The rise of the grocerant – eater

While sitting in the food hall section of New York City’s newest Whole Foods location, Natasha Beylis points out that most of the other people eating lunch in the packed space don’t have shopping bags. Good fast food restaurants Like her, many have come to the supermarket solely to dine in.

“Either you come here to shop or to eat,” Beylis said. Food for restaurants At this two-story Whole Foods, most of the second level is dedicated to dining, rather than shopping. Popular fast food restaurants On one side of the store’s second level there are cafeteria-style tables sandwiched between a Kano sushi bar and a Frankies Spuntino Italian restaurant.


Top ten fast food restaurants On the other side is a much smaller space with standard groceries. Best food restaurants “I think they do a good job of separating the vibe,” Beylis added.

The concept of blending a restaurant experience with the grocery experience has been around for decades, according to self-described “supermarket guru” and food service analyst Phil Lempert. Local food restaurants But the changing perspectives millennials and generation Z-ers have toward food and shopping are pushing more supermarkets to make their stores feel more like experiential food destinations than mere shopping markets. Top 5 fast food restaurants Analysts like Lempert predict that these “grocerants” will become the new standard for grocery stores in the more health-conscience future.

“You’re still going to have stores that pile it high and sell it cheap. Food and restaurants near me That’s one type of consumer and that’s one type of supermarket, but you’re going to see less of those and more of this new hybrid concept,” Lempert said.

More consumers are choosing to dine at their local grocery stores instead of at a restaurant.

Lempert spends part of his time working with the National Restaurant Association to help grocery stores understand and jump on the trend. Restaurants food near me A slide during one of his presentations at the 2016 NRA Show, the association’s annual foodservice and hospitality trade convention, warned attendees that “The line between retail foodservice and restaurants will continue to blur.”

Data supports that claim. Restaurants near me fast food Revenue for prepared food service at supermarkets grew an average of 10 percent a year from 2005 to 2015, according to Technomic Inc., a research and consulting firm. Find fast food restaurants And when dining out, more consumers are choosing their local grocery stores over traditional fast food and restaurants, the firm showed. Best food restaurants near me As a result, grocers are seeing value in beefing up their prepared food experiences.

Representatives for Whole Foods were quick to clarify to Eater that Whole Foods Market locations have been offering salad bars, hot food, and casual dining spaces almost since the store’s inception more than 30 years ago. New fast food restaurants But Lempert distinguishes traditional kinds of prepared food offerings from the “grocerant” experience shoppers are seeing more of today. Chain food restaurants “The definition is a freestanding restaurant that is located either adjacent to or within a supermarket,” Lempert said. Fast food restaurants in the area “It is not a prepared foods counter. Nearby food restaurants It’s not a pizzeria that is in a supermarket that has a little area that you can take your pizza and walk over to. Food restaurants nearby It’s more of a full-service type of restaurant or a semi-service type of restaurant.”

Essentially the grab-and-go salad bars and prepared foods counters are evolving and looking more like fast-casual restaurant spaces, designed to keep shoppers in the store. Fast food restaurants in this area Some offer massive food court seating areas with booths and dark, cozy atmospheres, while others feature enclosed full-service spaces. Fast food chain restaurants They often include free wifi, bars, host stations, even menus for made-to-order meals. Open food restaurants near me They are designed to encourage customers to linger, as a restaurant or comfortable coffee shop might. Fast food restaurants open And this is what consumers will likely see more and more in their local markets.

These restaurants, and their seating areas, are designed to get customers to linger.

The person in charge of bringing these options to Whole Foods is Tien Ho, the vice president of culinary and hospitality. Food restaurants near my location Ho said that while Whole Foods has always offered prepared foods in casual dining spaces, he and the company are taking note of consumer demands and are looking for ways to offer even better culinary experiences.

One of Ho’s priorities is what the company calls “strategic partnerships,” or collaborations between local chefs and Whole Foods. Food restaurants around me Ho’s goal is to bring more well-known chefs and restaurants into the national grocer’s stores. Most popular fast food restaurants The chain has already teamed up with nationally recognized chefs and brands like Roy Choi in Los Angeles, Erik Bruner-Yang’s Paper Horse in D.C. Food chain restaurants and Michael Solomonov’s Dizengoff in Philadelphia. Junk food restaurants But Ho wants more. Restaurants and food “The response has been amazing, so well so that they’re starting to be in more of our stores,” he said. Food near me restaurants The chain already has 30 full-service restaurants with waitstaff and 250 quick-service concepts, with plans to open more. Fast food and restaurants One new location in Atlanta is expected to feature a Brazilian build-your-own-churrasco-bowl fast-casual concept.

