Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grocerant Growth Food Options Speeds New Concept Dash In Forward

Success does leave clues and retailers are evolving from Convenience Stores and Restaurants to Grocerant niche fresh food concepts that are garnering incremental customer loyalty, driving food retail migration, expanding disruption within legacy retail food sectors according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Dash In a new concept store by the Willis Group created a platform where time stared consumers can get a fresh meal and or meal components or eat a fresh prepared meal according to Johnson. Dash In has 5,600 sq. ft. and blurs the lines between restaurant and C-store by combining a neighborhood bar and grill format with the self-service gas station and car wash layout that is familiar to consumers.
To appeal to consumers’ on-the-go lifestyles, the store stocks fresh, made-in-house grab and go menu items such as artisan sandwiches and salads, in addition to locally sourced snacks such as Good Earth Peanuts, grown in Skippers, Virginia, about one hour south of Richmond.
The bar and grill features of the Dash In store include indoor bar and communal seating, and outdoor seating. An open kitchen will prepare items from the store’s “Craveable” menu which includes Memphis pulled-pork sandwich made with slow-cooked pork in a maple brown sugar barbecue sauce and topped with caramelized onions, as well as a cranberry chicken croissant that Willis Group noted is a customer favorite. The sandwich is made with chicken breast, dried cranberries, red onion, and a hint of lime.
Julian B. Wills, president of Dash In  stated “Our newest Dash In is a demonstration of our commitment to creating a store design that offers an elevated brand experience for our customers,” Dash In capitalizes on several strategies food industry research company Nielsen identified as necessary to remain competitive in a saturated food retail market most of which mirrors Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant ScoreCard data.
In an Insight report from 2017 Nielsen noted that convenience stores have many sources for inspiration. “In the QSR realm, speed has become an essential service element,” Nielsen reported. “Convenience stores need to follow suit, ensuring that customers looking for a quick meal can get in and out swiftly.”
The Dash In concept store offers all-day breakfast, as a nod to the quick-service restaurant (QSR) channel and a direct invitation to customers. Nielsen also recommended restaurant-style seating, broad menus for in-store service and premium product offerings as strategies for elevating the customer experience.
Here is what was different “Digging deeper, Nielsen data shows that subcategories like enhanced water, import, super premium and craft beer, ready-to-eat (RTE) meals, e-cigarettes, tools and housewares and sparkling wine all delivered mid-to-high double-digit sales growth for convenience stores last year,” Nielsen said in its Insight report.
Darleen Nascimento, director of brand marketing for Dash In  “We are delighted to support the craftsmanship of local purveyors and breweries throughout the region within this new Dash In experience,”  “Dash In’s commitment is to make life more rewarding for time-stretched people — we look forward to transforming necessary errands into engaging experiences.”
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Digital Payment Speeds Service Drives Sales

