Thursday, February 22, 2024

Texas Borns Grocerant Niche LTO’s for Every Meal


Success does leave clues and regular readers of this blog know that Texas Born has had success with grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food.  They are now rolling out their latest selection of limited-time foodservice selections that can be enjoyed throughout the day. 

According to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® in this new addition, items feature fresh-made breakfast items, Lent-friendly lunch options and more.

Three seasonal items are available now through April at participating TXB locations:

·         Spinach, Mushroom and Egg Breakfast Quesadilla: A crispy grilled flour tortilla with perfectly sautéed spinach and mushrooms, and fluffy, freshly cracked eggs mixed with cheese, available for $6.29 each.

·         Waffle Hash Brown: Crispy, locally sourced potatoes are cooked to make the perfect crunch. Each hash brown sells for just $1.99.

·         Lent-friendly Shrimp Poppers and Plates: Arriving just in time for the Lenten season, these juicy jumbo shrimp are battered and flavored to perfection. Poppers are available for $5.99 while plates are priced at $7.99.

Anna Felz, marketing & brand manager at TXB, stated, "TXB wanted to kick off the year with fresh and better-for-you breakfast, lunch and dinner options for our guests to enjoy," ... "All of these items were carefully crafted and are full of locally sourced ingredients, right here from Texas."

The hearty, on-the-go meals are designed to be more than the typical convenience store offerings as part TXB's goal to provide guests with fresh meals that are convenient and directly competitive with restaurant-quality menu items daily. TXB has a larger initiative to "Leave 'em Better" by sourcing delicious, locally sourced ingredients from around Texas, the company said.

Headquartered in Spicewood, TXB operates more than 47 c-stores and food markets throughout Texas and Oklahoma that emphasize the Texas roots and values the brand was built upon. It offers more than 4,000 items, including cold fountain drinks sweetened with sugar cane and a line of private label products that features salsa, jerky, tea, water, coffee and more.

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. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Should Restaurants Ready to Grow Launch Crowdfunding Campaigns


Crowdfunding is a way of raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a small amount, usually through an online platform. Crowdfunding can be used for various purposes, such as launching a new product, supporting a social cause, or expanding a business. We asked our Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson of Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® to explore in this article, why restaurants that are ready to grow should consider launching crowdfunding campaigns, and what are the benefits and challenges of doing so.

Benefits of Crowdfunding for Restaurants

Crowdfunding can offer several advantages for restaurants that want to grow their business, such as:

·         Access to capital: Crowdfunding can help restaurants overcome the barriers of traditional financing, such as high interest rates, strict eligibility criteria, or long approval processes. Crowdfunding can provide a faster and easier way to raise funds, especially for restaurants that have a loyal customer base, a strong online presence, or a unique value proposition.

·         Customer engagement: Crowdfunding can help restaurants build stronger relationships with their customers, by allowing them to become investors, supporters, or advocates of their business. Crowdfunding can also help restaurants gain valuable feedback, insights, and suggestions from their customers, which can help them improve their products, services, or operations.

·         Brand awareness: Crowdfunding can help restaurants increase their visibility and reach, by exposing their business to a wider audience, both online and offline. Crowdfunding can also help restaurants generate buzz, word-of-mouth, and media attention, which can boost their reputation and credibility.

·         Innovation: Crowdfunding can help restaurants test new ideas, experiment with new concepts, or launch new products, without risking too much capital or resources. Crowdfunding can also help restaurants tap into the creativity and expertise of their customers, who can offer new perspectives, solutions, or opportunities.

Challenges of Crowdfunding for Restaurants

Crowdfunding is not a magic bullet, and it also comes with some challenges and risks, such as:

·         Competition: Crowdfunding is a crowded and competitive space, with thousands of projects vying for attention and funding. Restaurants need to stand out from the crowd, by offering a compelling story, a clear goal, and a strong value proposition. Restaurants also need to market their campaign effectively, by using various channels, such as social media, email, or events, to reach and attract potential backers.

·         Commitment: Crowdfunding requires a lot of time, effort, and dedication, both before and after the campaign. Restaurants need to plan and prepare their campaign carefully, by setting a realistic budget, timeline, and rewards. Restaurants also need to manage and communicate with their backers regularly, by providing updates, answering questions, and delivering rewards. Restaurants also need to fulfill their promises, by using the funds wisely, achieving their goals, and reporting their results.

·         Regulation: Crowdfunding is subject to different laws and regulations, depending on the type, location, and scope of the campaign. Restaurants need to comply with the legal and ethical standards of crowdfunding, such as disclosing their financial information, protecting their intellectual property, and paying taxes. Restaurants also need to be aware of the potential liabilities and disputes that may arise from crowdfunding, such as fraud, breach of contract, or infringement.

