Placer Bites: Vegan Nuggets & A Check-in On Lululemon

Our first ever Placer Bites – a weekly round up of quick hitter stories that got us excited. This week featuring KFC’s chicken-less nuggets and a Lululemon update.

The reality is there isn’t enough time for us to dive into all of the interesting and important topics happening in retail, QSR, Real Estate and beyond. So we’ve decided to start a weekly post with quick hitting recaps about some of our favorite findings.

Deep Fried, Beyond Meat

KFC was the latest to dive into the potential of plant-based meat substitutes with the announcement of their partnership with Beyond Meat. But interestingly, instead of a wide roll-out or a targeted campaign in an area more widely associated with Veganism, the brand decided to launch a one day test in Smyrna, Georgia.

And the combination of the excitement around a plant-based alternative combined with the built-in urgency of a one day offer seemed to work magic.

Urgency + Interest = Visits

Daily traffic to the KFC branch saw a huge spike on the day of the deal, August 27th. Nearly 1,500 visitors came into a location that normally sees a third of that number on a strong day.

But visitors didn’t just come to the location, they waited.

The excitement generated pushed visitors to spend an average of 81 minutes at the location, more than double the normal average of 40 minutes for a visitor from the 6 months prior to the launch. This reflects reports that lines spread around the block for consumers looking to try this plant-based foray into deep-fried chicken.

The result is a further indication of the plant-based ‘meat’ trend’s staying power. This golden age of reaching customers via vegan options is hugely impressive and could spark a multitude of other creative approaches to garnering interest.

But most importantly, forgive us for being excited that the next Chicken War could feature an unlikely vegan participant.

Lululemon Chicago Check-Up

Lululemon’s experiential focus is clearly paying off with the strong performance of its flagship store in Chicago since its initial launch. The store has averaged over 2,500 visits each week through the month of August, with a peak of nearly 4,000 visitors, indicating the power and draw of the concept.

However, the risks of cannibalization remain. Weekly visits are closely and inversely related with visits to another local location. Obviously, it could be possible that the two locations are drawing from very different audiences and no overlap exists.

However, there are strong indications that the two sides are ultimately hurting the full performance potential of the other. Looking at the True Trade Areas of both locations – the new site on West North Avenue is in blue – strongly indicates that either single location could more efficiently serve this region. 

Assuredly, this doesn’t mean that the brand is seeing a net overall increase in profit, but it does pose an issue they will need to grapple with moving forward. There is no question that Lululemon is effectively driving interest and demand, but there should be greater level of focus on ensuring that the current expansion process is the most efficient means of doing so.


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