Legacy grocery stores have long been known by consumers as a place that it takes too long to shop at and even longer to wait in line to pay only to coaxed while in line for that last minute impulse buy the consumer really did not want according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
In a new study by Adyen found “Over the last 12 months, 86 percent of U.S. consumers say they have left a store due to long lines, resulting in purchases at a different retailer or no purchase at all. This resulted in approximately $37.7 billion lost in potential sales. In addition, $1.1 billion in potential sales have been lost when retailers don't support their customers' preferred payment methods, the survey found.
A key segment emerged in the study, coined "Spendsetters." This group loves to use technology, tends to be early adopters and represents one-third of all consumers and 52 percent of millennials.
According to Adyen, spendsetters will drive the future of retail as the key segment of shoppers who set the trends for how people want to spend and shop. The group is also the leading indicator of broader customer demands in retail experience and where the industry is headed.
Roelant Prins, chief commercial officer at Adyen stated "Retailers need to cater to shoppers by offering fast, easy and frictionless ways to pay so there are minimal lines and offer personalized recommendations and in-store deals. In other words, experience is key." Additional findings on Spendsetters from the survey include:
·         45 percent believe brand is important and are willing to pay a premium for the experience
·         49 percent love to shop
·         42 percent prefer to shop online
·         80 percent are comfortable using digital wallets
·         86 percent have left a store due to long lines
Spendsetters also have three overarching shopping demands:
·         75 percent would shop more in-store with a "just walk out" payment experience
·         69 percent would shop more in-store with shorter lines and direct shipping of out-of-stock products
Context (personalized)
·         57 percent say the ability to check if an item is available online before going in-store would increase their loyalty to a retailer
·         53 percent prefer a store with a mobile loyalty program
·         72 percent would shop more with personalized product recommendations and coupons, based on location
·         61 percent want personalized experiences based on past purchases and preferences
Control (interaction on their terms)
·         59 percent want to use a store-branded app to pay onsite
·         80 percent are comfortable using digital wallets
·         53 percent would shop more online if they could use a chatbot with personalized recommendations
·         80 percent would increase shopping frequency online through marketplaces
The survey also examined issues from the retailers' perspective:
·         46 percent of retailers are considering cashless stores
·         67 percent see an increase in customers using their mobile phones in-store for coupons, payments and product info
·         64 percent see a need for associates to use mobile devices to better assist customers
Additionally, when it comes to luxury retailers, 85 percent see an increase in customers using their mobile phone for shopping in stores in regards to coupons, payments and product information, and 74 percent are considering cashless stores that only accept cards and digital payment.
So just what is your New Electricity? Success does leave clues  is the global leader in grocerant niche business development.  We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities.  Has your company had a Grocerant ScoreCard completed a Grocerant Program Assessment, or new Grocerant niche product Ideation?  Want one?  Call 253-759-7869 Email:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Convenience Stores Sales are Higher Restaurants Sales are Flat

While U.S. convenience stores experienced a 15th straight year of record in-store sales and a 4th straight year of $10 billion-plus in pretax profits, according the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Restaurant sales remain flat overall according to TDn2K Black Box Intelligence.
C-store sales attract 165 million customers a day -- half of the U.S. population and stores account for one in 31 dollars spent in the country. The rest of the story is that restaurant customers continue to fuel foodservice growth within the S-store sector according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
U.S. convenience stores sales overall surged 9.3% to $601.1 billion in 2017.  Put another way, one of every 30.9 dollars spent in the country was spent at a convenience store in 2017.
Meanwhile, in-store sales increased 1.7% to a record $237.0 billion. Foodservice, as a broad category that mostly includes prepared food (69% of both category sales and profits) but also commissary foods and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages, continues to be a key focus for growth in the convenience store channel.
Foodservice sales overall in 2017 were $53.3 billion, accounting for 22.5% of in-store sales in 2017 and 33.9% of gross profit dollars. The category also was the biggest differentiator in terms of profits: top-quartile performers had prepared food sales that were 3.6 times greater than bottom-quartile stores; coffee sales at top performers were 5.2 times greater that than those of the bottom quartile.
Convenience stores sell 23.8% of packaged beverages in the United States per Nielsen and saw a slight 0.4% sales increase in 2017. Within the category, enhanced water saw the strongest sales increase (9.1%); ready-to-drink iced teas (3.5%), alternative beverages (3.5%) and bottled water (0.6%) also posted sales increases. Mix and Match meal component bundling is the key advantage C-stores have according to Johnson.  Wonder how you can elevate your branded meals component options?
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow?  Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Complexity Free Food is Food Authenticity

Restaurants at times elevate complexity in menu items to create differentiation.  That however was back in the day today complexity free food is more than just transparency in food according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.

Grocerant niche ‘Better-for-you’ fresh prepared food that is portable and portioned for one or two continues to drive demand in every sector of retail foodservice. Consumers today are seeking ‘better-for-you’ fresh prepared food as meal components that can be bundled in to a customized family meal according to Johnson. Does your team have the wrong definition for Grocerant? Do you understand the Grocerant niche?

