I'm always looking for WOWs. I'd like to be known as a WOW seeker. The WOWs are what makes a difference and wakes up a customer's inner being – and creates a relationship. I was in Washington DC earlier this week meeting with our friends at National Potato Council, National Confectioners Association and FMI and stayed at the Kimpton Donovan Hotel for the first time (no, I have no desire to stay at you know who's hotel). Donovan gave me a WOW! Yes, I am a member of the Karma rewards club but I've only stayed in one other Kimpton in Chicago for one night. They don't know me. But when I walked into my room I found this note "Welcome. Smile and be happy and let that happiness spread everywhere you go. Life is beautiful!!!" Wow! I found a new favorite hotel in DC; and I will be back! Thank you Donovan staff!
Here are the news stories I'm tracking and working on:
About a month ago I wrote about Instacart in my column on Forbes.com, and a former worker based in West reached out to me and wondered if I'd like to spend some time learning what is going on behind the scenes over there. YES! And it's a new story I'm working on now - but I'd like to share some of the highlights and concerns of their independent contractors: 80% of all customers tipped prior to October 24 when the company changed their policy and made the service fee the default vs. the tip screen – the tip rate varies between 30 to 70% depending on the market. One shopper I spoke with in Seattle reported that only 10-20% of customers now tip. The pay for these contractors seem to be quite complicated. For a person who shops and delivers they receive a flat fee per order plus 40 cents per item. The flat fee varies from city to city – the range is $5 to $9 per order. Here's the kicker. The per item rate is based on the SKU – not quantity. So if I order 5 cases of the same brand of bottled water and three bottles of the same brand of tequila the contractor gets 80 cents. However there is a bump in fee for every $200 ordered. So this order of approximately of $175 the contractor would receive $7.40 plus the tip (if any). As I've said before in our trend report on February 14 – now is a great time for supermarkets to start recruiting these trained contractors for your own click and collect programs who from those I spoke to so far, really do put the customer first.
Tune into our Facebook page next Wednesday at 1pm Eastern/10am Pacific for our LIVE new product reviews. Going back in time to the format you saw on the TODAY Show, Oprah, The View where you never know what I'll say or taste – and you'll have the opportunity after the product reviews to weigh in and add your comments and ask your questions. Hope you'll join me. Hope I don't screw up.
Impossible Foods announced its goal to produce 1 million pounds of its plant based ground beef replacement to serve 1,000 restaurants nationwide by the end of 2017. Cellular agriculture is here! Get with it.
Sears announced that "its hanging by a thread" question is what happens to those huge buildings and all those employees at the 1,430 stores and those at Kmart. Eddie Lambert has reportedly protected his investment, just wish he took as good care of the 178,000 employees at Sears Holdings.
In Philadelphia (no one who has ever lived there calls it Philly, BTW) Pepsi and Coke are eliminating their larger sizes and pushing their smaller ones so the bite of the soda tax (1.5 cents per ounce) hurt shoppers just a little less – or they don't notice it. Pepsi reports that its sales in that city are down 40% since the tax took effect on January 1. On the supermarket side, the six Brown's ShopRite stores in the city saw its soda sales off by 15% according to Jeff Brown as reported by Bloomberg News.
And the quote of the week comes from Donald Trump to a Time's Washington bureau chief, Michael Scherer: "I'm a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right. Hey, look, in the meantime, I guess I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president, and you're not."