business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Sacramento Bee reports on the growing trend toward take out food, noting that the NPD Group says that the average American ate 208 meals prepared outside the home last year, and that the National Restaurant Association (NRA) says that Americans spend 48 percent of their food dollars on restaurant food, up from 25 percent 50 years ago.

According to the story, “Fast food still dominates takeout -- it makes up as much as 70 percent of a typical McDonald's business -- but demand for to-go meals has grown for national players such as franchisor Applebee's International Inc. and Brinker International Inc.'s mid-range brands: Chili's Grill & Bar, Romano's Macaroni Grill and On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina.

“Takeout now accounts for about 12 percent of business for restaurants with receipts averaging $10 to $23 per person, the so-called ‘casual dining’ segment.” And the NRA expects that number to grow. A lot. Especially as wireless and mobile technology makes the act of ordering easier, and the younger generation of consumers demonstrates its facility with such tools.
KC's View:
The short message here is that the supermarket may be flirting with irrelevance, if not extinction.

Read Sansolo Speaks, above.

And then think about how to compete with these guys.

I hate to raise an issue on which I got shellacked pretty good last week, but it has to be pointed out that by selling gift cards for these restaurant locations, or branded frozen or packaged products carrying their logos, supermarkets are only giving them further credibility, visibility and possibly sales. Some will argue that this is the only way for supermarkets to get a piece of their business, but if this is true, then the war is already lost.

“Compete” is a verb, dammit.