Stellar grocerants at Hy-Vee, Kroger, Wegmans, Mariano’s, Sheetz, Wawa, Whole Foods and, in this issue, ShopRite, head a list of in-store dining successes across the United States.

Growing numbers of supermarkets and c-stores are blending foodservice and grocery under one roof.  These motivated operators shifted their key decision making questions from “should we move into in-store dining” to “where, when and how should we proceed.” 

Before green lighting your own grocerant concepts, assess many factors.  Use this list of starter thoughts to help kick off your own comprehensive discussions:

  • Can your trading area and customer base support one or more grocerant concepts?
  • If yes, which themes would they want?
  • Are these compatible with your store strengths and reputation?
  • Can your themes build synergy with other departments, such as meat, produce and cheese?
  • Do you have a favorable location – near offices, schools, hospitals and other traffic generators?  Are you in an urban area where people have small kitchens?
  • How powerful are nearby eateries?  Can you find niches to compete in?
  • Is there a deep enough pool of restaurant-quality labor to hire, retain and train?
  • Can you devote suitable space in-store or adjacent to the store for one or more sit-down grocerants?
  • Is this your most productive use of the space?
  • Do you know a good restaurant designer, rather than a store designer?
  • How well do you understand your customers’ needs for in-store dining? Are they time-starved, on the go, single?  Do they work shifts (hospitals, police, construction workers)?
  • Can you enact marketing ideas, such as singles nights, and promote them on social media?
  • Should you seek a beer, wine or liquor license?

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