The Franchise Owner's most trusted news source

Log In / Register | Jun 18, 2018

Can Mobile Augmented-Reality Save Full Service Restaurants?

I stated two years ago that meal kits were training wheels for Millennials.  In 2016 the meal kit industry reached $1.5 billion in sales, according to Market research publisher Packaged Facts.

This growth was driven in large part by Millennials. The same study found that by 2020 the U.S. meal kit delivery services market will generate approximately $6.5 billion in sales.

While only 11 percent of digital business professionals used or piloted Augmented-Reality in 2015, mobile augmented-reality (AR) might just become a key driver in the redevelopment and rescue of the full service restaurant sector, according to my own firm, Grocerant Guru. While AR isn’t a standalone strategy for restaurateurs, it may become a tool to both elevate and educate today’s mobile retail foodservice customers on the attributes of full service restaurants creating a platform for discovery, trial, and then adoption.

Restaurateurs are slowly evolving their branded messaging avenues of distribution from legacy static models to leveraging digital static platforms, all of which was yesterday’s strategy. Brand relevance today requires an invitation filled simultaneously with information, discovery, and enjoyment. AR enhances the brand story with customer relevance.

AR just might become the ticket to fill every seat in your restaurant.

Craig Smith, VP of solutions and customer success at Amplience, which focuses on mobile and merchandising, stated: “retailers must use AR if it truly enhances a broader mobile solution and provides the customer added value.” It is at the intersection of real time discovery and enjoyment that brands will be able to cultivate customer adoption. That is Foodservice Inside & Out.

Is your marketing team struggling to adapt to consumers new shopping habits? Are you creating engaging apps, content, and AR. There is only one metric that is relevant when asking that question, that is, are year-over-year customer counts up. 

Today 87 percent of mobile phone owners are using apps but only 3 percent of these are retail apps. The app market is a crowded space but there is great opportunity in 2017 for retailers to embrace the appetite for mobile, according to Smith. 

Does your foodservice marketing look like yesterday or tomorrow?  Outside eyes can deliver inside results.  Start looking a customer ahead by leveraging customer relevance today for brand building relevance tomorrow.  AR is a required baby step today prior to tomorrow's virtual reality in real-time marketing. Is it time that your brand stepped up to stand-out?

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (18 votes)

About Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson's picture

Public Profile

Do you know who your competitors are today?  Do you know what they are selling? Do you know what your customers think of their food?  No? Well, maybe it's time to get a Grocerant Scorecard completed by the Grocerant Guru.

Steven Johnson is Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® and a recognized food industry thought leader. Johnson excels at vertical brand and product positioning, marketing strategy and business development specifically identifying, quantifying and qualifying niche opportunity for global foodservice related activity.  He can help place new products in non-traditional channels of distribution.

 With an emphasis in grocerant niche, his focus has been on better for you food that is fresh or prepared ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat.  He developed and implemented of the 5 P’s for food marketing for all retail foodservice companies, including chain drugstores, grocery stores, QSR’s and particularly C-store clients.

 During the past 15 years he has developed over 7.5 billion Dollars in avenues of new business revenue for clients and companies. His experience has focused primarily on C-level sales and brand  building opportunity with industry leading international companies including: The Procter & Gamble Company, Papa John’s International, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing, Chi Chi’s, TGI Fridays, Fuddruckers,, Technomic, The Hartman Group.

 Prior to Foodservice Solutions, Johnson worked for the US Department of the Navy, where he led the development of Parcheesi’s Pizza Pasta Plus for global roll out and implementation including the development of the first dockside mobile pizza kitchen for use by the US Navy during the first Gulf War.

Johnson holds a Master’s of Science in Food Marketing degree with distinction from Saint Joseph’s University and a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of San Francisco. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business School Honor Society.  Johnson has received numerous awards including 3 EMMEY; Awarded by 3M for “Outside the box” thinking and team leadership. Food Marketing Award; Awarded by Saint Joseph’s University, Outstanding Service Award issued by the Boy Scouts of America.

Don't get trapped doing what you have always done. Position your company with the evolving consumer. Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P's of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participation, differentiation and individualization? That's simple, call for Outside Eyes call the Grocerant Guru. Email Steve at: or visit: for more information. Visit us at, or tweet Steve at

Area of Interest
Franchise Consultant