Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Grocerant Platform Propels Profitability

Retail foodservice success can be found at the intersection of Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food aka the Grocerant Niche elevating retail foodservice customer relevance while garnering customer adoption according to Tacoma, WA based Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson of Foodservice Solutions®.

The undercurrents of competition within the fresh food space have not reached such a tipping point since the invention of refrigeration according to Johnson.  Today consumers are in search of complexity free meals with full flavor. Success does leave clues one clue is consumers move forward not backward, they are dynamic not static according to Johnson.

Most of you know the William Gibson quote: The future has already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed.”  In retail foodservice today there are those that are growing top line sales, bottom line profits, customer counts, and those who are slowly dying.  Where is your company? There is no middle ground.

Let’s look at some numbers C-Stores sold $73 billion of prepared food and beverages last year up 72% from 2010 according to the WSJ. Consumer migration too grocerant niche non-traditional outlets continues to grow in fact the NPD group reports that Grocerants generated 2.4 Billion visits and $10 Billion in Sales in 2016. found "By our estimate, alternative formats and e-commerce market share in consumables will increase from 30.4% in 2016 to 44.9% in 2022,"  
The battle of for food dollars is a battle for ‘Share of Stomach’ according to the Grocerant Guru®.
Chain restaurants are now battling for sales with Grocery stores, C-stores, Liquor stores, and Drug stores. Legacy food retailers risk being marginalized by new concepts with smaller footprints, lower cost of goods and faster service.  Food retailers must understand the new dynamics in the industry and react properly in order to accelerate growth.  Foodservice ‘braggability’ is more often found within the grocerant sector.

Today, eating-out while eating-at-home, takeout food, mix & match meal components are leading ways in which people are looking to differentiate themselves, simplify their lives, same time with meal customization, personalization and Mix & Match bundling all are hallmarks of the booming Grocerant niche according to the Grocerant Guru®

Many legacy restaurant operators seemingly have a “inside the four walls” mindset coupled with brand protectionism polices more reminiscent of the 1980’s than 2017. Steven Johnson the Grocerant Guru® says that kind of thinking traps a brand in a quagmire or a footprint malaise that is unresponsive and simply not consumer relevant today.
So what is Grocerant food in 2017?  Foodservice Solutions® Steven Johnson, the Grocerant Guru® says a "Grocerant item means any retail food item that is Ready2-Eat or Heat-N-Eat with the option of portability Traditionally these items can be found in grocery stores in the deli / lifestyle section, C-stores in the prepared food area and prepackaged, ready to eat items and in restaurants under the To-go, takeout or take away or delivery section of the menu or on the website."

Its 4 PM: your customers are just beginning to think about what's for dinner and 80.6% of American consumers are unsure about what's for dinner at noon and 61.3% are unsure what’s for dinner at 4 PM. Time Starved Consumers are looking for high quality Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared meals or a meal component.  So what is working in the Grocerant Space in 2017?  Carrie Williams, senior manager of shopper insights for Coca-Cola, shared some of the insights from grocery store research, which was fielded to help retailers participate in Family Meals Month in September. Here is some of what she found:

1.       Nearly three-fourths of grocery shoppers purchase prepared foods, and half of all grocery shoppers purchased a Fresh-to-Go meal in the past month.
2.       One in 10 grocery shoppers buy Fresh-to-Go meals frequently (defined as 5+ per month).
3.       Most shoppers of Fresh-to-Go meals have children. They buy these meals because they are busy and it’s convenient.
4.       Most Fresh-to-Go meals are eaten at home, especially for dinner.
5.       Nearly two-thirds of store visits are driven by a specific meal need, and 78 percent of purchases from the deli area are not impulse buys.
If you are running a retail food outlet those numbers indicate grocerant platform adoption continues to grow and you should be thinking about adding grocerant items.  Is your company evolving with consumers? Are you ready for some fresh ideations?

Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday than tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Foodservice Menu’s, Messaging, Media, Matters

Time after time, day after day the phone rings at Foodservice Solutions® and it is a perspective client, an old client inevitably they ask the same questions. Recently that question has been Why is it my brand does not rank higher with consumers on social media? Our Grocerant Guru’s Steven Johnson’s answer is always the same.  MESSAGING.
Sure I know that sound simple. However consider this research from social analytics company called NetBase, which released its annual Restaurant Brands Report recently. By cataloging around 187 billion mentions on social media, NetBase found that people are the most obsessed with Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Domino's Pizza, Olive Garden, Wendy's, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald's, Panera, and Subway in descending order.
Maybe that’s why they called in the first place.  If not here are a couple of things to consider first consumers are dynamic not static. Secondly each of the restaurant brands above does a very good job of integrating marketing messaging with new product, new promotions, and news releases according to our Grocerant Guru®.
Additionally each brand understands that differentiation does not mean different it means familiar but with a twist.  Consider this which fast food chain integrated fried egg taco shells into its menu, released a fashion line with Forever 21, and announced it’d soon be adding booze to its offerings? Ok now where did they rank?  In case you did not know the answer is Taco Bell.
Taco Bell  has been able to capture the attention of Twitter and Instagram and the rest of social media with a series of stunts, ranging from ridiculous to intriguing (a recently added burrito contains spicy popping crystals), and now it’s being rewarded with a new, and maybe in 2017, prestigious title: the Top Performing Restaurant Brand on Social Media. 
Can you have differentiation with an integrated message?  Can you leverage LTO’s to garner attention?  Can you test, trial, and tantalize the imagination of your customers? 

