What if stores innovated like restaurants?
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from WayfinD, a quarterly e-magazine filled with insights, trends and predictions from the retail and foodservice experts at WD Partners.
When looking at the top of the list on Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200, it’s clear the leading restaurants are constantly innovating.
A few examples:
- #9 – Domino’s: With delivery confounding restaurants everywhere, Domino’s is more about logistics and technology than pizza. Customers can track their pizza every step of the way on their phones. Hello, instant gratification! Using their own drivers for years, they continue to develop more efficient delivery methods. The pizza? The company actually admitted it sucked a few years ago and upgraded that as well.
- #6: Burger King: Someone had to do it. Burger King was the first brand to offer a legitimately tasty plant-based burger on a national basis to gain first dibs with vegetarians and flexitarians.
- #5 – Taco Bell: A hotel fully branded as Taco Bell? Taco Bell clothing and Taco Bell Cantinas selling alcoholic beverages? Much like fellow Yum! Brands innovator KFC, Taco Bell is creating a lifestyle brand for its fervent followers and no innovative idea is too weird to be considered.
What can stores learn from these restaurant innovators? Understanding customers will guide innovation.
Let’s look at struggling retailers as comparative examples:
- J.C. Penney: What if J.C. Penney at some point came out and said, “We talked to our customers, and our stores suck. We’re studying what’s wrong and we’re going to revamp the entire store.” Incremental changes to pricing, product and stores haven’t made an impact. Incremental does not work in today’s retail world.
- Victoria’s Secret: Burger King isn’t changing its entire menu to be vegetarian. Why can’t Victoria’s Secret add some more inclusive products?
- Toys “R” Us: A toy store where kids can freely play? A showroom store makes perfect sense for toys. We all wanted to be Toys “R” Us kids. Why didn’t TRU take advantage of that nostalgia and create a Taco Bell style lifestyle brand before it was too late?
Come on retailers, listen to your customers and understand the innovative ideas they are asking you for.
- What If Stores Innovated Like Restaurants? – WayfinD
- 2019 Top 200 Countdown: No. 50-No. 1- Nation’s Restaurant News
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What can retailers learn about innovation from restaurants? Are retailers generally more hesitant to try new things versus restaurants, and is there a logical reason why?