For the last two months, I was privileged to be a member of the Earth Fare Community Advisory Board for the opening of their newest location. Besides learning about their products and culture, it truly became a “Eureka!” experience.
As hotel food and beverage operators, we are always focused on what options our property guests have when staying with us. For years we compared our operations to competitive properties, as well as local restaurants. We never once thought to look outside of those parameters when assessing what dining options were available.
While we spent years focused on these same options, the world continued on without us. In recent times convenience stores (c-stores), gas stations, and grocery stores have really amped up their game as it relates to product offerings. Been to a Wawa, RaceTrac, or Sheetz lately? With a full selection of fountain drinks, coffees, baked goods, and sandwich shops, they are no longer your father’s gas station anymore. What grocery chains have done is no different. Grand Central Station in New York doesn’t just run trains.
Having been immersed in all things Earth Fare, I was amazed to see what they have done to appeal to the needs of the 2018 consumer. Their Boot List is in line with consumers' focus on getting back to real, wholesome food. Their focus on stewardship in the community and for the environment is quite impressive. Unlike their competitors, Earth Fare has a laser focus on making their product offerings available to a much larger demographic. Imagine that: A store with healthy and wholesome food making everything price approachable! I was truly amazed to see the variety of prepared foods, grab-and-go options, catering, and even delivery. Again, all reasonably priced.
In putting on my food and beverage hat, I could see how options like this would truly be a dining option to guests staying at our property. Hotel foodservice operators should truly reassess their idea of what the competition is. I’ve seen the secondary and tertiary competition. Let me tell you, in most markets they are very viable options for our guests.
Until next time…