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

By-Pass the Grocer AmazonFresh Meal-Kit-Building gets Personal

Today grocerant niche retail success is about serving every customer, one at a time empowering customization, personalization, and individualization as regular readers of this blog know.  Steven Johnson our Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has been pounding that into our heads since this blog began back in 2009.  Combine that with saving consumers time and AmazonFresh is once again doing all of the right things according to Johnson.

When we heard that Meal kit service eMeals has added AmazonFresh to its list of grocery delivery and pickup service partners we knew that was important as the ability for AmazonFresh to edify its relationship with the consumers is a top priority.

The eMeals service previously was available only via delivery through Instacart or pickup through Kroger ClickList and Walmart Grocery.  Now eMeals allows shoppers to send a shopping list, which is automatically generated for all meals selected each week, to AmazonFresh with a single click. They may then schedule home delivery or curbside pickup.

Here is why it’s right up AmazonFresh ally eMeals can enjoy up to 50 percent savings in per-serving food costs compared to conventional meal kit providers due to ingredients being provided in standard grocery packaging rather than each in its own portioned package. Moreover, the only other cost involved is a $5 monthly subscription fee for new weekly menus.

eMeals CEO Forrest Collier  stated "Meal kits and online grocery programs are reshaping the grocery market, and we are the first company to combine those two trends,"…. "Adding AmazonFresh to our fulfillment lineup expands our reach to most of the top players in online grocery and advances our mission of giving customers more choice, flexibility and affordability than any other meal kit service."
Subscribers may choose from 15 eating styles ranging from Quick & Healthy to Paleo, Clean Eating, Low Calorie, Classic Meals and even Diabetic, Gluten Free and Vegetarian, and can personalize each week's menus by selecting meals from any of the food styles or substituting favorites from previous weeks. More than 100 weekly recipes are available in the 15 styles.

Once a week’s meals are chosen, eMeals automatically populates a shopping list and allows subscribers to add or subtract items, eliminating separate shopping trips for items such as cereal and toilet paper. Shoppers may either do their own shopping or relay on grocery partners to fulfill orders.

The new option extends eMeals’ strategy of leveraging the existing grocery supply chain to fill meal kit orders rather than building an expensive new infrastructure to portion, package and deliver the week’s recipe ingredients, providing more variety, flexibility and affordability while lowering operational costs.

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fresh Food Fast Shell Select Excels

Global grocerant niche growth is one of the undercurrents driving legacy fresh food retailers to rethink just how they do what they do according to Tacoma, WA based Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson of Foodservice Solutions®.  Nowhere is it more apparent than with Netherlands based Shell Select.

Just in case you did not know Shell as a brand and its iconic logo is found in more locations than Starbucks or McDonald’s around the world.  No after testing Shell Select Deli by Shell is setting the bar high for itself as it pursues increasing the profit contribution of its non-fuel business to 50 percent.

István Kapitány Executive Vice President Shell Global Fuel Retail reported that he has until 2025 to reach the 50-percent mark from an undisclosed current figure. He acknowledges the profit goal is aspirational.
“We are always adapting our retailing capabilities to the changing world and believe it is a great opportunity for us because of the scale and size of the business,”

Kapitány continued. “Some markets are close to the 50-percent goal and some are far away, but one of the benefits of Shell’s global scale is that we can learn from each other. Whatever works in one country, we can transfer that knowledge to another country.”

For one example, the company operates a service-oriented concept called Shell Select in The Netherlands that is comparable to Wawa convenience stores in the United States. Shell’s operating model in the U.S. is different than The Netherlands, but the company is looking to make changes that would facilitate expansion of the Shell Select concept in the U.S.

“I would say that Shell Select in The Netherlands is kind of like the top-end food and coffee convenience place to go in the market, similar to a Wawa. We’re looking at how we bring that Shell Select concept to the United States,”
Is your company Looking A Customer Ahead?  How do you plan to expand your business?  Are you going to continue to do what you have always done and do it the same way?  How is that working for you today?

