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Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

I recorded this FaceTime at the United Fresh Produce Association show in Chicago, where I spent some time this week recording a couple of Retail Tomorrow podcasts that we’ll be posting this summer.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, wait a minute. The Retail Tomorrow initiative comes out of GMDC, the Global Market Development Center, which traditionally has focused on the nonfood part of the business, while United Fresh is all about the fresh side … so what do they have in common? Well, I don’t think that this is counter-intuitive at all, since both - GMDC with Retail Tomorrow and United Fresh with its BrandStorm event - understand that it is critical to think about the big picture, and that progressive organizations, like great retailers, have to be willing to venture outside their traditional lanes.

Speaking out going outside lanes … one of my guests in the podcasts was Michael Stebner, who is the director of culinary innovation at Sweetgreen, the healthy food-oriented fast casual chain and fast-growing restaurant chain. One of the things that Michael talked about - and I was totally intrigued by this - is how Sweetgreen has developed what it calls its Outposts, which are helping the fuel its growth.

A Sweetgreen Outpost is pretty simple - it is just a simple kiosk of sort that gets positioned in a company’s office, or a building, or an office park, or in shared work spaces like WeWork. People who work there know that if they place their order via mobile app by a certain time, their food will be delivered to that kiosk at a specific hour … and they don’t have to pay a delivery fee. Not only does this allow Sweetgreen to go to its customers - as opposed to waiting for customer to come to it - but it also allows Sweetgreen to schedule the ordering and delivery times in such a way that it takes advantage of slower hours in its restaurants to assemble these meals.

I think this is simple, and kind of brilliant, and there clearly is a market for the concept. Sweetgreen had just 15 of them a few months ago, but now is approaching several hundred, with expectations that it won’t be long before it has several thousand.

It is the kind of idea that more retailers ought to think about … taking click-and-collect to the next step, and making it highly focused (on meals) and highly targeted (on a customer who might otherwise be patronizing s competitor for share-of-stomach).

In other words, the very definition of a brand-centric version of what retail can look like tomorrow.

That’s what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

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