Think About This:

Crowdfunding can be a viable and beneficial option for restaurants that are ready to grow their business, as it can provide them with access to capital, customer engagement, brand awareness, and innovation. However, crowdfunding also entails some challenges and risks, such as competition, commitment, and regulation, that restaurants need to consider and address. Therefore, restaurants should weigh the pros and cons of crowdfunding, and decide whether it is the right fit for their business goals, needs, and capabilities.

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Starbucks is Banking on Interactive Participatory Marketing


Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, has recently announced a new loyalty partnership with Bank of America, one of the leading financial institutions in the U.S. The partnership aims to offer millions of Bank of America cardholders and Starbucks Rewards members the opportunity to earn more benefits by linking their accounts. This is an example of interactive participatory marketing, a strategy that involves engaging customers in co-creating value and enhancing their experience with a brand driving new electricity into both brands according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Interactive participatory marketing is based on the premise that customers are not passive recipients of marketing messages, but active participants who seek meaningful interactions with brands that reflect their values, preferences, and lifestyles. By inviting customers to join a community, share feedback, customize products, or access exclusive rewards, brands can foster loyalty, trust, and advocacy among their customers.

Starbucks and Bank of America are leveraging interactive participatory marketing to create a win-win situation for both parties. For Starbucks, the partnership allows them to tap into a large customer base of Bank of America cardholders, who can now earn cash back and Stars (the currency of Starbucks Rewards) on their purchases at Starbucks. This can increase the frequency and amount of spending at Starbucks, as well as the retention and satisfaction of Starbucks Rewards members. For Bank of America, the partnership enables them to offer their clients a unique value proposition that combines financial and lifestyle rewards. This can enhance their competitive advantage, customer loyalty, and cross-selling opportunities.

The partnership also benefits the customers, who can enjoy more rewards and convenience by linking their accounts. Customers can earn 2% cash back from Bank of America and one Star per $2 spent at Starbucks, on top of the rewards or card benefits they already earn. They can also unlock their benefits through qualifying Starbucks in-app purchases with their linked Bank of America debit or credit card, such as reloading a digital Starbucks gift card, ordering ahead, or paying in the app at the register. The Stars earned can be redeemed for free drinks, food, merchandise, and whole bean coffee at Starbucks.

By offering customers more ways to earn and redeem rewards, Starbucks and Bank of America are creating a positive feedback loop that encourages customers to engage more with both brands. This can lead to higher customer lifetime value, word-of-mouth, and brand equity for both partners. Interactive participatory marketing is a powerful tool that can help brands differentiate themselves in a crowded and competitive market, and create lasting relationships with their customers. Starbucks and Bank of America are showing how this strategy can drive sales and growth for both parties.

Are you looking for new customers? Do you want to keep your current customers while building new electricity? According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.” 

Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing. Don’t limit your ideations to just a new menu item. Think local, grow with others that are successful around you.

All retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different. 

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.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Boston Market Once Successful Now Stuck in Failure Mode according to the Grocerant Guru®


Boston Market, formerly known as Boston Chicken, began serving its homestyle meals of spit-roasted rotisserie chickens, made-from-scratch cornbread, and creamy mac and cheese in 1985. As it grew in popularity, it had about 1,200 locations at one time, according to Restaurant Business.  Today there are just over 300 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. All the result of loss of customer focus.

However, in recent years, Boston Market has faced increasing competition from other foodservice providers, especially grocery stores that offer ready-to-eat and heat-and-eat meals for time-starved consumers. According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Boston Market has failed to adapt to the changing consumer preferences and has driven customers away with its outdated menu, lack of innovation, and poor customer service.

Johnson, who coined the term grocerant to describe any grocery store, convenience store, retailer, or restaurant that offers freshly prepared or ready-to-heat food to eat on the premises or to-go, says that Boston Market has not kept up with the grocerant trend that is reshaping the food industry. Instead, they focused on what they ‘wanted’ a brand of nostalgia filled with yesterday’s customers.

He says that consumers today are looking for convenience, variety, quality, and value when it comes to their food choices, and that grocery stores have been able to meet these demands by offering a wide range of products, from salads and sandwiches to sushi and pizza, that can be consumed on-site or taken home. Johnson says that grocery stores have also invested in improving their ambiance, service, and technology to create a more appealing dining experience for their customers.

