In an increasingly fast-paced world, consumers have less and less time to prepare their food. They are looking for a quick, easy, and tasty option to satisfy their dining needs, and that demand has increasingly been met by food delivery apps and old-school takeout. But how are grocery stores and other food retailers remaining relevant? Cue the “grocerant,” part-grocery, part-restaurant, providing the quality consumers want and the convenience they demand. Most grocerants exist as a kind of cafe-within-a-store, providing quick and easy meals along with general grocery options for future meals. It’s revolutionizing how we shop, and how we eat.
One of the main trends driving the ‘Grocerant’ is the rise of the Experience Economy. Over the last 30 years, U.S., spending dedicated to experiences has increased by 70% – and nearly 80% of millenials would choose to spend money on an experience over an object. ‘Dinertainment’ has increased expectations around the grocery shopping experience.
Here are some examples of the ‘Grocerant’ concept in action:
Whole Foods: known for its fresh, eco-friendly, health-oriented groceries, Whole Foods has found success in expanding their prepared food section to incorporate a variety of ready-to-eat meals, an in-store dining area, and even cafes. The nation-wide chain boasts an immense prepared food service, including made-to-order sandwiches, hot pizza, and sushi, as well as a hot bar, salad bar, and pre-made sandwiches and wraps. The locations featuring in-store cafes have brought in daily commuters and afternoon shoppers looking for a pick-me-up. The in-store food service has met with success, leading the company to introduce separate check-out lines and dedicate entire portions of the store to food service and in-store dining.
7 Eleven: You might not associate the convenience store chain with quality food, but 7 Eleven is practically a staple in ready-to-eat food service in Japan–and they’re bringing their high-quality premade meals stateside. Japan’s convenience store culture means that stores like 7 Eleven are viewed as the place to pick up a quick lunch or snack, and 7 Eleven meets demand by providing bento box meals, onigiri (rice balls), and fried snacks. In America, 7 Eleven is moving away from their hot-dog-and-slushie reputation by offering fresh sandwiches, fruit, and even green juices. They’ve even begun a rewards program oriented around daily food shoppers, encouraging regular use of their quick and easy meal services.
T&T Supermarket: The Canada-based grocery chain has incorporated some sort of food service into each of their 11 locations, to resounding success. Their most recent development, a seafood bar in their Vancouver location, has seen long lines and a waitlist that lasts over an hour during their busier times. The T&T Seafood Bar serves prawns, clams, and lobster selected by customers from their fresh tanks, meaning incredibly fresh seafood at grocery-store prices. The bar, as well as their Asian Street Food section, has seen success as the East-Asian-targeted grocery store provides food options that might not be available in local restaurants–and certainly not at the price.