For international corporate presentations, educational forums, or keynotes contact:  the 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. Visit: for more information

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Online Consumers Continue to ‘Cherry-Pick’ Grocery Stores

If there is one thing the team at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® has learned over the years is that consumers will continue to ‘cherry-pick’ products by price specifically when grocery shopping.  According to Steven Johnson our own Grocerant Guru® Online shoppers are no different. 

After all we know that Price, Selection, and Service had elevated Amazon to become a global retail behemoth. In new research from IDG found that “Online grocery retail is forecast to be the fastest-growing segment of all UK grocery channels, but it will not be used in isolation”

The IGD study predicts a 53.8% growth in online grocery retail between 2017 and 2022 to £16 billion.
However, the research suggests that most online shoppers are combining online and larger stores, and online and convenience stores.

When shopping online consumers are not restricted to one store, one brand name product, or one point of distribution they can see all.  The IDG study found that 41% of online shoppers say they have used online and convenience stores in the past month for their food and grocery shopping.

Price point matter and service counts as the study found that 40% of online shoppers said they have used either a blend of online, supermarkets or hypermarkets and convenience stores in the past month. Vanessa Henry, IGD’s shopper insight manager, said: “What we call ‘omnichannel shoppers’ are having a big impact on the grocery market, with over half (54%) of shoppers claiming that they use five or more different channels every month, as well as buying from 12 different store brands on average.

Differentiation does not mean different it means familiar but with a twist.  Do you have the twist that will help keep customers shopping at your brand? Does your brand stand for customer relevance more than it stands for price? Does your team understand the consumer price, value, service, equilibrium?

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: or visit: for more information.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Millennials Food Trucks are Authentic

Today food trucks are attracting more and more Millennials in large part because simplicity, service, savory flavors are authentic in the minds-eye of Millennials according to global foodservice consultancy Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson. 
Food trucks have become a big business recording sales that will top $1.2 billion this year according to Johnson. One entrepreneur and foodie Greg Barnhart is making a big splash in the Windy City food truck pond with Toasty Cheese Restaurant Group.
Barnhart started with one truck called, Toasty Cheese Mobile Eatery.  His food attracted a “cult-like following” and Barnhart has not looked back. The name was fun the trucks were brightly colored.  However it the food that brings customers back like the Duck Bacon, Cilantro-Avocado Aioli and Sicilian Cherry Tomatoes to Applewood Smoked Bacon, Apple/Cabbage Slaw and Over Easy Eggs. Ok now you understand.
This spring Barnhart opened the Toasty Taco, described as “a taqueria móvil that serves authentic street Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Tortas and Tamales.” Once again it’s all about food with entrees the ilk of Steamed Corn Husk Tamales stuffed with Cheese and Street Tacos and Unsweetened Plantains topped with Duck Confit, Picked Jalapeno and Queso Fresco”.
Things did not stop there as Barnhart’s mobile food empire grew this time with the acquisition of Best Truckin’ BBQ and The Crave Bar.  Which Specialized in Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork and Chicken, Best Truckin’ BBQ is all about classic American barbecue. Sandwiches stuffed with tender meat are topped with tantalizing sauces like the Spiced Pomegranate BBQ Sauce and Apple Cider Bourbon BBQ Sauce.
Barnhart stated  “With four different mobile food concepts under one umbrella, we are now able to create some really cool custom catering options for everything from office lunches and kids’ birthday parties to weddings and graduations,” So the team at Foodservice Solutions® asks what’s under your umbrella? Is your brand expanding its reach?

Are you trapped doing what you have always done and doing it the same way?  Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Gatti’s Pizza Expands Grocerant niche Offerings

One after the other restaurant chains are expanding their offerings of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Gatti’s Pizza is rolling out take-and-bake pizzas as a permanent addition to its menu expanding customer relevance. 
Kicking the program off Gatti’s Pizza has two shapes, “Jack,” a jack-o-lantern-shaped pizza and “Frank,” a Frankenstein-shaped pizza, you guessed it October and Halloween perfect timing.  The pizzas will be prepared fresh daily and wrapped on a tray with cooking instructions. Customers can order online and pick up at their nearest location.
Michael Poates, president of Gatti’s Pizza stated “It was an idea that was spooky good,”…“The take-and-bake product allows our guests to enjoy Gatti’s pizza on their own time by baking it fresh in their oven at home. With Halloween being one of the busiest pizza delivery nights of the year, we thought it was the perfect time to debut this product. Skip the wait, pick up the pizza at a time that works for you, have it ready to go that evening, and then the kids can trick-or-treat.”
Are you edifying your relationship with your customers?  Is your brand growing within the fastest growing sector of foodservice today?  Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared food continues to garner customers from every sector of food retail.  Foodservice Solutions® has Grocerant Experts.

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 Johnson, or