Supermarkets Joining the Food Service Market

In today’s economy where frugality is a necessity across America, consumers are looking for ways to save money on food without sacrificing time or quality. Many grocery store chains are satisfying that need by adding food service areas, or expanding their delis and frozen foods sections to provide more take-home meals. Some even have buffet-type areas where customers can choose fully cooked items to create an entire meal that is ready to put on the table when they get home.

All of these options are allowing consumers to serve their families restaurant quality food without paying the price or having to work in the kitchen all evening.

Why is it Working?

These food service areas are no longer tiny delis at the back of the store that offer pre-made sandwiches or greasy fried items. They are set up to give customers plenty of choices, and they are serving high-quality food. One popular grocery store has a seating area so that customers can order a freshly made meal of their choice and sit comfortably while they eat it. Others offer quick check-out for customers who want to just run in and pick up dinner without fighting the crowds in the rest of the store.

In other words, these areas are convenient enough that shoppers can pick up dinner while they’re grocery shopping, but separate enough that diners can enjoy the same benefits of a quick service restaurant.

Also, much, though not all, of the fare from these stores appeals to consumers’ increasing desire to find healthier foods. When buying prepared foods from a grocery store, customers are able to check nutrition facts and even ask the chef personally about food content and cooking techniques. Also, customers buying items for dinner for their families are able to measure their own portions, allowing them to feel more in control of what they are eating.

Of course, the main reason that these grocery stores are succeeding is that the prices are so much lower than in a restaurant. Customers feel like they are getting a meal that is just as good as or better than many restaurants, while only paying about one third what they would probably pay for a restaurant dining experience.

How Can Restaurants Compete?

Restaurant owners really can’t afford to ignore this encroachment on their territory. This development by grocery stores has been a long time coming, but has exploded recently. Restaurateurs should act quickly to retain their business and remind customers why the restaurant experience is still superior.

The most important thing that restaurant owners must take advantage of is the fact that these grocery stores cannot offer the comfort and luxury of having the whole meal taken care of from start to finish. Restaurants can still lure customers with the idea of sitting down and enjoying a meal with no shopping, no cooking, no heating up, and no cleanup. All they have to do is visit and enjoy their meal.

Also, owners should consider offering more healthy options on their menu, emphasizing freshness and healthier cooking techniques.

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One Response to “Supermarkets Joining the Food Service Market”

  1. Spending Patterns of Affluent Consumers « Jim Balis' Blog Says:

    […] opposed to controlling about 25% of all consumer spending before the recession, individuals in the top 5% in regards to net worth now account for about 37% […]

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