Supermarkets Invite Customers Out to Eat
We’ve come a long way. I’m not talking about society or anything on a grand scale. I’m talking about my family’s eating habits attached to grocery shopping.
Consider that we started out buying a hot dog at the end of a Costco shopping trip.
Later we graduated to sandwiches or hot foods, usually Chinese, at Wegmans’ in-store dining area. It was impossible to mention Wegmans without kids asking if we could get something to eat first. They loved getting a seat on the second floor and watching the shoppers move around the store below.
Next came trips to a Whole Foods and dine-in meals at the Osteria Italian restaurant with its locally-sourced foods.
This brings me around a recent Boston Globe piece that discussed the evolution of in-store dining options at supermarkets. Wegmans, Whole Foods and H-E-B’s Central Market were mentioned as grocers that had offered higher quality dining experiences as means to building their brands and driving in-store traffic.
"In the past 24 to 36 months, in-store dining has become heightened, as retailers realized they couldn’t increase the basket size by simply lowering prices,’ Thom Blischok, president of SymphonyIRI Group, told the Globe. "They began these innovations to drive in-store traffic, and change the dining experience — in quality, in atmosphere, and in variety. The ambience of a chef standing back there with the hat in a grocery store said: ‘Ah! I can eat good quality food here at a good price.”
Discussion Questions: Do you see in-store dining as become more important to the marketing efforts of supermarkets? How do you think the more successful operators will approach the management and marketing of in-store dining options?