Monday, May 23, 2011

From menu to label: Restaurant foods begin hitting grocery shelves

Stroll the aisles at your local supermarket and you may find yourself wondering if you just entered a grocery store or a popular restaurant chain’s dining room.  TGI Friday’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Taco Bell, and PF Chang’s are just a few restaurants who have licensed retail versions of their menu items to be sold on grocery shelves, and it’s a trend that is set to continue: Penetrating the retail market not only opens up an alternative revenue stream; it allows consumers to have the restaurant experience at home while still remaining connected to your signature offerings - think of it as an extension of your brand.

It’s not just the major chains that are making the jump.  California-based Tender Greens and Specialty’s CafĂ© and Bakery are two examples of small to medium sized establishments that have crossed over to the retail market. 

This trend caught my attention not only in the grocery store, but also in my office.  I deal with a lot of restaurants who need to comply with nutrition labeling laws, and food companies who need to comply with packaged food labeling laws.  Now I am starting to see al lot of crossover.  At this point the two set of regulations are quite different, but are hopefully clear, and simple enough not to confuse the consumer. 

Are you a restauranteur who has had success with marketing your brand through alternative foodservice channels?  Please share your experience.

See you on the shelves!


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