PROFILE

Richard J. George, Ph.D.

Professor of Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

Dr. Richard J. George is Professor Emeritus of Food Marketing at the Haub School of Business, St. Joseph’s University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in economics. He holds an MBA from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University. He has authored or co-authored eleven books including Winning Customer Rules and Winning Marketing Strategy: The Rules.  He has also been recognized with several awards for teaching and research excellence, including the prestigious Lindback and Tengelmann Awards.   As an entrepreneur he has learned the need to “walk the walk” and not simply “talk the talk.” He was one of nineteen professors nationwide named as their favorite undergrad business professor and profiled by Business Week in a feature titled “Class Acts.”  In 2014 he was voted by students as the “Top Prof” in the Haub School of Business.  He has lived and taught in England at the University of London and in Ireland at the University College Cork.

As an expert on food marketing strategy, brand strategy, business ethics, marketing strategy, customer delight, marketing trends, and servant leadership, he has been quoted by major news organizations and industry publications worldwide. He has spoken on these topics in the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Pacific Rim.  Articles on these topics have appeared in the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Food Products Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Adweek, Grocery Headquarters, Marketing News, the International Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Research, the Journal of Negro Education, and the Journal of Business Ethics.

Dr. George has spent his entire professional career in the development of people.  Over the course of his career, with his speeches in the U.S. and internationally, he has reached tens of thousands of students and food marketing industry leaders.  He is the previous holder of the Gerald E. Peck Fellowship, working on a project for the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).  The objective of the IFDA research project was to enhance collaboration between foodservice manufacturers and distributors.  Previously, he held the fellowship sponsored by FMI during which he produced three published research reports focusing on the future of food wholesaling.

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  • Posted on: 08/14/2018

    Aldi shoppers are getting curbside pickup, but do they want it?


    I never want to bet against Aldi and the Albrecht family. Recall when the company entered the U.S. and was labelled the silent killer, showing up in locations with little fanfare and advertising. Currently Aldi is in the midst of a multi-billion dollar expansion and store upgrade program. The curbside pickup and home delivery are experiments that need to be undertaken to determine the financial and competitive effects of that. The biggest challenge to this effort is the potential impact on its image and positioning. If customers perceive this as simply another way to get their groceries these days, then the delivery options Aldi is testing become the ante, rather than a change in its positioning in the mind of its target market.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2018

    Rite Aid and Albertsons call off merger – what’s next?

    For Albertsons it's all about continuing to invest in technology while seeking opportunities for innovation to better compete with the Amazons et al. of the retailing world. Bolting on a third-tier pharmacy like Rite Aid did not provide them with the strategic advantages necessary to justify upping the deal price. As for Rite Aid, it is now on its own to find its way. Albertsons could have helped them on the path.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2018

    Amazon delivers latest Prime perk to Whole Foods’ curb

    First, is anyone surprised by this move? This is one area where Amazon/Whole Foods has lagged behind traditional food retailers. Second, Whole Foods' image as fresh and natural gives it more credence for the picking of perishables than might be the case with Amazon Fresh. Third, click and collect always presents the opportunity for a quick visit into Whole Foods for some unplanned, high-margin products.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2018

    Fred’s amps up the treasure hunt

    Absolutely. Some people need to save money while shopping, but everyone likes to save money. Fred's Closeout Bonanza is both a closeout and a bonanza. Plus, the nature of the pricing strategy will tend to generate multiple visits as customers seek their optimal price for items being followed. In addition, you can expect that while they are in the store updating their research, they may tend to buy additional products that are unplanned. In essence, Fred's concept is similar to the treasure hunt phenomenon pioneered by Costco. Get it now or forever miss the opportunity. As far as other retailers are concerned, if they are carrying excess, dated merchandise they should make it a fun event to unload it.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2018

    Walmart still trying to figure out home delivery

    The “final mile” continues to plague the home delivery of goods. As noted many organizations are testing a myriad of options. However, it appears as though Amazon continues to lead in innovative means to get products to customers. Plus, its ongoing investment in DCs and a dedicated fleet of delivery vehicles raises the competitive and financial bar that others need to deal with.
  • Posted on: 07/27/2018

    Can store associates do anything about rude customers?

