Technomic Expands Brand Tracking for Retail Foodservice

Cross-channel look at which restaurants, retailers consumers consider as alternatives

Published in CSP Daily News

CHICAGO -- As distinctions between restaurants and retailers increasingly blur, foodservice suppliers and operators must increase their understanding of the needs, behaviors and attitudes of consumers sourcing ready-to-eat meals, regardless of the channel. To support these efforts, Technomic's online Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) restaurant brand tracking tool has expanded to include ongoing consumer assessments and performance ratings for more than 40 retail chain brands.

"The CBM expansion empowers operators and suppliers with the consumer insights and information they need to track brand performance across channels and to maintain a competitive advantage," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic.

CBM users can now compare consumers' evaluations of restaurants and retailers on specific attributes of the foodservice experience, such as food quality, staff knowledge, ambiance and takeout capabilities, based on their most recent visit to the chain. For example, about as many consumers rate the beverage quality of QuickChek (96%) and Wawa (96%) as good or very good as those visiting Jamba Juice (98%) and Caribou Coffee (95%), both among the leading quick-service restaurants (QSRs) on this attribute.

Users can also build a cross-channel competitive set from the consumer's point of view and learn which restaurants and retailers consumers consider as alternatives to visiting each chain. For example, 25% of consumers who purchased prepared foods at Whole Foods Market on a recent visit said they would have otherwise visited a restaurant on this occasion; specific restaurants mentioned as alternatives include fast-casual and casual-dining chains such as Panera Bread, Pei Wei Asian Diner and Chili's Grill & Bar.

The data can also be used more broadly to understand what's important to consumers at different types of retailers and restaurants. For example, 56% of consumers say it's important for traditional supermarkets to offer natural and organic prepared foods, compared to just 44% of consumers who seek similar menu items from fast-casual restaurants and 39% from QSRs.

Data for more than 125 leading restaurant chains and 40 retailers is available in the CBM online database, which allows operators to track their performance against competitors across channels on a variety of attributes regarding food and beverage, service, atmosphere, value, convenience, brand image and more.

Brands can also analyze their results by region, demographic group or designated market area. The consumer feedback is based on ongoing data collection and compiled from a nationally representative sample of more than 96,000 restaurant and retail foodservice visits annually.

Chicago-based Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.