In-store eateries and bars can achieve two primary goals by giving younger consumers the food and beverage experiences they want:  

  • Satisfy Millennials, who eat and drink out more than other age groups and boost business growth potential  
  • Offer a new lens through which to view the store – one that fulfills food and drink desires on multiple levels, and encourages relaxed shopping trips open to discovery

Data from a SupermarketGuru poll lead Foodservice at Retail: Grocerants to suggest some ways below to target Millennials and become more inviting and productive. Enacting these could expand the 61.9% of FMI members who already feel “in-store dining gives them a competitive edge,” a figure reported by USA Today.

1.  Convenience.  Nearly 60% of SG survey respondents said they eat at grocerants because they’re convenient, and 36% say because they can food shop on the same trip. That’s a great head start on fulfilling each day’s ‘what’s for dinner’ need – and building lunch, breakfast, commuting and snacking trades. Andy Sasser, global culinary operations coordinator at Whole Foods Markets, told USA Today about 15% of a store’s sales usually comes from its eateries.
2.  Technology.  Millennials check their phones 157 times a day vs. 30 times per average adult, said Facebook, which makes WiFi a key appeal. So are app and kiosk ordering, and phone-based payment systems, which speed transactions.
3.  Food and drink quality and innovation.  Flavor mashups, global cuisines and healthful choices attract Millenials’ famously adventurous palates.  32% of SG survey respondents said they eat at grocerants because the food tastes good.
4.  Alcohol. Craft beers on tap, growlers to go, and wine and cocktails where fuller bar service exists engage shoppers with new flavors and fun socializing experiences. SupermarketGuru Phil Lemper told Eater about trivia nights in tap rooms at some Whole Foods stores, and Sunday mimosa parties at a Mariano’s in Chicago. The many grocerants he’s seen have bar concepts “for good reason…people have a glass of wine or beer while shopping…they’re taking more time…and seeing more products,” he said.
5.  Cheaper prices than restaurants. A grocerant meal costs $4.22 on average vs. the $7.96 tab at a fast-casual restaurant, said NPD Group research reported by USA Today. The more Millennials become aware of this, the likelier price will be a trip driver, especially among those saddled with education debt or underemployed. So far, 31% of SG survey respondents said they eat at grocerants because it costs less than a restaurant. FRG believes they’ll respond to mobile promotions, coupons and social media marketing.