A food revolution is being led by the millennial generation and moms in rebellion against the growing health impacts tied to eating industrially manufactured food. The millennial generation was born into a national obesity and diabetes epidemic. Today, one-third of millennials are overweight. In response, they are rejecting McDonald’s and patronizing Chipotle and Panera Bread. While McDonald’s is the largest U.S. restaurant chain, they do not even rank in the top ten chain restaurants for millennials.
Moms are also revolting against chain restaurants due to their health impact fears tied to fast foods. Research by the Center For Science In The Public Interest (CSPI) found that 97 percent of the nearly 3,500 chain restaurant meals they offer do not meet the CSPI’s nutrition criteria for four- to eight-year-olds. A viral mommy-blogger posting, Empty Calories = Empty Messaging, summarizes their outrage at Coca-Cola.
One demonstration of children’s activism is when nine-year-old Hannah Roberson, along with her mother Kia Roberson, attended the McDonald’s 2013 annual shareholders meeting where she confronted McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson saying, “It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time.”
Affordable authenticity: Cancun Sabor Mexicano Restaurant
Jorge Saldana is the owner of Cancun Sabor Mexicano Restaurant in Berkeley, CA. His restaurant sets the performance bar for affordable, tasty and authentic food. He brings organically farmed produce and eggs harvested from his farm that morning to the restaurant every day. He proudly (and justifiably) lists his fresh ingredients on a chalkboard that hangs above his serving line to enable his customers to choose the freshest ingredients.
Most importantly, his food is affordable. His prices are a fraction of the prices charged by comparable white tablecloth farm-to-fork restaurants like Alice Water’s internationally acclaimed Chez Panisse. Remarkably, his prices are only a little higher than, but still comparable to, other family-owned Mexican restaurants.
His strategy of offering affordable and authentic local fresh food has successfully attracted loyal customers from the millennial generation, moms, area business people and “foodies.” His business strategy components are:
Affordability. Jorge is controlling his supply chain costs by growing his own food. His capital investment in building his own farm is a competitive price advantage. His use of an informal dining restaurant format also translates into a lower human resources cost compared to white tablecloth competitors.
Brand Authenticity. It can not get much more authentic than when the boss carries in the daily supply of freshly harvested food. Nine out of 10 consumers say “ingredient transparency is extremely or very important.” Jorge’s ingredient transparency is his branding advantage that he proudly advertises above his serving line by listing the fresh and local ingredients delivered that day.
Taste. Serving seasonal foods that offer a variety of tastes is Jorge’s competitive positioning against the chain restaurants’ uniformly prepared food. Due to this, Jorge attracts repeat customer visits and this taste difference is especially attractive to millennial generation customers that are always on the hunt for foods that offer variety and are made to order. Jorge’s other advantage in attracting millennial generation customers is that he provides them with the “experience” they seek rather than commodity food.
The following exclusive video interview of Jorge Sandana, owner of the highly successful Cancun Sabor Mexicano Restaurant, further outlines his sustainable business practices:
Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017