From the Grocery Aisle to the Streets
Written by Jennah An
As you walk through the isle of your local grocery, you will find brands such as Chobani, Amy’s Kitchen, and Nestlé on the shelves on any given day. What you may not know is that you can now find these brands in their own dedicated stores as you walk through the streets of some major cities around the U.S. The Chobani Café is located in the posh, New York City SoHo area; Amy’s Kitchen created Amy’s Drive Thru, which opened up a location in San Francisco; and Nestlé boutiques such as Nestlé Tollhouse Café and Nespresso can be found in cities from New York City to Miami.
But why are these brands trying to attract consumers to come into these restaurants if their products are already conveniently available at grocery stores?
1. To stand out from the competition
There are numerous Greek yogurts, frozen entrées, and coffee options on the shelves and these branded stores are a unique way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The Greek yogurt market is heavily saturated with numerous options from Dannon, Fage, Yoplait, and so on. Chobani elevates their brand and differentiates themselves from the rest of the competition with their New York City storefront. Their café gives consumers a chance to experience artisanal, handmade Greek yogurt, rather than the everyday yogurt they may find in the grocery store. This sets Chobani apart as an expert and authority in Greek yogurt production.
The same idea applies to Amy’s Drive Thru. Consumers are more interested in fresh rather than frozen entrées and the age of T.V. dinners is long gone. What differentiates Amy’s Kitchen from other frozen entrée brands is that they offer organic, vegan, and gluten-free frozen entrée options, and Amy’s Drive Thru allows consumers to experience whole natural foods in a fast food environment.
2. To test and explore different products and recipes
Every major food and beverage company has their very own test kitchen where they test hundreds to thousands of recipes each year in the quest to find the next product to hit the shelves. Most of these test kitchens are top-secret and out of the consumers’ reach. However, the brick and mortar stores are a new way to get consumers involved in the test kitchen and really utilize their feedback in the innovation process. The popular line of product from Chobani called Chobani Flip draws inspiration from the best selling flavor and ingredient combinations at their SoHo café.
One Amy’s customer shared their personal favorite Amy’s Kitchen combination of adding Amy’s Kitchen chili to the Amy’s Kitchen Mac & Cheese. Now the Chili Mac & Cheese is one of the biggest requests at Amy’s Drive Thru. Because of the popularity, Amy’s Kitchen is planning on launching the ‘Chili Mac’ as part of their frozen entrée line.
3. To build a bigger brand presence on social media
Consumers and influencers love to share what they eat on social media; therefore, social media is becoming a more and more important marketing tool for brands. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are starting to develop paid advertising programs for brands and marketers but the most popular form of advertising on social media is still through ‘word of mouth’. When one user shares a photo and tweets about their favorite brand, product, or experience, their friends and followers already have the ‘trust’ factor. This “branded” content spreads through the network, increasing brand presence on social media, and increasing brand awareness amongst the users and consumers.
4. Create a better brand experience
The most important factor of these brands and their brick and mortar restaurants is customer experience. What is the customer experience like when they pick up a product at the grocery store? What is the customer experience like when they go to the brand’s restaurant to order a product from the menu? This experience creates a better emotional connection between the brand and the consumer as well as creates an elevated perception of the brand. The difference in experience is also an important factor when it comes to differentiation from the competitors.
What is your opinion on this new trend? Have you been to any of these restaurants? Tell us your thoughts and experience!
Jennah An is Marketing Coordinator at Gammon Ragonesi Associates.