Boston Market, on the other hand, has not changed much since its inception, according to Johnson. He says that the chain still relies on its signature rotisserie chicken and a limited selection of sides, such as mashed potatoes, corn, and macaroni and cheese, that are often bland, or perceived to unhealthy options. He says that Boston Market was late to introduced any new or exciting products, such as plant-based or ethnic options, that could attract new or younger customers. He also says that Boston Market has not leveraged its existing assets, such as its ovens, to create more diverse and customizable offerings, such as baked pasta, roasted vegetables, or flatbread pizzas.

Johnson also criticizes Boston Market for its lack of customer service and engagement. He says that the chain has not invested in training its staff, upgrading its facilities, or enhancing its online presence enough to garner incremental customer buy-in. He says that Boston Market’s website was slowly to update, slow to offer online ordering, delivery, or loyalty programs that were interactive and participatory. He says that the chain’s social media accounts are not interactive enough and do not invite customers to try its products. He says that the chain’s physical locations have often dirty windows, are uninviting, and that the staff are unfriendly, unprofessional, or unresponsive.

Johnson concludes that Boston Market has lost its competitive edge and relevance in the foodservice market, and that it needs to reinvent itself or risk becoming obsolete. He says that the chain needs to rethink its menu, service, and marketing strategies, and to embrace the grocerant concept that is driving the industry forward.

Want to Grow A

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Focus on the Customer 

He says that Boston Market has the potential to regain its customers and grow its business, but only if it is willing to change and innovate. He says that the chain should learn from its competitors, such as Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Costco, that have successfully implemented the grocerant model and have created loyal and satisfied customers.

He says that Boston Market should also listen to its customers and understand their needs, preferences, and feedback, and use them to improve its products and services. He says that Boston Market should not be afraid to experiment and try new things, and to create a more engaging and enjoyable dining experience for its customers. He says that Boston Market should not settle for being a mediocre and outdated restaurant chain, but strive to be a leading and innovative grocerant provider. What’s the cost of your company’s new customer acquisition? 

Success does leave clues as does failure. 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, February 18, 2024

Why Price and Service Matter More Than Loyalty Programs for Restaurants


Getting things right takes hard work and continue refinement and retooling according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Success does leave clues and understanding the right clues to success is one of the first steps.

First let’s look at the old formula for the price, value, service success was: Price + Quality + Service + Portability = Value; Value = increased customer frequency.  That formula has evolved with Gen Z and Millennials today.  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.

That said, loyalty programs are often seen as a way to attract and retain customers in the competitive restaurant industry. However, recent research suggests that loyalty programs may not be as effective as they seem, and that other factors, such as price and service, may have a bigger impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The Limitations of Loyalty Programs

According to a survey by Deloitte, loyalty programs ranked only 19th out of 23 attributes in terms of what is important to restaurant consumers, and only 24th out of 28 factors that drive repeat patronage1. Moreover, many customers are not even aware of the loyalty programs offered by the restaurants they visit, or do not find them appealing enough to join. The survey found that 43% of respondents stated that the restaurants they visit do not offer loyalty programs, and 48% said that they have no information about the loyalty programs of the restaurants they visit1.

Another challenge for loyalty programs is that they can be costly to operate and maintain, especially for independent or small-scale operators. According to a report by Paytronix, loyalty programs tend to be more expensive than regular discounting, and require a lot of data analysis and marketing to optimize their performance2. Furthermore, loyalty programs may not be able to differentiate a restaurant from its competitors, as many restaurants offer similar rewards and benefits to their customers.

The Advantages of Price and Service

While loyalty programs may have some benefits, such as increasing customer engagement and retention, they are not the only or the best way to achieve these goals. In fact, the Deloitte survey found that a few basic things matter the most to everyone: price, taste, and service1. These are the factors that customers look for when choosing a restaurant, and that influence their satisfaction and loyalty.

Price is a key factor for customers, especially in times of economic uncertainty and inflation. According to a survey by QSR Magazine, 91% of restaurants said they have increased their prices since 2020, and 20% of customers said they will cut spending due to rising inflation3. Therefore, restaurants need to offer competitive and fair prices that match the value and quality of their food and service.

Service is another crucial factor for customers, as it reflects the professionalism, friendliness, and attentiveness of the restaurant staff. Service can also enhance the dining experience, create a positive atmosphere, and build trust and rapport with customers. According to a report by FSR Magazine, full-service restaurants often use service as a way to deliver a more personalized and memorable dining experience, and to differentiate themselves from quick-service or fast-casual restaurants4.

Think About This

Loyalty programs are not the silver bullet for restaurant success, and they may not be worth the time, money, and effort for many operators. Instead, restaurants should focus on the fundamentals of price and service, which are the main drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty. By offering reasonable prices and excellent service, restaurants can attract and retain customers, and stand out from the crowd.

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