Business Insights

The Shifting Competitive Landscape of Foodservice

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Change is Coming to the Foodservice Industry

As retailers- grocery stores, c-stores and even gas stations- ramp up their efforts in the prepared food/beverage game, they’re poised to take even bigger bites out of restaurant businesses.

Retail foodservice options have evolved beyond old-school à la carte hot delis, rotating rotisserie chickens, hot dogs on rolling grills and pots of coffee made who knows when. Grocery stores have evolved into “grocerants” that sell complete individual meals and bundled family meals. These often closely resemble restaurant meals with globally-inspired and veg-centric items, indulgent entrees and an array of sides, salads and soups. The best ones offer on-the-spot customization and preparation too. Many provide shoppers with seating areas as well.

How Did We Get Here?

The convenience factor. Time-strapped consumers are seeking convenience; Picking up meals and snacks while they grocery shop means one less stop to make on the way home. Most Americans say they usually don’t know what’s for dinner two hours before mealtime. Frequently, these consumers turn to grocery deli/prepared foods when unsure about dinner.

The cost factor. With no service-labor costs and the ability to leverage economies of scale, grocerants can offer consumers a higher level of value and lower prices. And while food prices everywhere are rising, the increase at grocery stores is a tiny fraction compared to that at restaurants. Seem like a small matter? Not to budget-crunched consumers looking for deals wherever they can.

The comfort factor. Consumers are increasingly interested in prepared food at home. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always cooking. Bundled meals afford them more time with family in the comfort of home.

What Can We Learn From This?

No single operation can be all things to all people. So, what’s your unique selling proposition? Look for ways to differentiate your operations from all competition by menuing top-quality food and genuine hospitality. While you’re at it, compete on convenience and cost via your own takeout meals, bundles and delivery that gives customers the options they want, and the food and service that makes their lives better.

Get ahead by asking our Shamrock Foods Business Solutions team for strategies that give you a competitive edge.

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