Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Dinners That Delight: How Tech Enhances, Not Replaces, Social Dining for Young Adults


In today's fast-paced world, where "What's for dinner?" often starts with a phone swipe, technology undeniably impacts dining decisions. But a recent study by the Culinary Visions Panel's Mindful Dining Initiative reveals a surprising truth: young adults (Gen Z and Millennials) crave both convenience and human connection when dining out.

Key Takeaways:

·         Technology as a Time-Saver: Younger diners appreciate tech that streamlines the ordering process. Nearly half (48%) prefer kiosks or apps for speed, highlighting their comfort with technology.

·         Human Touch Still Reigns: Despite their tech-savviness, young adults (64%) value personalized service. A friendly server who remembers their name goes a long way!

·         Sharing is Caring (and Posting): Dining is a social experience for young adults. They're influenced by friends' orders (50%) and enjoy sharing photos on social media (nearly 60%). Food becomes a way to connect and create shareable moments.

What This Means for Restaurants:

·         Offer Tech Options, But Prioritize Service: Provide self-ordering kiosks or apps, but ensure staff remains attentive and welcoming.

·         Create Instagrammable Moments: Think unique plating, interesting decor, or designated photo areas to cater to the social media-savvy crowd.

·         Facilitate Group Dining: Consider larger tables or communal seating to encourage interaction and sharing.

The Bottom Line:

Technology is a tool, not a replacement for human connection. By embracing tech while prioritizing excellent service and a social atmosphere, restaurants can create dining experiences young adults will love – and share with the world.

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, April 29, 2024

3 Reasons Papa Murphy’s Taco Grande Pizza Limited Time Offer Works Well for Cinco de Mayo


There are several reasons restaurants and Papa Murphy’s celebrate Cinco de Mayo, according to steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Papa Murphy’s is one of the best restaurant chains with specials that are relevant, timed, customer focused.

Here is some of what Papa Murphy’s understands when it come to limited time offers in this case Cinco de Mayo.  

1.       Celebrate Mexican culture: Cinco de Mayo has become a popular way to celebrate Mexican heritage and traditions in the United States. Restaurants can use this opportunity to showcase authentic Mexican food and drinks, along with festive decorations and music. This can attract new customers and create a fun atmosphere.

2.       Boost business: Cinco de Mayo is a busy time for restaurants, especially those specializing in Mexican cuisine. By offering special menus, promotions, and events, restaurants can capitalize on the increased interest in Mexican food and drinks. This can be a great way to boost sales and generate revenue.

3.       Connect with the community: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo can be a way for restaurants to connect with their local Mexican American community. They can show their appreciation for Mexican culture and heritage, and build goodwill with their customers.

These are just a few of the reasons why restaurants celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It's a great opportunity to celebrate culture, attract customers, and boost business. Remember, that differentiation in the minds-eye of the consumer does not mean different.  It means familiar but with a consumer-focused twist with current relevance.

So, why should you have to choose between your two loves when you can have both? Papa Murphy’s Take ‘n’ Bake Pizza — everyone’s favorite take ‘n’ bake pizza franchise, recently announce the return of the crowd-favorite Taco Grande Pizza, a culinary fusion available at participating locations nationwide from April 22 to May 19, 2024.

This season’s must-try pizza features a topping of zesty taco meat (ground beef or tender grilled chicken), Roma tomatoes, onions, black olives, hand-grated cheddar and whole-milk mozzarella, on a base of savory refried beans and salsa. All these ingredients blend harmoniously on signature freshly made dough, crafting a pizza that’s both innovative and irresistibly tasty.

Tracey Ayres, Vice President of Brand and Innovation at Papa Murphy’s, stated, “The Taco Grande Pizza is truly a phenomenon that our guests look forward to all year round,”… “It serves up big-time taco flavors in a festive, easy-to-prepare pizza that brings the party right to your kitchen.”

Ayres continued, “Our Taco Grande Pizza, just like the rest of our menu, is perfect for anyone looking to spice up their mealtime routines,”. “Whether you’re planning a Cinco de Mayo celebration, family night, a get-together with friends or simply a cozy evening at home, Papa Murphy’s will deliver a burst of flavors that is mostly taco, mostly pizza, all Taco Grande.”

Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”.  Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.  Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance.  Call 253-759-7869 for more information. 

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Dinner Time Nostalgia: Comfort Food Drives Fresh Prepared Meal Sales


Busy schedules and changing lifestyles have fueled the rise of fresh prepared Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat meals and meal components from restaurants, convenience stores and in grocery stores. But what's influencing what consumers choose? Enter the surprising factor of nostalgia.

Now according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Today people are craving the taste of their childhoods, and grocery stores are taking note. This trend of "nostalgic food" is leading to a surge in popularity for fresh prepared meals that offer familiar flavors from home.

Here's how nostalgia is impacting the prepared meal market, and the top 7 comfort food entrees driving sales:

The Allure of Familiar Flavors

In a world of constant change, comfort food provides a sense of security and warmth. The taste of a dish enjoyed in childhood can bring back happy memories and evoke positive emotions. Grocery stores are but one retailer that is capitalizing on this by offering fresh prepared meals that replicate these classic dishes.

This isn't just about frozen dinners or heat-and-eat options. Today's fresh prepared meals are made with high-quality ingredients and often mimic the home-cooked meals of generations past.

Top 7 Nostalgic Prepared Meal Entrees

1.       Mac and Cheese: The ultimate comfort food, mac and cheese continues to reign supreme. Look for gourmet versions with interesting cheeses and toppings.

2.       Meatloaf: A classic weeknight meal, meatloaf is experiencing a revival in fresh prepared sections. Glazes, creative stuffings, and unexpected flavor combinations are making this dish relevant again.

3.       Chicken Pot Pie: Warm and satisfying, chicken pot pie is a nostalgic favorite. Fresh prepared versions offer flaky crusts, tender chicken, and flavorful vegetables.

4.       Lasagna: Layers of pasta, sauce, cheese, and meat - what's not to love? Grocers are offering innovative takes on lasagna, including vegetarian and white sauce options.

5.       Salisbury Steak: This diner staple is finding new life in the fresh prepared aisle. Look for options with mashed potatoes, gravy, and onion rings for the full nostalgic experience.

6.       Beef Stroganoff: A creamy, comforting dish, beef stroganoff is a crowd-pleaser. Fresh prepared versions offer a quick and easy weeknight meal solution.

7.       Chicken Fried Steak: Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy is pure comfort food heaven. Fresh prepared versions can satisfy cravings without the hassle of frying.

The Future of Nostalgic Prepared Meals

The trend of nostalgic food is likely to continue, with restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores offering even more creative takes on classic dishes. Expect to see influences from different regions and cultures, all with a focus on familiar flavors. Fresh prepared meals that cater to dietary restrictions, like gluten-free or vegetarian options, will also be in high demand.

So, the next time you're short on time but craving a taste of home, head to a branded food retail app on your phone or visit a grocery store's prepared meal section. You might just be surprised by the delicious and comforting options waiting to be discovered.

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

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Grocerant Guru’s Suggest that Consumers Going Grocery Shopping Beware


Today while inflation is top-of-mind for most consumers when they go grocery shopping.  It’s at the intersection of product price and packaging that Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® believes consumers should be reminded of the phrase Caveat Emptor.  

In short, caveat emptor is a Latin phrase that translates to "let the buyer beware." In the context of grocery shopping, it means that the buyer has the responsibility to inspect and research a product before purchasing it, as the seller may not be held liable for any issues with the product later.

It's essentially the opposite of "buyer beware" – the onus is on the customer to be informed.

Caveat emptor is a principle that's less common today than it used to be, especially with regards to consumer goods. Many countries and regions have laws in place that offer consumer protections and hold sellers more accountable for the quality and condition of their products.

Many consumers today are going to the grocery stores finding higher prices and smaller packaging. This practice of keeping prices the same but reducing the amount of product in the package is called "shrinkflation." Here are some ways consumers can be aware of shrinkflation:

·         Pay attention to unit pricing: Most grocery stores will show a price per unit (ounce, gram, etc.) on the shelf tag in smaller print below the headline price. This allows you to compare products directly and see which offers the most for your money.

