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6 Foodservice Lessons (September 2015)

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill.— As the September edition of CSP magazine hits the streets, we bring you six of the best lessons and ideas from the issue. Read on, and follow the links to read the articles themselves and discover even more great ideas for driving foodservice sales.

1. Reach for Growth

In part two of CSP-Product Evaluations’ Annual Trend Report (click here for part one), we explore how retailers can evolve to the next level of foodservice, wherever they are on the spectrum. Those with a limited commitment to foodservice (two items or less on the menu) should consider dispensed frozen drinks, breakfast sandwiches and ethnic handheld items—three menu categories that are prevalent amongst moderate-commitment retailers. For those in the moderate-commitment bucket (five to seven items) who are aiming to compete with high-commitment operators (10-plus items), consider adding burgers, deli salads and chicken programs.

2. Track the Pizza Concepts

Keep your eye on the Pieology Pizzeria, the fastest-growing small restaurant chain in the United States, according to Restaurant Business’ Future 50. Pieology makes individually sized pizzas—topped to order with about 30 toppings—and baked in less than three minutes in an open-flame, stone-deck oven. It was among three fast-casual pizza concepts on this year’s Future 50, along with Blaze Pizza at No. 2 and Mod Pizza at No. 5.

3. Consider Third-Party Delivery

The rise of third-party delivery services such as GrubHub, Postmates and even Uber gives c-stores the opportunity to offer delivery without the investment in infrastructure. What’s the threat? Restaurants are quickly joining the trend, so if c-stores don’t act, are you giving them one more way to steal a meal occasion?

4. Recruit at Culinary Schools

If you’re trying to bring in employees with more of a foodservice focus, consider visiting culinary schools, vocational schools and high schools with culinary arts programs. Many of these students may not be looking for a traditional restaurant job, and would be intrigued by the prospects of the burgeoning c-store foodservice industry. Just remember, it will be your job to educate them about why they’d want to join the segment.

5. Bet on the Busy Balancer

Fifty-percent of c-store foodservice users come from two eater “archetypes,” as defined by Technomic: functional eaters and busy balancers. Functional eaters are likely already familiar to you: male, younger millennials, lower income, who think of food as fuel. The busy balancer meanwhile is primarily female, also millennial, but of a higher income. She has embraced a hectic lifestyle, balancing a career, family, friends and community. Though they only make up 14% of the foodservice consumer pie, busy balancers are the most frequent foodservice users because it is a crucial component of their lives. How can you relate and market to them?

6. Minimize the Idea, Emphasize the Process

In his September column on moving a menu item from ideation to rollout, Ed Burcher quoted former Wawa CEO Dick Wood, who once said, “We are long on planning and short on execution.” Or in Burcher’s own words, “Having a great idea is easy; it’s consistent execution that is the toughest part.” Success therefore lies in the process, which includes knowing your guests, building quality from R&D and on, and designing an execution process for consistency. 

Abbie Westra


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