Dr. G in the News

As an industry expert Dr. George's insights and opinions are frequently sought...

How to Reopen Restaurants? McDonald’s Has a Playbook. George Anderson, Forbes, May 15, 2020

July 19 2020 No Commented
  • Kudos to McDonald’s for developing a playbook which other restaurants, particularly independent operators, could copy, modify and implement to meet their particular operational needs.
  • The playbook is complete and provides many options to franchisees.
  • The key is worker protection and customer perception that the eat-in option is not only safe, but more pleasant than in-vehicle dining.
  • We will never return to normal.
  • However, the question is what will the “new” normal look like after this crazy time in our lives.
  • Give McDonald’s credit for its leadership position on developing an inside seating game plan that attempts to address the new normal.
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Why Peapod, America’s First Online Grocer, Will Abandon the Midwest. Tom Ryan, Forbes, February 27, 2020

July 19 2020 No Commented
  • This is a good example of strategic retreat.
  • The godfather of home delivery recognized the variables to keep its operations profitable and growing.
  • The Midwest operation was responsible for less than 9 percent of Peapod’s sales and I suspect it was not profitable.
  • Given the changing marketplace in the Midwest noted in the article, Peapod retreating to its comfort zone on the East Coast makes strategic and financial sense.
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Kroger Ups The Ante With 30-Minute Delivery Needed By No One Is Sure Who. Matthew Stern, Forbes, June 25, 2019

July 25 2019 No Commented
  • Upping the speed on last-mile delivery has been a perennial theme as brick-and-mortar retailers try to keep up with and surpass the service level offered by Amazon.com.
  • Some members of the BrainTrust, though, noted that 30 minutes could be raising the bar too high.
  • “Even Domino’s abandoned the 30 minutes or less guarantee for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was a public perception of safety.”
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Will a healthier Wawa be a more successful Wawa? Matthew Stern, RetailWire, April 19,2019.

July 20 2019 No Commented
  • Wawa has constantly reinvented itself, from a traditional c-store based on its roots as a dairy farm with the usual emergency items like bathroom tissue, ketchup and the like, to its Florida stores which look more like fast casual restaurants. The first Wawa opened 55 years ago this week and the first Florida Wawa opened in 2012.
  • The original thinking was to replicate its northern successes in the Sunshine state. Instead, it pioneered the c-store of the future with the aforementioned focus on meal solutions.
  • Going forward, its emphasis on heath and wellness, combined with its focus on the two younger generation represents its latest reinvention of the customer experience.
  • Given my knowledge of the Wawa leadership team, I have few concerns. I think it will continue to use technology to enhance the customer’s interactions with its offerings. Delivery will become an everyday option. The biggest challenge will be the ability to provide the variety of chef-driven meal and beverage solutions within the space and time constraints of its stores and customers.
  • Reinvention is its way of life.
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Is Philly soda tax solely to blame for closing of West Philly ShopRite? Laura McCrystal, Philly.com, January 17, 2019

January 24 2019 No Commented
  • “To blame the sugar [and sweetened beverages] tax alone might be inappropriate, but to say it’s not related might also be inappropriate,” said Richard George, a professor emeritus of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University.
  • An Aldi store opened on City Avenue less than two miles away from the Shoprite in December 2015 — one year before the beverage tax went into effect.
  • “We always refer to Aldi as kind of a silent killer,” George said of the no-frills grocery chain.
  • Days after Brown announced that he would close the West Philadelphia ShopRite, Acme announced that its Gladwyne store would shut down in February.
  • The two stores have similarities; both are smaller and more outdated than other supermarkets in the area. But they also have differences; the Acme did not have to deal with the city’s beverage tax, but is in a more affluent neighborhood and has had to compete with more upscale stores such as Whole Foods.
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“From boomers to millennials, people aren’t eating out as much” Erik Sherman, NBCNews.com, October 16, 2018

October 17 2018 No Commented
  • “If you go to a restaurant, you’ve got to get showered and dressed, you’ve got to get the kids in the car.”
  • “Then you have a gratuity on top. People say, I just want to stay home.”
  • “That’s why fast casual dining like Chipotle or Smashburger are growing five times as fast as the restaurant industry in general.”
  • “Though what counts as home cooking has also changed. Dinner can be a precooked rotisserie chicken. They buy potato salad and make a salad.”
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“Grocers step up their game with flagship locations” Jessica Dumont, Food Dive, Sept. 17, 2018

September 30 2018 No Commented
  • “For a long time, most supermarket operators focused on price and product, but today’s
    consumer is looking for more.”
  • “…while everyone is talking about omnichannel and online efforts, most research suggests people still go into grocery stores. In fact, recent statistics show that while online shopping is increasing, just 30% of shoppers regularly purchase online.”
  • “Grocers realize today that the in-store experience will be the key difference here.”
  • “What’s going to cause me to drive to one supermarket over the other?”
  • “Customization is a key factor to win consumers over and, ultimately, it is time for retailers to step up their game. Flagship stores are one way to do that.”
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“Lady Business: Who gets to go to Wawa?” Maria Aspan, Inc., May 24, 2018

June 2 2018 No Commented
  • “…the stereotypical convenience store is highway-and-gas-station-adjacent, full of crappy food and cigarettes, populated by shady characters and long-haul truckers. It’s not a place where a lot of people feel comfortable.”
  • Traditionally, “women didn’t feel comfortable in that environment.”
  • “Wawa was one of the leaders of making their stores comfortable for people in all environments.”
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“Why Comedians, Fancy Chefs, and Philadelphia Rappers All Swear by Wawa” Maria Aspan, Inc., May 31, 2018

June 2 2018 No Commented
  • “I’m there all the time. I go to the Wawa in Avalon, they recognize you,” says Richard J. George, a professor emeritus of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, who once consulted for Wawa and wrote the introduction to former CEO Howard Stoeckel’s 2014 book, The Wawa Way.
  • “I love the company,” adds George, expressing an opinion clearly shared by many. “I think they’re doing a lot of things right.”

 

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“Before Wawa, there was Heritage’s Dairy Stores in South Jersey” Melanie Burney, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 26, 2017

November 29 2017 No Commented
  • According to family legend, Skeeter Jr. made a handshake agreement with Grahame Wood, founder of Wawa Inc., in the 1960s, and Wawa employees were sent to work at Heritage’s stores to learn the business when Wood added stores to the family’s milk business. For years, Wawa didn’t open any stores in direct competition with Heritage’s, but that changed after Wood’s death in 1982, Skeeter III said.
  • A Wawa spokeswoman couldn’t confirm the anecdote, but Richard J. George, a food marketing professor at St. Joseph’s University, said it would seem likely that Wood would seek to replicate the Heritage business model.
  • “Good artists copy; great artists steal [ideas]. I think that’s what happened here,” George said.
  • “Even though they don’t have the scale of Wawa, they have a niche,” George said. “Heritage will continue to survive and do well.”
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