NAG 2017 Conference location announced.
By Erin Rigik Del Conte, Senior Editor
The National Advisory Group (NAG) Conference concluded on Sept. 14 with two final sessions aimed at helping retailers gain new ideas.
Josh Tahan, research consultant for Study Hall Research, presented information from the company’s “2016 Foodservice Perception Study.” As this is Study Hall Research’s third year presenting at the NAG conference, Tahan shared numbers showing how foodservice perceptions and demands have evolved over the past three years.
Key takeaways included that segment confusion continues for customers who see businesses such as Chipotle and Five Guys as “fast food.”
“QSRs (quick-service restaurants) have put a lot of effort into regaining the value-minded consumer,” explained Tahan. “Fast casual is seeing a big decline for a variety of reasons, ranging from menu price fatigue through segment confusion. Grocery stores have put a lot more grab-and-go options into stores to lure the on-the-go convenience customer.”
Tahan noted c-stores should be looking to get customers to come make one additional trip to the c-store to buy food.
While c-stores dominate the afternoon snack occasion, they are seeing increased competition with grocery stores for morning snacks.
Comparing 2014, 2015 and 2016 on food and beverage purchases at convenience stores, Tahan explained what surveyed customers want in terms of pizza, fruit cups, yogurt, sandwiches and more.
The bottom line? “Know your customers. Talk to them! Research them,” Tahan said. “Snack purchases are strong at c-stores but competition is coming. Take a look at what grocery is doing and see what you can replicate. It’s going to be very difficult to compete with grocery because they have different competencies.”
Lastly, value may be king, but so is quality. Tahan reiterated that the incremental visit should be the c-store focus going forward.
To close out the final session NAG Executive Director John Lofstock, along with Dr. Nancy Caldarola, general manager for the Food Training Group; Ben Ball, senior vice president Dechert-Hampe & Co.; and John Schaninger, vice president of sales and marketing for QuickChek Corp. gave a wrap up with ideas showcased at the conference that retailers could take back to their companies to help improve their bottom lines. Topics ranged from payment to technology to foodservice.
Save the Date
Next year’s NAG Conference begins on Sept. 10 in Nashville. See you there!