Last week, we described the nearly untenable position retailers find themselves in as they necessarily mandate in-store mask use for locations across the country but do so without a national order in place, leaving them to enforce policies even in states that do not require masks at this time. As we asked last week, how, particularly as the mask divide gets increasingly contentious, are retailers to enforce their policies?
Urban Plates--the freshness-forward, Cardiff, CA based restaurant chain serving sandwiches, salads, and braises in a made-to-order cafeteria format since its opening in 2011--is in the middle of a carefully-executed expansion strategy that will see it triple its store count by 2023.
Why has the chain succeeded where so many other similar concepts have failed? According to co-founder and CEO Sadar Nadhir, "Urban Plates is changing the way America eats. Guests desire affordable high-quality, customizable meals served in a convenient yet inviting atmosphere with fine-dining hospitality.” Though Nadhir may be inclined to exaggerate for obvious reasons, it's hard to argue with his restaurants’ successes.
Market Research 101 continues this week with an in-depth exploration of competitor monitoring mystery shops. Sure, competitor monitoring mystery shops are a little bit like spying, but it’s also just really good business and everybody else is doing it.
Grocers beware, Aldi is coming for you, your margins, and your customers (protect your millennials!). The German discounter, which currently operates 1,800 stores in 35 states, was just named Retailer of the Year by Supermarket News, its second such victory in the past four years.
How hot is it? Consider some numbers: Since 2000, US sales have grown by 150%, which is more than the sum growth for all other condiments combined (yes, all of them: ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce…). In 2015, Euromonitor noted that sales of hot sauces grew at nearly twice the rate as other packaged goods writ large. Spicy products have a 20% compound annual growth rate over the last 10 years. Oh, and as of last count, more than half the American population has at least one bottle of hot sauce in their fridge. All this means that, within the next five years, hot sauce will be a $1.65 billion industry.