Grocery stores of a bygone era thought they could responded to consumers demand to drive sales simply by opening more stores, larger stores, or ‘scale’ a fresh food department that looked like 1980’s rather than today. 
That did work when most food choice came from a can, a jar, or a box that could sit on a shelf for years and slotting fees paid for the shelf space. Simply put was a mindset of yesterday’s food retailers the ilk of A&P and others still taking slotting fees.

Johnson continued “retailers back in the day felt that all they need was more scale to compete successfully with other grocery stores. Today consumers demand fresh grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat prepared food can be found at companies the ilk of Wegmans, Green Zebra Grocery, New Season Market, Wawa, Sheetz, KFC, McDonald’s, and Papa Murphy’s.

Complexity free in the minds-eye of the consumer according to the team at Tacoma, WA based means, less meal preparation time, little or no cooking, less food waste, less time shopping, less packaging, local, fresh fast food, in-season food, and portions for one or two. In fact one of the key findings was no matter the size of the household fresh was best and the ability to mix and match meal components was crucial.  Does your company look more like yesterday or tomorrow?
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, May 20, 2018

Who Wins Millennials vs Restaurants, Grocerants, Grocery Stores

Millennial's relentless quest for fresh food discovery has created brand migration, new food sector trial, and migration from well-established ‘path-to-purchase’ paths not so well worn according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. 
Eating-In while Eating-Out is more common with Millennials than any other cohort. FMI’s Power of Foodservice at Retail looks at trends in retail foodservice and details how millennial shoppers look at meals they prepare at home, eat in restaurants, take out and have delivered to them. Here are some top findings that can help inform your foodservice at retail strategy:
·         Millennials (ages 19 to 37) average fewer weekly dinners that require some level of preparation. But that doesn’t mean they care any less about nutrition or variety than those who prepare more of their own meals.
·         To a greater extent than other shoppers, older millennials (ages 28 to 37) are interested in nutrition information. Older millennials value good nutrition when it comes to making meal selections that they don’t prepare themselves. The nutrition of the item almost as important as speed of service. They expect the retailer to tell them how fresh a product’s ingredients are and to provide them with information about any artificial ingredients that are used as well.
·         Older millennials also want to know about your food safety measures and detailed calorie information. They want healthier alternatives when selecting meals from a retailer’s foodservice department, things like low-calorie salad dressings and turkey meatloaf. In addition, this group also wants more organic options.
·         While younger millennials (those 18 to 27) are also interested in nutrition, they are even more interested in variety and the ability to select from a number of different cuisines. Younger millennials expect you to give them a better drink selection in foodservice, and that includes a good selection of different beers and wines. Among the options they would like to see are more vegetarian choices and chef-inspired meals. They demand more than just chicken when it comes to your deli meat selection and they like to see menus change with the seasons.
·         Millennials of all ages want to experiment more with the world’s cuisines. Their favorites include Mexican, Mediterranean, Japanese/sushi, Thai and Vietnamese.
Does your brand look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Grocerant niche is a platform that invites discovery.  Is it time to call the experts?  Success does leave clues. 
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pilot Flying J Fresh Food Fast

