The Emergence of Grocerants

Grocery stores capitalize on convenience with restaurant-style eateries

In today’s convenience-focused society, one of the activities falling out of favor is cooking. Study after study has shown that busy lifestyles are pushing it to the wayside, with consumers, mainly Millennials, leaning more towards prepared foods from fast-casual and takeout restaurants.

As a response to this trend, grocery stores are leaning into the unique convenience they offer: making shopping trips even more productive by opening restaurants inside their stores.

While they have always had some prepared food options like Costco’s meal court or Walmart’s in-store fast food franchises, Grocerants help grocery stores create their own unique experiences. 

These new hybrids can be defined two ways: full-service, sit down restaurants inside their stores, complete with waiters and bars like Wegman’s Burger Bars. Or a more food court-style set up with buffets or stations lining the outside, like the by-the-pound or grab-and-go offerings at Whole Foods.

This approach is working – in 2016, Grocerants generated 2.4 billion visits and $10 billion is sales according to The NDP Group. Simply by promoting the quality of the food being served as freshly prepared, Grocerants visits increased by 30% since 2008.

Higher profit margins are also a key driver to the Grocerant trend. Plus, they not only boost margins, they help the stores stand apart. The Food Marketing Institute, a trade association, said 61.9% of its members say having an in-store restaurant helps them stand apart.

For consumers, it’s a win-win. Grocery shopping is still a necessity, but being able to grab an affordable bite and not rushing to get more done makes the whole experience more enjoyable. It’s a one-stop shop for them and increases their time spent in the store.

While having a Grocerant comes with many challenges, like food safety, the higher profit margins are too hard to resist for some stores. It creates for a relaxed environment for the shopper and overall increase in satisfaction and loyalty.

As they grow in popularity, Grocerants will continue to become more sophisticated, engaging and convenient, offering brands another avenue in which to reach consumers in the store.

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