Retailers Experience Fundamental Changes in Consumer Foodservice Behavior
Undoubtedly, retailers have seen major shifts in consumer demand since the pandemic hit the U.S. Pre-pandemic, consumers split their food budget nearly 50/50 between at home and away from home. However, with the pandemic in full force, consumers have adjusted their behavior to spend nearly 70% of their foodservice budget for at home dining. 1This pattern is likely to continue for the foreseeable future at least until a vaccine is readily available nationwide. Experts indicate that is likely towards the end of Q2 or even Q3 2021. In light of this, we wanted to share with you a few strategic actions you can take now to better serve your customers as long as the trend toward increased dining at home continues.
Provide Ready to Cook Meal Bundles
If you already have a food service offering in your store, consider putting together meal bundles or meal kits that are ready for customers to grab from the cold case. By having these pre-assembled and ready to go, you’ll help customers get in and out of the store quickly (enabling social distancing) and you’ll be giving them a way to provide an easy healthy meal at home.
Food Service Robotics and Automation
There are a variety of food service robotics / automation solutions available that can prepare fresh and good tasting meals quickly, conveniently, and most importantly with maximum social distancing. In addition to options for coffee, fresh salads and grain bowls, one of the more appealing alternatives to hit the market is an automated pizza solution. Pizza Forno, based out of Toronto, Ontario, has been very successful in providing their fresh made to order artisan pizza in locations around Canada and officially launched in the US in November. Customers can order either from a touchscreen or from their mobile phone and a cooked to order pizza is ready in 3 minutes. Customers can also order the pizza cold and take it home to bake. Pizza is a 50 billion dollar business in the US making this turnkey solution appealing to retailers who don’t have space to retrofit a store to have a kitchen. These machines can be placed in as little as 55 square feet inside or take up less than a parking space if placed outside a store.
Invest in Mobile Ordering Technology that enables Safety as well as Visibility
Mobile ordering for food service has increasingly moved from being a nice-to-have to a must-have in 2020. Customers are requiring the ability to easily place orders from the device of their choice for either pick up or delivery so as to minimize their physical interaction with other people. Additionally, building out this functionality on either a new or existing mobile app increases your ability to promote your food offering to your customers and drive increased loyalty. Retailers that have mobile apps are up this year by almost 10% compared to last year2, which demonstrates retailers are very much responding to customer demand for these solutions. Furthermore, by incorporating push notifications and location based marketing you can make sure you’re top of mind when customers are making decisions on where to get their next meal.
We Can Help
It may feel like everything is in such flux right now as the nation and world fights this pandemic, but now is the time you should be planning and executing on a strategy to address changes in customer behavior and expectations for safety. Are you getting the most out of your existing systems? Are your systems and business processes optimized for handling the new demands of customers? Do your employees feel safe and that there are systems in place to promote safety?
Call us for a free one-hour evaluation where we can discuss your goals and the steps we can take to find and implement the right fit for your business.
Visit our website rocassociates.com for a no obligation copy of our full- length COVID-19 strategy report.
For more information,
contact Fiona Harris