Fresh food fast dominates within the restaurant sector with 80.7 % of all restaurant sector visits occurring at fast food restaurants. It’s no wonder that all foodservice retailers are expanding fresh food fast formats with increasing success according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Fresh food fast and flavorful is top of mind at Pilot Flying J as they continue to expand Pilot Express units with a heavy emphasis on food and service.  Conceptualization of Pilot Express began at the end of 2016, with "earnest developments" rolling out at the start of 2017 as regular readers of this blog know as we excel within this space. 
The smaller-format concept particularly spotlights Pilot Flying J's commitment to food and beverage innovation, in line with the company's Facility Enhancement Plan (FEP). Introduced at the start of 2017, the FEP is the travel center operator's $500-million, five-year commitment to reimage existing locations through total facility image, menu and retail environment enhancements, and the addition of new services.
Pilot Flying J Chief Merchant Brian Ferguson explained  "Our Pilot Express locations have a smaller footprint compared to our traditional travel centers, just compressed to focus on food and beverage because that’s what our guests want, what they need and what they’re asking for,"
Built around the retailer's PJ Fresh Marketplace program, Pilot Express stores offer homestyle meals, grab-and-go and made-to-order sandwiches and salads, premium beverages, a "bean-to-cup, make-it-your-way, you-are-your-own-barista" coffee experience, and weekly limited-time offers. I bet that sounds familiar to many of you and you think about Foodservice Solutions® FIVE P’s of Food Marketing.
Ferguson continued, additional Pilot Express locations will open in 2018 and continue to play a strategic role in the success of its FEP, which is now in phase two. Pilot Flying J is targeting 50 locations this year for reimaging. Projects were completed at 50 locations in 2017 as part of phase one.
Furguson added "Our mission is deliver care and a smile at every stop, so when drivers are making the decision to get off the interstate to stop at a Pilot, Flying J or Pilot Express, we want guests to say, 'Pilot Flying J has tremendous service hospitality, amazing food,”
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.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Win Free Breakfast for a Year Just Listen to McDonald’s New Jingle

There is no food retailer today better than McDonald’s at consumer focused interactive and participatory brand marketing according to Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®
McDonald’s is celebrating the iconic Egg McMuffin on the menu for 45 years with a breakfast jingle and giving one lucky fan free breakfast for a year. The new breakfast jingle, created in partnership with Roger Greenaway, the Songwriters Hall of Fame member behind the “Buy the World a Coke” jingle and highlights how the company is building a better McDonald’s by giving our customers freshly prepared breakfast sandwiches, like the Egg McMuffin.
This is a fun way to kick start the day, pulled inspiration from the mouthwatering sounds of McDonald’s breakfast, such as:
·         Grade A, freshly cracked eggs
·         Extra-lean Canadian bacon, sizzling on the grill
·         McCafĂ© premium drip coffee, made from 100 percent Arabica beans
·         The soft scrape of real butter spread on toasted English muffins, biscuits and bagels
Breakfast enthusiasts everywhere can sing along to the new jingle on McDonald’s social channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Customers also have the chance to win free breakfast for a year and a limited-edition vinyl by commenting their favorite menu item and @-tagging a friend on the video.
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.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Five Success Clues for 2018 Grocerant Growth

Five undercurrents of growth are driving the continued expansion of grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food marketplace in 2018 according to Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson. According to Johnson to win in 2018 food retailers need a new Electricity integrated strategy.

Foodservice Solutions® field team headed by our own Grocerant Guru® has conducted in excess of 8,375 Grocerant ScoreCards. Non-client specific information garnered from those Grocerant ScoreCards during 2017 was the source for our findings. The five undercurrents driving grocerant growth are:

  1. Increase in competition for share of stomach: Companies the ilk of McDonald’s  EveryTable, New Seasons Market, Eat Fit Go, Munchery, Hello Fresh, and Plated.
  2. Expanded Mix and Match Meal Bundling : Restaurants the ilk of  Essen Slow Food Fast, Freshii, Moaz, Native Foods CafĂ©, Veggie Grill, Safeway, Publix, Rutter’s Farm Stores, Sheetz, and Wawa.
  3. Customization and or Personalization of menu items drive’s Gen Z and Millennial adoption. Without doubt retailers that edify there retail food brand are creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization and customer adoption.
  4. Small plates, Bold flavors, and Catering / Portability: Takeaways, and ToGo menu items sold in a restaurant, c-store, drug store, club store, furniture store, or grocery stores via a drive-thru, online, mobile, featuring authentic ethnic flavors regardless of the type of retail outlet for quick pick-up or delivery continue to drive adoption.
  5. Price : maybe Aldi said it best “Poor people must save, rich people like too”
Simply put Grocerant ScoreCards provide real-time customer relevance in our data dependent intelligence age according to our own Grocerant Guru®. Do you understand the undercurrents of change driving foodservice growth in 2018?  Do you understand the importance of integrating consumer relevance into your brand messaging? What’s your new electricity for 2018?

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