·         Track package sizes of your favorite items: Become familiar with the weight or volume of the products you typically buy. If you notice a decrease in size but the price stays the same, you're likely a victim of shrinkflation.

·         Compare brands and sizes: Don't just grab your usual item on autopilot. Take a moment to compare different brands and sizes to see which offers the best value per unit.

·         Stay informed: There are resources online and even social media communities dedicated to tracking shrinkflation. A quick search for "shrinkflation" can turn up news articles and forums where consumers share their experiences.

By being aware of shrinkflation and using these tips, you can be a more informed shopper and get the most for your grocery budget. France had some new laws to help keep consumers aware of shrinking packaging size and equal or greater pricing of products.

Here are five reasons why the US might consider adopting regulations similar to France's on shrinking packaging (shrinkflation):

1.       Increased Transparency for Consumers: Just like the French law, US regulations could require clear labeling on products that have undergone size reduction without a price drop. This would allow consumers to make informed decisions about their purchases, comparing price per unit instead of just the headline price.

2.       Combatting Deceptive Practices: Shrinkflation can be seen as a deceptive practice, since the packaging size suggests a similar quantity of product. Regulations could help ensure that consumers aren't misled about how much they're getting for their money.

3.       Curbing Inflation's Hidden Costs: While companies may resort to shrinkflation to avoid raising prices explicitly, it still contributes to inflation by reducing the value consumers receive. Regulations could help mitigate this hidden aspect of inflation.

4.       Encouraging Fair Pricing: With clear information about size reduction, competition could be fairer. If consumers become more aware of shrinkflation, companies might be less likely to resort to it as a hidden price increase, potentially leading to more accurate pricing practices.

5.       Potential for Broader Action: The French example focuses on shrinkflation, but the article also mentions "cheapflation" (reducing quality without lowering price). US regulations could potentially address both issues, promoting transparency and fairer pricing practices.

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

Friday, April 26, 2024

Grocerant Guru’s Full-Flavored Forecast: 2024's Flavorful Trends


Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with a peek at what's hot in the culinary world! Once again Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® and his team,  are seeing some new signals of our ever-evolving consumer focused adoption of fresh food with functionality; including botanical infusions, and even a touch of technology in the kitchen. But alongside these established trends, a surprising contender is shaking things up: the fig leaf.

1. Functional Beverages: Beyond Hydration

Ditch the sugary sodas! Consumers are seeking beverages that go the extra mile, offering health benefits and specific nutrients. Look for a rise in adaptogenic teas boasting stress-reducing properties, or vitamin-infused waters that give you a healthy on-the-go boost.

2. Botanical Bounty: Nature's Infusion

Botanicals are taking center stage! Herbs, flowers, and other plant-based ingredients are finding their way into everything from cocktails to cheese. These botanical elements not only add unique flavor profiles but also boast potential health benefits. Keep an eye out for floral syrups in your drinks and creatively infused cheeses on your charcuterie board.

3. Food for the Soul: Emotional Well-Being on a Plate

Mental health awareness is on the rise, and it's influencing our food choices. Look for an increase in ingredients marketed for their mood-enhancing effects. Dark chocolate, nuts, and certain fruits are taking center stage as consumers seek to nourish their minds as well as their bodies.

4. Demystifying the Label: Transparency on the Menu

Savvy shoppers are demanding clear information. Food labels are being scrutinized more than ever, with consumers looking for transparency about allergens, organic certifications, and sustainable sourcing. Brands that prioritize clear and accurate labeling will win over health-conscious foodies.

5. AI in the Kitchen: The Future of Food

Technology is transforming the way we cook. From personalized recipe recommendations by smart appliances to voice-activated grocery ordering, AI is making its way into our kitchens. Be prepared for innovative solutions that streamline your culinary experience.

An Evolving Menu

Equals Customer Relevance

Building a Larger

Share of Stomach

Bonus Trend: The Fig Leaf's Figment of Flavor

While not yet mainstream, fig leaves are causing a stir amongst creative chefs. Their unique flavor profile is being used in surprising ways, from infused oils and dairy products to innovative cocktails. While it may not be a household ingredient yet, keep an eye out for fig leaf's potential to add a touch of intrigue to your menu!

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