    While I understand some of the legitimate complaints of associates, I am reminded that even the thinnest pancake has two sides. If companies want to diminish such incidents they need to FIRE UP their associates. FIND those with talents that fit the demands of the position (outgoing, empathetic, etc.). INVOLVE these associates in understanding the culture of retail and prepare them properly on potential interactions. REWARD them commensurate with the expected behavior. How about some recognition (money or another reward) for the fewest number of customer complaints? EMPOWER them by engaging them in scenarios of rude customer behavior, seeking their suggestions on how to defuse such situations. You will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
  • Posted on: 07/24/2018

    Chick-fil-A to pilot meal kit market test in ATL

    The meal kit business can be successful if it is designed to serve the needs of potential customers. Current offerings requiring a subscription and plan-ahead efforts limit market potential. Chick-fil-A's no subscription and no call-ahead features give customers many of the attributes they are seeking in terms of "what's for dinner tonight." The vast majority of American families do not know what they are eating for dinner as late as 4 p.m. Chick-fil-A has a terrific following. This test, which I predict will be successful, will lead to further expansion of the concept. With this move, Chick-fil-A moves into a space previously held by food retailers as well as traditional restaurants, making it a formidable competitor to both.
  • Posted on: 07/20/2018

    Retailers and brands collide

    Absolutely. An expression I use is, "think like a brand and act like a retailer." Retailers need to consider what unique offerings will drive customers to their store and/or website. Every retailer carries national brands and for good reason. However, what makes a customer drive past one retailer to visit another or close one website and open another? The answer simply is differential advantage. Unique brands, store layout, promotions, websites, customer service, etc., all contribute to a retailer's differential advantage. Given this scenario, national brands need to develop their own unique products and alternative distribution channels to balance power and give consumers a reason to "drive" to them.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2018

    Prime Day success extends beyond Amazon

    Like other comments mentioned, Amazon needs to be better prepared for such events. It is kind of ironic that Amazon, perhaps the greatest logistics company to date in our history, faltered at the start of the race. Other retailers were more proactive than Amazon this year and seemed to do well. Such events during the "dog days" of summer seem to be well appreciated and supported by customers. The only challenge that remains for these retailers is to generate such volume without too much margin sacrifice. Remember, anyone can give product away, it takes brains to sell it.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Can Papa John’s recover from its founder’s racial slur?

    Yes. Beyond the swift and positive PR campaigns, Papa John’s needs to address the needs of current and potential employees. There have been lots of recent crisis management failures: Uber, United Airlines and Chipotle. On the other hand, the response of Pepsi in April 2017 to the Kendall Jenner ad was swift and to the point; removal of the ad and a straightforward apology. Schnatter is done.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Did Build-A-Bear destroy its brand with a successful promotion?

    To the questions: yes, no and brand equity severely damaged. Perhaps not as much as Papa John’s but tarnished nonetheless. Now the company needs to launch an aggressive campaign targeted to all affected shoppers, not simply its Bonus Club members. Build-A-Bear is not a victim of circumstances it could not control. It created the situation and now needs to address it swiftly and positively.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Will Amazon team with third-party sellers as a Prime perk?

    While good for Amazon, the primary benefits would redound to the third parties. Amazon represents a rising tide that will lift all boats in its harbor. Amazon will dictate the terms and will be sensitive to any potential negative impact on Whole Foods. The third parties need to protect their brands and pricing.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Amazon to start new Christmas tradition with its own toy catalog

    Another pre-emptive move by Amazon for all of the noted reasons in the article. Makes good sense from their focus on convenient customer solutions. In addition to the printed catalog, I assume Amazon will offer an electronic version as well. Don’t believe you will see any negative pricing implications. If any retailer has learned how to price right products it is Amazon.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2018

    Amazon calls on entrepreneurs to help deliver its packages

    Once again, Amazon is testing alternative delivery modes and in doing so, it is raising the bar on customer expectations and forcing competitors to constantly try to catch up. The idea of a recognized giant in the industry teaming with entrepreneurs is classic. Remember when Bezos was the entrepreneur and Amazon was the fledgling business? The quote "success breeds complacency" certainly does not apply to Amazon. As for entrepreneurs, Amazon's track record of working with and helping entrepreneurs succeed is well documented.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2018

    Are retailers overlooking their communities?

    The only limitations are commitment and creativity. Being community-focused is a definite tie breaker in store choice. Unfortunately, many community-based retailers lack such a commitment. When I asked a food retail CEO if he was community-focused, his reply was that he has been a member of the local country club for 25 years. In addition to the article’s suggestions there are even more ways to demonstrate a commitment to one’s community. An underutilized asset is the parking lot. One retailer invites the local high school band to practice mid-week in the parking lot, followed by drinks and snacks. Another invites local pet groomers to do their thing in the lot. Both of these are significant tie breakers. Get the creative juices going. The reward-to-cost ratios are overwhelming.

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