Nestle planting seeds in new frozen food brands

“Nestle S.A. will invest in Outsiders Pizza Co. and Wildscape while giving them time to make their mark in the frozen food category. The two brands are examples of new innovation models called “internal incubators” by Nestle.

“What we try to do there is to reproduce what start-up companies would do but benefitting from the scale and the strength of Nestle,” said Laurent Freixe, executive vice-president of Nestle S.A., on June 13 at the Deutsche Bank’s dbAccess Global Consumer Conference in Paris.”

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Low price growth signals tight financial times for grocery

“As prices fall or stay the same for many grocery items, consumers will rejoice — or they may not notice. But grocers notice in a big way. Already low margins have shrunk even further, and there is less room to cut costs in order to stay competitive. Last month’s prices only increased in one sector. They decreased 1.3% for nonalcoholic beverages, 0.6% for dairy, 0.4% for produce, and 0.2% for bakery products, according to BLS statistics. The increase in meat, poultry, fish and egg prices just barely pulls grocery stores into having net higher prices.”

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Employee touching hair then preparing food leads to failed inspection.

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“SAN ANTONIO – A sushi restaurant in the Blue Star complex failed a city health inspection last month after an employee was seen touching their hair then continuing food preparation work. The inspector also noted that the restaurant needed, “an overall cleaning and organizing of personal and establishment food and dish wares.”

“Metropolitan Health Department records confirm that Sukeban had corrected all of its violations.”

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How Restaurants Are Winning Over The Youngest Diners

“Kids menus—particularly at chain restaurants—have taken a beating for being unhealthy, uninteresting and unevolved. But while parents have pushed for the elimination of sugary soft drinks and the addition of fruit and veggies, it’s not just healthier menu choices that make a restaurant kid-friendly. Service, ambiance and the dining experience as a whole matter to parents and their children—especially the largest group of parents: millennials.”

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Starbucks Raises Its Coffee Prices

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“Evaluating prices periodically allows us to balance the need to run our business profitably while continuing to provide value to our loyal customers and attract new customers – the spokesperson said.”

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Chipotle Invests in Delivery

Off-site orders are the future Chipotle sees. So much so, in fact, that the new CEO, Brian Niccol, has spent some $3m outfitting stores with new flatscreen ordering systems.  So far, Chipotle as outfitted about 300 stores with these $10,000 platforms–and expects to roll out to another 600 stores this year.

The platforms are the brand’s effort to streamline and lean in to the mobile and delivery segment of the business.  Employees see images of an order’s ingredients, instead of words, and labels are printed automatically instead of handwritten. The new system makes it easier and quicker to train workers, and orders are more accurate according to Chief Digital and Information Officer Curt Garner. The move will improve the additional production lines — dedicated to digital, online and catering orders — that Chipotle has added to supplement the front lines that serve in-store diners.

Taco Bell, KFC and McDonald’s are all now offering the service in some capacity, while Panera Bread has built its own network with 13,000 drivers. Chipotle, meanwhile, is eager to prove it can recapture growth.  Chipotle has said about 8.8 percent of orders go to its second production lines. The chain is working to boost its delivery capabilities — in April it announced a partnership with DoorDash Inc. to add the service to 1,500 restaurants. It also delivers at some locations through Postmates Inc. and Tapingo.

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C-Stores Evolve With Guests

What’s old is new again.  Conveniences store, the oft-forgotten stepchild of the grocery, restaurant, foodservice continuum are stepping into a new age.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen the restaurant industry eclipse grocery sales in America, which was a huge first.  Now, restaurant revenues have finally started to slow–not slip!–and some spending to return to other formats.

And C-stores want a piece of the action.  At Choice Market in Denver, guests can get artisan sandwiches and staples like quinoa or kombucha on tap.  Housed in 2,700 square feet–about the size of an average Chipotle, places like Choice Market and Green Zebra, in Portland, are finding a new niche between QSR’s and grocery stores, but well above the traditional Doritos-and-candy convenience store.

Traditional players, like Wawa, have long known the value of the their real estate and already provide an up-scaled convenient experience.  And now Amazon is getting in on the action with Amazon Go–a cashless, cashier-less store that tracks you and bills your Amazon account.

We’re seeing a confluence of trends merge on similar themes again and again: grocery stores relying on prepared foods for sales, restaurants capitalizing on the fast casual trend, and automation in point of sale.

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