Will a Food Truck Campaign Put Fresh & Easy’s Sales in Gear?

Discussion
Jul 16, 2013

Fresh & Easy, the struggling mini-grocery chain owned by Tesco, has launched a series of street fairs this summer to showcase its freshly prepared meals. Its first-ever food truck will be on hand at each event to serve free food outside some of its 199 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada.

The menu includes Southwest Chicken Tacos, Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Mango Carnitas Stuffed Peppers. Recipes will be handed out and picnic tables will be available. Visitors will also enjoy local musical acts and other attractions such as:

  • A "Take It Easy" tent with massage therapists offering free chair massages;
  • A "Meals Made Easy" tent where neighbors can talk to a nutritionist about meal ideas and healthy eating tips;
  • "Shopping Made Easy" with a Fresh & Easy team member on hand to help customers find all the products needed to recreate the tasty food truck menu options at home.

The Fresh & Easy Street Fair will stop at about four stores a week and will be visiting other local events as it tours around. Events kicked off last week in Los Angeles and will end in the Bay Area in early September.

"We wanted to do something fun and exciting and thought that a street fair would be a great way to keep delivering the Fresh & Easy brand message," Fresh & Easy’s spokesperson Brendan Wonnacott told the Orange County Register.

In April, Tesco announced that it was exiting its U.S. venture to focus on reviving business in its core markets. The U.K. retailer indicated at the time it was in talks with several buyers, "including groups looking to purchase Fresh & Easy as an operating business."

Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, Applebee’s and Sizzler are among chain restaurants that have used food trucks as a branding tool, a sampling platform, and/or to test new locations, according to brandchannel. Some charge for the food and others hand out free samples.

This summer, White Castle brought out two Crave Mobile trucks in Louisville and Columbus that can be rented for weddings or used for marketing. Sampling trucks this year have also supported Stouffer’s Mac ‘N’ Cheese as well as Friendship Dairies’ single-serve cottage cheese, Fit To Go.

In the grocery channel, only Whole Foods appears to be also using food trucks, including one touring Cambridge, MA this summer, charging about $7 a meal.

What do you think of food trucks as a brand awareness and sampling tool for grocers? Should supermarkets be much more involved in sampling in and outside of stores with the growing popularity of prepared meals?

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8 Comments on "Will a Food Truck Campaign Put Fresh & Easy’s Sales in Gear?"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Can’t argue with this being a good marketing tool, but I’d question why you would do this where your stores exist. If that neighborhood doesn’t know you’re there, I think there’d be bigger issues.

David Livingston
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Food trucks are a good idea, but only for successful retailers and restaurants. Since Fresh & Easy is a failure, why would they want to have a failed concept on wheels? I’d bet that a year from now, there will be no Fresh & Easy food trucks.

Susan Viamari
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

What a fantastic way to raise awareness while addressing multiple powerful consumer trends! The rise in dual income and single head of household families has amplified our time-starved culture, but still, two-thirds of consumers are trying to eat healthier. Couple this with a challenging economy that continues to squeeze family finances, and it is easy to understand the growing popularity of prepared healthier-for-you foods.

Fresh & Easy’s food truck strategy provides consumers the added bonus of sampling items that can be found on the grocer’s shelves, meaning that consumers will understand the products more thoroughly and they can wrap select products into their weekly shopping basket with no risk. This program certainly seems to have all the ingredients for success! We are likely to see more grocers embrace this strategy as the battle for share of stomach intensifies.

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
8 years 10 months ago

It seems like a great idea to tag onto the food truck craze that has swept the West Coast. Fresh & Easy could take it a step further by highlighting local producers in the offerings from the truck and/or sponsoring local food fairs or farmer’s markets. I’ve seen some small chains in the Seattle area employ these tactics to good effect.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

Food trucks have a habit of gathering a crowd that is not always interested in shopping at the intended establishment. In fact, most of the attendees, especially in urban areas, are not shopping at all. That is why many of the marketing samplers were moved into the retail establishment. This allowed the marketers to directly address a store’s patrons for awareness and participation purposes.

Karen S. Herman
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

With the Fresh & Easy Truck and Street Fair, Tesco is mainstreaming a mobile retail trend in a manner that is healthy and educational for customers.

By operating close to existing stores, Tesco is giving back to the local community and rewarding current customers. Through sampling its specialty menu items and offering one-on-one consultations with “Meals Made Easy” and “Shopping Made Easy,” new customers will be gained.

The Twitter campaign @FneasyTruck is simple and direct and shows engagement with customers and the community. The website is also simple and straightforward.

I think this was a well planned branding campaign by Tesco.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
8 years 10 months ago

This could be a smart move to introduce the higher margin prepared meals. Hard for consumers to know if packaged fresh foods meet taste expectations, so sampling critical. Food trucks are fun, and certainly draw a crowd in the Southwest.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
8 years 10 months ago

When I read the article, my first thought was the same as Stephen’s. I would think they would be looking to have the trucks stop at places when their target customers might be shopping.

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