Blog_Featured_Fresh & Easy

Fresh and Easy has been struggling in the United States since their doors first opened.  The British owned company really doesn’t know how to survive in our country… and it doesn’t appear that they have hired the right people to help them either.  First and foremost, they named their store after what appears to be a feminine hygiene product, which has turned most people away initially.  Then, on top of that, choosing to not adopt the concept of accepting coupons is another reason most people on a budget will not step in and make a purchase.   So, store after store continues to close.

Fresh and Easy

The British based owner, Tesco (TSCDY), has spend tens of millions of dollars in local advertising with a futile effort to show local residents claiming that they are not getting paid to talk highly about the store.  That is great, but it isn’t Trader Joe’s great.  They consistently have inventory problems and for the most part, have poorly laid out isles and product presentation.  They also don’t have that small market fan base like Trader Joe’s does.  They also do not carry the style of food that Trader Joe’s does, much less that of a typical local small market.  I find Trader Joe’s appealing, as most do, because they manufacture a large percentage of their products and they work hard on instilling the belief that when you walk into Trader Joe’s, you have walked into that small country store that you can get your cheese and salami to go with  that bottle of  “two-buck Chuck” wine that you just purchased.  You can also get just about everything you need for dinner for the week, and you feel comfortable as it is a relaxed atmosphere.  You also know that when you are ready to check out that you will not have to sit there and do the checkout yourself and bag your own groceries like you do at Fresh & Easy.

So it seems as almost a last ditch effort to try and get some attention, Fresh and Easy has now started a new television advertising campaign.  They are now singing a song on the television ad that goes like this, “yes, we’re Fresh and Easy, F***ing Easy…”  and throughout the song make references to basically being “fuc*ing easy”.  This profane behavior has to be intentional and is more than likely bait for the news media to make a big deal out of it, and in turn get the attention of others who may take a stronger look at their stores before they have to close the remaining ones and retreat back to Britain. With the completely adverse reactions that people have nowadays to this type of behavior, one would think that this will certainly not come off as funny for most.

As someone who has shopped regularly at Fresh & Easy since 2008, it does more to make me not want to come back if you are truly that desperate for business that you have to turn to using cheap profanity to solicit new business.  What’s is next?

If you want to survive in the ever volatile grocery industry, start with the basics.  Provide products to the public at a reasonable and competitive price, and if you are going to continue to package your own ready made products such as the great mac & cheese with chicken that we grew to love… have more than one packaged per day.  Anticipate that maybe more than one person will come in while you are open and purchase that product.  The same goes for your burritos, salsa, guacamole, and other items.  I have walked in at least a dozen time to your store in Orange off Chapman Avenue, and have been told, “oh sorry, we ran out three days ago” or “they only sent us over two of those for the week”. Even worse, I sat and pulled out 15-20 food items from your shelves one day because they were all about a week past their expiration dates.  I haven’t been back since.

So when all is said and done, your store isn’t “Fuc*ing Easy” as you now sing your song.  It also isn’t “Fresh” and easy when you leave expired products on the shelf for people to get sick on.  Try hiring more than a small handful employees to handle the entire store.  It proves impossible for a small handful of employees to provide any level of customer service.   Too bad this seems too little too late.  There is always something to be said about having project managers in place to help you put your business together before things have a chance to go wrong.