But not every community is the right fit for restaurant-centric grocery stores, Lempert says. Restaurants american food The newest Whole Foods in New York, for instance, is located in Midtown, just blocks from Times Square. American food restaurants It’s easy to see why the grocery portion of the space is considerably smaller than the prepared food sections: tourist and office-worker foot traffic demands it, as do people like Beylis who are just looking for a quick, comfortable meal from a brand they trust. Worst fast food restaurants That concept is harder to pull off in other places in New York City, a town of bodegas and food carts, where space is limited and there are already so many alternative dining options to compete with. Fast food restaurants usa While New Yorkers are quick to point out Mario Batali’s and Lidia Bastianich’s Eataly as their example of the grocerant experience, there are only two in the city, and to some, the brand feels more upscale and touristy than a local community food hub like other grocerants. Restaurants and fast food Beylis calls it “bougie.” A pizza restaurant at a Whole Foods in Brooklyn, NY Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

But for people in less congested communities, the grocerant experience has become more of the norm and isn’t as stuffy. Most fast food restaurants The Midwest-based Hy-Vee grocery chain has incorporated Hy-vee Grille, a full-service restaurant, into dozens of its locations since 2012. Fast food restaurants in america In 2013, when Chicago grocery fixture Dominick’s closed all its stores, other grocery chains, including Whole Foods, jumped at the chance to snag up the vacant spaces.

Another one of those brands was Mariano’s Fresh Market. Top fast food restaurants 2016 The chain was new to Chicago then, but quickly made its mark with a new kind of grocery experience. Fast food restaurants in my area At Mariano’s, shoppers might be greeted with live pianists, grill outs, wine tastings, gelato shops, and more. What fast food restaurants are open Now with multiple locations in Chicago, Mariano’s has become a leader in the grocery store as food destination concept. Famous fast food restaurants Even Walgreens drug stores in Chicago have incorporated “UpMarket Cafes” featuring made-to-order smoothies, sushi and alcoholic beverages, in an attempt to be seen as “wellness destinations,” as the press release put it.

This trend is largely driven by millennials, experts say. Best fast food restaurants in the world Forty years ago, baby boomers purchased food from grocery stores. Top 10 worst fast food restaurants Today, those places are competing with farmers markets, apps, home delivery, websites, and other options. How many fast food restaurants in the us Still, the concept of a “retail meal” is nothing new. How many fast food restaurants in america Malls and department stores like Macy’s have had food courts for years. Cheap fast food restaurants near me Then there is IKEA and its famous meatballs and cafeteria. Close fast food restaurants near me Either in spite of or because of this progression, millennials have developed higher expectations for prepared foods at supermarkets. Closest fast food restaurants near me According to a recent Technomics survey, 52 percent of respondents said they see prepared foods as healthier alternatives to fast food. All fast food restaurants near me Meanwhile, a study by the NPD Group, which researches consumer behavior, showed that consumers rate prepared food higher in freshness and quality, turning to standard quick-service for affordability and convenience.

At Mariano’s in Chicago, shoppers will find live pianists, grill outs, wine tastings, and gelato shops.

To keep up, grocery stores are transforming into destinations with food experiences. Local fast food restaurants near me This feels more comfortable to young shoppers, who then become more connected to the brand, Lempert says. Best fast food restaurants near me “It’s about what’s the kind of image and environment that you want to create,” Lempert said.

At Whole Foods, for instance, each store is tailored to fit its community, a representative with the company said. Healthy fast food restaurants near me So pinpointing a specific strategy for all the stores is not really possible. Top 10 fast food restaurants in the world Instead each store, whether food hall-focused, grocery-focused or events-oriented, centers around the brand and its mission of providing high-quality, natural food, even if that’s experiential. Chinese food restaurants near my location While the grocerant style may not take over every Whole Foods location, more may appear where they fit, grabbing the attention of loyal customers like Beylis who seek out a store’s prepared food.

While specific experiences may differ at grocerants, one thing most of them do have in common is booze. Exotic food restaurants near me Alcohol plays a major role in the grocerant concept. Food restaurants It’s not only profitable from a sales standpoint, but a way to keep people in the store, Lempert said. Fast food and restaurants near me At some Whole Foods, some of the internal tap rooms that sell beer also host trivia nights. Fast food restaurants near me open now One Mariano’s location in Chicago hosts Sunday mimosa parties. Fast food restaurants near me open 24 hours The Parlor at Whole Foods, Savannah, Georgia Whole Foods/ Official

“All the ones that I have seen have included [a bar concept], and I think for good reason,” Lempert said. Fast food restaurants near me now “As we continue to see, people like being able to walk around the store more relaxed and have a glass of wine or a beer while they’re shopping. Fast food restaurants near me that deliver The good news is for the retailer if they do that they’re slowing down and they’re taking more time in the store. Food restaurants near me that deliver They’re seeing more new products that maybe [they’d miss] if they’re just running in and out in 20 minutes.”

But happy hours, chef partnerships, and food courts might be just the beginning of the grocerant takeover. Fast food restaurants open now Supermarkets like Whole Foods are pushing the boundaries to keep communities and young shoppers engaged with their brands. Fast food restaurants open today And competition between grocery chains will only drive more experimentation.

“We’re not looking to [other stores] for inspiration, I’ll tell you that,” Ho said of Whole Foods’ approach. Fast food restaurants open late “We’re always trying new things to make the experience better for our customers. Fast food restaurants open on easter Wine tasting in a store? Dude, that was like early ‘90’s man. Restaurants american fork That’s nothing new. Restaurants american fork utah We’re pushing ourselves for the next new thing. Restaurants fast food near me I can only imagine that others will follow.”

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