Richard J. George, Ph.D.

Professor of Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

Dr. Richard J. George is Professor Emeritus of Food Marketing at the Haub School of Business, St. Joseph’s University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in economics. He holds an MBA from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University. He has authored or co-authored eleven books including Winning Customer Rules and Winning Marketing Strategy: The Rules.  He has also been recognized with several awards for teaching and research excellence, including the prestigious Lindback and Tengelmann Awards.   As an entrepreneur he has learned the need to “walk the walk” and not simply “talk the talk.” He was one of nineteen professors nationwide named as their favorite undergrad business professor and profiled by Business Week in a feature titled “Class Acts.”  In 2014 he was voted by students as the “Top Prof” in the Haub School of Business.  He has lived and taught in England at the University of London and in Ireland at the University College Cork.

As an expert on food marketing strategy, brand strategy, business ethics, marketing strategy, customer delight, marketing trends, and servant leadership, he has been quoted by major news organizations and industry publications worldwide. He has spoken on these topics in the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, and the Pacific Rim.  Articles on these topics have appeared in the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Food Products Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Adweek, Grocery Headquarters, Marketing News, the International Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Research, the Journal of Negro Education, and the Journal of Business Ethics.

Dr. George has spent his entire professional career in the development of people.  Over the course of his career, with his speeches in the U.S. and internationally, he has reached tens of thousands of students and food marketing industry leaders.  He is the previous holder of the Gerald E. Peck Fellowship, working on a project for the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).  The objective of the IFDA research project was to enhance collaboration between foodservice manufacturers and distributors.  Previously, he held the fellowship sponsored by FMI during which he produced three published research reports focusing on the future of food wholesaling.

  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Will dollar stores be the biggest post-COVID-19 winners?

    In addition to the previously made comments supporting dollar store growth in these times, I think there are two additional factors fueling this growth: 1.) Private label, abundant in dollar stores, has become a go-to option for most shoppers, 2.) Overall, dollar stores appear to have done a better job than supermarkets and supercenters in maintaining stock in many of the product categories that were decimated in these more traditional formats. This latter point (in stock) should resonate with consumers post-pandemic.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Retail ensnared in nationwide protests

    In the words of my mother, “There’s always good that comes from bad.” George Floyd’s death and that of other black men and women at the hands of a minority of misguided policemen is tragic. The rioting and looting is also bad. However if we can separate the looters bent on criminal activity from those countless black persons who feel like invisible people, then we can appreciate their depth of despair. Brian Cornell and other retail leaders have demonstrated their sincere empathy and commitment to do their part to address this inequality. As other BrainTrust members have stated, we need our elected officials to do the same to ensure that long term good comes from this bad situation.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2020

    Is purposeful giving an answer to retail’s inventory glut?

    A terrific gesture on its own. However the value to brand equity may outweigh the philanthropic benefits. If nothing else, I would expect it to break ties for consumers choosing between particular retailers or brands.
  • Posted on: 05/27/2020

    Are store brands set for a big growth spurt?

    This is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to develop own-labels which distinguish themselves from national brands. However the real opportunity is to use-own label as a significant point of difference from competing retailers. In the early days of private label, the key point of differentiation was price. Recall no-name, value brands, etc. Today the focus should be on what products are on the retailer's shelves that are not available at competing retailers. Every major retailer carries most major national brands, so what is the differentiation and competitive advantage there? Unique own-label will give a customer permission to drive past one store to visit another. Now that's a competitive advantage. On a sad note, Brian Sharoff, president of PLMA, quoted in the article, passed away a few days ago. He truly was the champion of private label both domestically and internationally. His leadership, passion and focus on private label will be missed.
  • Posted on: 05/26/2020

    What will Applebee’s and Boston Market learn from their virtual restaurants?

    I have no problem with this concept. However the key is to neither dilute the brand nor confuse the customer. One of the downsides of third-party delivery is the loss of brand recognition. However, unless these foodservice operations, chains and independents are willing and able to make the investment in in-house distribution, third-party vendors will be their primary option.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Who wins/loses if Amazon pushes Prime Day to September?

    I see little real negative impact. This will give customers more time to replenish their bank accounts and more time for Amazon to take a breath and prepare for their 2020 version of Prime Day. However, if I were a competitor, I would fill the July void and develop a fall option as well. For these competitors, I would remind them of the advice of Frederick the Great, “Do not attack the enemy when he adheres to the rules, but profit from his slightest mistakes without delay.”
  • Posted on: 05/19/2020

    Is Amazon about to buy J.C. Penney?

