leverage this technology to create immersive brand experiences that go beyond the limitations of screens and menus1.

2. Direct Ordering via Augmented Reality Interfaces

The lowest hanging fruit for restaurant brands is to offer direct ordering through an augmented reality (AR) interface. Imagine diners browsing a virtual menu, visualizing dishes in 3D, and placing orders with a simple gesture. Crumbl Cookies has already embraced this concept, and other restaurants can follow suit1.

3. Virtual Food Tasting and Exploration

With the Vision Pro headset, restaurants can take customers on a virtual food journey. Imagine patrons virtually tasting different dishes, exploring ingredients, and experiencing the ambiance of various dining spaces—all before setting foot in the physical restaurant. This immersive approach enhances engagement and drives curiosity1.

4. Interactive Storytelling

Restaurants can use mixed reality to tell their brand story in captivating ways. Whether it’s showcasing the farm-to-table journey, introducing chefs, or highlighting cultural influences, the Vision Pro headset allows for interactive storytelling. Customers become active participants, forging deeper connections with the brand1.

5. Virtual Restaurant Tours

Want to attract more customers to your establishment? Offer virtual tours! With the headset, patrons can explore the restaurant’s layout, decor, and even peek into the kitchen. It’s like a sneak peek before they make a reservation or visit in person1.

6. Personalized Dining Experiences

By analyzing user preferences and behavior, restaurants can tailor personalized dining recommendations. The headset can track past orders, dietary restrictions, and favorite cuisines, allowing for targeted promotions and menu suggestions. Imagine a virtual sommelier recommending wine pairings based on individual taste profiles1.

7. Virtual Cooking Classes and Chef Demos

Restaurants can host virtual cooking classes or invite renowned chefs for live demonstrations. Customers wearing the Vision Pro headset can learn culinary techniques, interact with chefs, and even cook alongside them—all from the comfort of their homes. It’s a unique way to engage food enthusiasts and build loyalty1.

8. Dynamic Menu Displays

Say goodbye to static menu boards! Restaurants can create dynamic, AR-enhanced menu displays using the headset. As customers walk by, the menu adapts, showcasing daily specials, nutritional information, and allergy alerts. It’s an attention-grabbing way to communicate with passersby1.

9. Virtual Food Challenges and Games

Gamification meets dining! Restaurants can organize virtual food challenges—from burger-eating contests to dessert races. Customers compete against each other, earn rewards, and share their experiences on social media. It’s a fun way to generate buzz and encourage repeat visits1.

10. Augmented Reality Loyalty Programs

Imagine earning loyalty points by scanning virtual QR codes within the restaurant. The Vision Pro headset enables AR-based loyalty programs, where diners unlock rewards, discounts, and exclusive offers by interacting with digital elements in the physical space. It’s a win-win for both customers and brands1.

Consider this, the Apple Vision Pro headset is not just a gadget; it’s a gateway to a new era of restaurant marketing. Brands that embrace spatial computing and create memorable mixed-reality experiences will thrive in this dynamic landscape. So, get ready to see menus come alive, chefs step out of the kitchen, and dining become an immersive adventure! 

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