By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, Food Marketing Institute

According to the 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail report, in a typical week, an average of 4.5 dinners are prepared at home, whether cooked from scratch or using semi/fully prepared items. When preparing dinner, 63% of consumers incorporate time-saving solutions in the form of semi- and fully prepared items including bagged salads, heat-and-eat mashed potatoes or ready-to-eat meat. There is an opportunity for food retailers to capture more mealtime solution shoppers with foodservice offerings, but to do so we need to learn a few lessons. Here are three lessons about foodservice grocers could learn from Starbucks:

Technology Solutions

The coffee run of today is totally different. When my co-workers want an afternoon pick-me-up, they use Starbuck’s app to pre-order, walk around the corner and pick up their beverage. No lines, no barista calling their name and no in-person checkout. According to the 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail report, grocery stores looking to improve their chances of capturing deli-prepared business could entice their shoppers with separate checkout lines for deli orders and the ability to order in advance through apps or websites. Foodservice grocery shoppers have much less appetite for delivery, whether by the grocery store or a third-party service.

The Need for Speed

Nobody wants their coffee run to take 30 minutes or have to wait very long for an associate to assist them. Starbucks knows this and dedicates associates to fulfilling online orders, so beverages are ready when customers arrive. They also maintain a tight assembly line for in-store orders, so all customers have a speedy experience. Shoppers (68%) tell us that speed is most important to them when making foodservice at retail purchases and underscore this by utilizing grab-and-go, ready-to-eat formats the most.

Menu Variety

Pumpkin Spice Latte, Unicorn Frappuccino®, S'mores Hot Chocolate—these are some of the unique menu items Starbucks has offered. They even have a special secret menu that customers access through their app for the latest and greatest concoction. This variety creates both excitement and curiosity that keeps customers coming back for more. We found that a very high number (88%) of shoppers want to see more new items and flavors in retail foodservice. In fact, the most frequently mentioned word in the open-ended suggested was “more” in combination with words such as variety, food, options and items.  The highest share of grocery shoppers (31%) want to see flavor and item rotation on a monthly basis, but 28% want even greater levels of innovation and recommend a weekly or even daily rotation.

Dive deeper and join us for the Power of Foodservice webinar on October 9.   

Download 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail