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: 04/19/2018

    Starbucks to close shops for racial bias training

    First, Starbucks should be commended for its swift and transparent response to this problem. Closing 8,000 stores is an appropriate strategic retreat to address this problem. Second, I do not think you can separate this problem into a recruitment versus training issue. It involves both. When it comes to engaging associates, I recommend you FIRE them up:
    • Find (F) the right people. Recruiting needs to be more of an active process.
    • Involve (I) them. This entails creating the appropriate culture and development (not training) programs.
    • Reward (R) them. Insure that the compensation package reinforces the behavior you are trying to promote.
    • Empower (E) them. Give them the opportunity to solve customer problems without checking on every occasion.
    The Starbucks situation is shining the light on a condition which is more than likely pervasive in the retail industry. This wake up call should energize the industry to address the issues noted in this article.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Can food halls become retail’s new anchors?

    If the food halls are to succeed they need to be planned destinations, not temporary placeholders. The irony is that in its heyday, stores in the malls were the destinations and food courts were there to satisfy hunger needs while shopping. Now, if properly designed and executed, food halls may become the trip destination with satiated customers browsing the stores after enjoying a satisfying meal.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    What makes a successful retail CEO?

    My definition of a leader is a preacher of vision and a lover of change. However, you can't be a romantic, namely a visionary with no common sense. I have written extensively on leadership and have identified 8 characteristics of a successful leader: vision, robustness, willingness to take risks, competitiveness, boldness and decisiveness, opportunism, grace under pressure, and innovativeness.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2018

    Are Aldi’s upscale makeovers necessary?

    No doubt any significant changes by a marketer may have the tendency to alienate its core target market. However, if Aldi maintains its extreme value pricing commitment, I expect little fall out from its hard core shoppers, for two reasons: 1.) Regardless of economic standing who doesn’t want to shop in a clean, nice environment with expanded offerings (expanded organic foods, dairy, produce and bakery), and 2.) Where would these shoppers migrate to? Good move by Aldi to upscale the experience while keeping prices downscale.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2018

    Walgreens focuses on healthcare services in new store format

    Walgreens' focus on healthcare services, given the expected competitive actions, makes sense. However, it makes more sense in light of the aging of America. Plus, research demonstrates that consumers who visit the large chain retailers to pick up a script more than likely buy non-script products. It’s similar to folks who go into a c-store to use the ATM and leave with a sandwich, snack or drink. The healthcare services can be like the pharmacy or ATM -- they provide a differential advantage and drive store visits. So in many cases, it is not one additional attribute that makes a difference. Rather, it is a strategic approach to understanding and satisfying customer needs.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Former Walmart U.S. CEO raises prospect of breaking up Amazon

    No. Amazon has been a positive disruptor to an antiquated form of shopping and should not be penalized for doing so. It is the complacent competitors who have hoped that Amazon would crash and burn or otherwise go away who need to hold up the mirror and see that their lack of innovation has permitted Amazon to grow to its current levels of dominance. Keep the government out of this debate. Make changes as necessary to compete more efficiently and effectively.
  • Posted on: 03/28/2018

    Are Amazon lockers turning Whole Foods into a quick shop destination?

    Locker partnerships help Amazon and other online players to create real efficiencies relative to the final-mile expenses. However the real potential winners are those retailers who develop an effective locker program that is integrated into the retailer’s merchandising strategy. A locker location in proximity to impulse items or grab-and-go meals could be a game-changer. Lockers have the potential to bring customers into the store who would not necessarily make the trip. The challenge now is to convert them to incremental business customers.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Whole Foods cuts local marketing staff

    No one should be surprised by the operational changes taking place. Amazon is a terrific customer and logistics driven company. The key in any merger like this is to minimize any changes perceived as negative by the core customers at the acquired organization. If Amazon can achieve its desired efficiencies while making changes that are invisible to the customer, everyone should win.
  • Posted on: 03/20/2018

    Macy’s CEO discusses mobile checkouts and other planned changes

    The mobile app checkout has the greatest short-term potential. There are two universal truths that govern all shoppers: 1) The longer you can keep them in store the more they buy, 2) The quicker you get them out the quicker they will return. The Macy's mobile checkout is not as seamless as the Amazon Go salesperson-free checkout. The Macy's mobile still requires a stop at a special mobile checkout counter for verification, security tag removal, and bagging. However, if implemented properly, with the potential for a speedier checkout, Macy's and its shoppers both win.
  • Posted on: 03/15/2018

    GreenWise Market won’t name drop Publix anymore

    I think this is a bold and terrific move. This returns Publix to its original plan & target market, namely organic and natural foods consumers. The shortcomings of the original Publix moniker was that customers were looking for non organic and non natural foods products typically carried in the larger regular format Publix stores. Too much under one umbrella, namely Publix, causes consumer confusion as to what the banners represent. This refocused approach permits GreenWise to concentrate its focus and resources to its originally intended mission.
  • Posted on: 03/09/2018

    When it comes to Millennials, focus on the HENRYs

    I'm not wanting to comment on the HENRY segment as others have already addressed this issue. I conducted three national surveys of Millennials in 2009, 2012 and 2015. I found three distinctive subsets, which I labeled youngest, middle, mature. Creative names! Not surprisingly, I discovered significant differences in attitudes and behaviors. Without going into detail on the differences, although I am not a gun enthusiast, suffice it to say we need to metaphorically put down the shotguns and pick up the rifles.
  • Posted on: 03/07/2018

    Target looks to out-people competition

    If brick-and-mortar retailers expect to survive in the technology era they need to ensure that the “high touch” opportunities are resourced by competent, outgoing staff in the store. Raising the minimum wage is a start. Resources need to be dedicated to developing, rewarding and empowering these front-liners such that Target becomes the destination of choice. Leaders lead from the front. Target’s planned investments in people as well as technology are the ante. I like that Cornell is focusing on Main Street not simply Wall Street.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2018

    Walmart debuts prepared meals and meal kits

    Meal kits need to offer convenience (shopping and preparation), value, taste and nutrition. Walmart’s foray into this business gives America’s blue-collar consumers permission to participate in what was considered an upper market-focused meal solution. However, I believe the One Step Meals hold more promise than pre-chopped and measured ingredients in a meal kit form.
  • Posted on: 03/05/2018

    H-E-B’s reusable bag causes fashion frenzy

    H-E-B has always been a terrific community-focused organization. The limited edition charity bag that pays tribute to Selena is a win-win-win for H-E-B, local charities and Selena’s still adoring fans. I first witnessed reusable shopping bags many years ago in Ireland when Superquinns introduced the concept. Feargal Quinn tells the story about a woman expressing concern about the bag colors. Feargal responded that Superquinns was aware of the color issue and offered red, green and blue bags (meat, fruit/vegetables and seafood, respectively). The woman answered that she wanted colors to match her wardrobe, not the bag’s contents. Obviously, what’s on the bag is as important as what’s in the bag, a lesson well-learned from H-E-B. I expect more of the same.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2018

    Kroger dedicates new research center to food innovation

    Great leadership move by Kroger. As most brick-and-mortar retailers try to figure out how to compete with Amazon and other online grocery retailers, Kroger is refocusing the playing field back to the store. With the various concepts discussed in the article, Kroger may be able to demonstrate a significant differential advantage vis a vis its competitors. Plus, this move firmly places them in the "what's for dinner tonight" business, capturing the foodservice dollars that many consumers currently spend at restaurants.

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