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: 03/22/2019

    Target plans to speed grab-and-go purchases with ‘Snack Bar’

    Another interesting experiment as Target seeks to define itself going forward. However, I do not see this as a game changer. It's not really unique and may not fit the eating occasion and the current target market for Target.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2019

    Do furniture retailers need a new approach in the digital age?

    Some terrific comments by my fellow BrainTrust members. My only add is to emphasize that it's not digital versus bricks & mortar. The successful furniture retailer will need to offer a blend of the two shopping formats. With such a blend, the retailer can be freed from trying to carry everything in cavernous stores. Instead, the stores could be reformatted to reflect more of a customized showroom experience. In addition, the online experience can't be limited to catalog like presentation of furniture. Instead, the use of virtual reality, allowing the customer to see the what the product looks like in her home, needs to become the new reality. Shipping (final mile) and assembly will continue to be a challenge for furniture retailers of all ilk. However, local bricks & mortar retailers may have an advantage in this area.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2019

    Are Amazon’s private labels falling short or just getting started?

    I place myself in the "getting started" camp. Consider the Amazon evolution from a logistics-focused company to a customer-centric organization. Amazon has been the consummate innovator and experimenter in services, offerings and delivery options, not to mention the Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon Go and now perhaps another food retailer. I see the next phase for Amazon moving from sales and logistics to product marketing, including its own labels. I rarely bet against Amazon and will not do so here. Let’s see what happens in a year.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2019

    Burger King launches $5-a-month coffee subscription service

    Burger King has forever lagged behind McDonald's. The company surrendered its potential advantage years ago when it abandoned the "broiling beats frying" campaign. Imagine what would have happened if BK forced McD's to convert to broiling? In any event, this move will probably not result in seismic shifts in breakfast market share for Burger King but there are some positives. First, it allows customers to sample and develop repeat consumption of its new coffee initiative. Second, it drives visits to pick up the coffee, perhaps in day parts in addition to breakfast. Subscriptions with flexibility have potential. A lesson should be learned from Blue Apron's original relatively inflexible subscription program, that generated more churn than repeat subscribers.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2019

    Will Walmart’s new tablet burn into Amazon Fire’s market share?

    While I see this as part of a continuing foray into developing its own tech products under the ONN brand, the questions that remains are what significant differential does the Walmart kid-friendly tablet offer and what is the market maturity. Unfortunately, it appears that this is basically a me-too brand in a relatively mature market.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2019

    Will customer hosts raise the shopping experience bar at Walmart?

    Removing the older and special-needs greeters will not be easily overcome from a PR perspective. However, if the new position of customer host is able to make life easier for Walmart shoppers, then some of the negative press and proposed shopper boycotts may be ameliorated. The noted new tasks - cart runs, spill cleanups, heavy lifting have little potential impact on customers. Making product returns easier is a start. Making checkout easier would be a positive move. Time will tell where the emphasis is placed.
  • Posted on: 03/08/2019

    Has Dollar Tree gotten Family Dollar turned around?

    Dollar Tree management should receive kudos for its patience with resolving the Family Dollar situation. Given the struggles Family Dollar has encountered, a wholesale sale would have been at a wholesale price. Its current “weed, feed & rebranding” seems to make sense. Some will argue that all remaining Family Dollar stores should be rebranded as Dollar Tree stores. However, if Family Dollar has a customer base that is different from the other dollar stores & if this target market perceives Family Dollar as having a distinctive differential advantage (?), then keeping it in play makes sense.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2019

    Where are grocers failing on in-store experience?

    Assortments reflecting trending categories is a difficult barrier to overcome. Potentially, the easiest is interacting with humans. Although this reflects hiring, training, etc. which takes time, resources and a commitment. This should be the ante for every retailer.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2019

    Technology disruptors are causing independent supermarkets to innovate

    Very late to a terrific discussion. The preceding comments underscore the divergent, insightful comments of the BT, which make it fun to read and participate. Only point I would add is that independents need to know what problems that their target market gives them permission to profitably solve, and then do it better than the competitive array. Your customers will tell you what’s important, more so than predictions from the proclaimed experts.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2019

    What will Amazon do with a conventional grocery banner?

    Good news for Amazon. A real threat to conventional supermarkets that play in the middle of the market. Amazon might be further enhanced by considering the inclusion of some value retailers in its expansion strategy. After all, Amazon positions itself as the convenient, customer centric, value retailer. I predict minimum impact on Whole Foods.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2019

    Why is shelf management getting short shrift in supermarkets?

    The reasons for lack of action are not new. This research highlights the importance of the “longest yard.” Somehow the focus shifted from managing the shelf to figuring out online. While no one disputes the emerging importance of online, what’s happening in stores, particularly at this critical nexus of customer decision making, can no longer be ignored. The technology is available, what’s missing has been the commitment and resourcing.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2019

    Is Walmart just starting to hit its stride?

    Walmart has done a terrific job of reinventing itself to reflect the current competitive landscape. It’s kind of ironic that it has taken the company almost twenty years to begin to give Amazon a run for its money. In the early ‘90s Walmart changed food retailing with the introduction of Supercenters. Unfortunately, two things appear to have contributed to its tardy response to Amazon. First, I believe its success created complacency. Second, the company failed to follow Sam Walton’s Rules for Building a Business. Rule #10: Swim upstream. Go the other way. “Be prepared for a lot of folks to wave you down and tell you you’re headed the wrong way.” Had Walmart followed Mr. Sam’s Rules it might have pre-empted Amazon. The current trajectory is very positive.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    America has too many retail stores

    Darwin is often misquoted. People attribute the saying, "Only the strong survive," to Darwin. In fact, what he said was "In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.” Neither the economy or competitors are often the reason for a store's demise. It is customers that retain or remove retailers from the market. Too many stores? Perhaps. Too many inefficient or irrelevant retailers. Certainly.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2019

    Can Whole Foods’ business afford higher prices?

    As noted, Whole Foods, with its acquisition by Amazon, has tended to mitigate its high price image. Given the plans of the noted CPG manufacturers to attempt to raise prices (all prices are on trial), the impact may be more noticeable in other more price driven supermarkets. In addition, the relationship with Amazon, has given Whole Foods an advantage over other retailers still trying to figure out and fund online food shopping. I don't perceive that consumer spending on the noted staples will decrease. The biggest potential impact on higher branded CPG pricing is the substitution of private label or store brands for national brands.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    J.C. Penney dumps appliances

    This move represents the latest effort by J. C. Penney to understand "what is under its umbrella" that will give consumers a reason to shop at its stores or online. Appliances did not seem to fit or reinforce any competitive advantage. Going forward, the question is what is next? Perhaps this decision will allow J. C. Penney to return to what once made them a great retailer. However, I would recommend that any resources freed up from this move be allocated to improving its online experience.

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