    This is a terrific opportunity for Amazon to expand its brick-and-mortar presence at a relatively low level of investment. I view this potential acquisition more for its logistical reasons than for its desire to expand its apparel and accessories sales. BOPIS and BORIS issues confronting Amazon would allow it to expand its omnichannel fulfillment solutions. Walmart is surging, both in-store and online. I see Amazon watching this growth and wanting to participate. However, if Amazon buys J. C. Penney, I expect the stores' look and operations to not resemble at all what a current J.C. Penney looks or operates like.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    McDonald’s publishes playbook for reopening restaurants

    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.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    These workers have been deemed "essential" like first responders and healthcare workers. They have become heroes because they have "hung in there" while providing these essential services. Going forward, post-pandemic, they may no longer be viewed as heroes, but will continue to be essential and should be compensated accordingly.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2020

    What has made Walmart a shutdown star?

    Walmart has demonstrated the capability to respond quickly, especially for a company of its size. Walmart’s access to capital and efficient supply chain makes it difficult for rivals to quickly emulate. Going forward, the integration of online and in-store to a seamless customer experience is the next challenge. Kudos for efforts to date.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2020

    Is the coronavirus pandemic sparking a meal kits comeback?

    Certainly meal kits have enjoyed a resurgence due to the pandemic, as has all forms of cooking; as Americans look to cope with "shelter in place" boredom. Going forward, as Americans return to work and other out-of-home activities, I see these kits needing to simplify preparation. Now we are in-home food starved. Shortly, we will become time starved again. I would not rule out grocery stores as a source of meal kits. Home Chef, a meal-kit maker owned by Kroger Co., is expanding capacity by using other Kroger production sites and commissaries that usually prepare meals for airlines and is seeing some good traction. However if Panera, Chick-fil-A, Denny's and others can address the quality, variety and ease of preparation with their meal kits, foodservice solutions may grow dramatically. I would add to the list of potential competitors to Blue Apron, et. al., independent restaurants which have been forced to be more innovative in take out meals. Their resilience has indicated that the fully prepared meal sector is their business, which they will defend. I see the resourceful independent restaurants offering very convenient meal kit-like options of their featured meals.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Is curbside pickup just getting started?

    Curbside pickup was a natural growth opportunity prompted by the COVID-19 situation. It provided an opportunity to engage in almost contact-free acquisition of products, plus during the stay at home orders these pickups, particularly for groceries, gave weary "shelter in place" folks a legitimate reason to get out of the house. Just like it is difficult for the cat who has tasted fresh tuna to return to a diet of canned tuna, customers will not want to abandon curbside pick up. It may represent the new normal of fresh tuna or at the very least be perceived as a fresh treat option, like an occasional meal of fresh tuna. Under either scenario curbside pickup is here to stay.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2020

    Should face masks be mandatory for shoppers?

    This is a no brainer. Face masks protect our frontline retail workers from customer spread of COVID-19. Shoppers who do not want to wear face masks should simply not come nor be allowed into the store. Social distancing, aisle markings, etc. should be politely enforced without the aura of the COVID-19 police.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2020

    Tyson Foods chair says ‘the food supply chain is breaking’

    Unfortunately the Tyson CEO's comment “The food supply chain is breaking” is helping no one, nor is it significantly reversing Tyson's stock value, which has dropped 34 percent since the start of the new year. The full page ad warning Americans "that the temporary closures of beef, chicken and pork processing plants around the country would mean lower supplies of meat in grocery stores," makes sense. The sky is falling does not. There are a couple of facts that need to be highlighted: 1.) Total American meat supplies in cold-storage facilities are equal to roughly two weeks of production, 2.) Foodservice demand for meat supplies is severely limited due to restaurant closings. That being said, Americans will exhibit meat buying behaviors similar to that displayed for purchases of hand sanitizer, paper products, etc. when the first round of hoarding began. Unfortunately, most retailers did not limit the number of units available to each customer until it was too late. That run on supplies is fresh in their minds and I expect meat purchase limits will be enforced this time around.
  • Posted on: 04/27/2020

    Can grocers help sit-down restaurants stay afloat with to-go meal programs?

    This is a terrific idea that should have value after the pandemic is in the rearview mirror. For retailers it gives them chef-prepared meals. For restaurants it is a critical outlet, not only now, but also in a normal environment. Plus, it has moved restaurants into re-engineering meals to go and finding the appropriate packaging for them. Perhaps the days of white styrofoam are numbered. For customers who normally don’t know what they’re going to eat for dinner on most days, these meals offer both quality and convenience. Going forward, I envision these partnerships profitability expanding by sharing in the proceeds, cross promoting, developing signature items, etc. This is one idea where everyone wins - restaurants, grocers and consumers!

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