The concept of a grocerant is the new and innovative term being used around grocery store circles. Care2.com defines grocerant as a new term for grocery stores that includes restaurant and ready made foods. Forbes even called these budding institutions “the future of food shopping” in a recent article.
Of course restaurants within restaurants or department stores is nothing new. Retailers like Kmart or Target have had in-store cafe’s that sell everything from slushies to hot dogs and pizza for decades now. What makes this movement different is the penetration into traditional grocery stores and focus on an higher-end, more gourmet experience, and healthier food at a fair price.
More innovative grocery stores are using these in-store restaurants or in some cases food trucks to help attract customers to their store. The idea is that customers will visit the store more frequently due to an affordable restaurant and the occasional special event like a visit from a celebrity chef, cookbook author, or other related food event. All of this is being done in an effort to make your grocery store more of a destination and gathering place, instead of simply the place you go to pick up milk.
Changing Eating Habits
So why all the hoopla about grocerants now? One major reason is due to a longtime shift of revenue away from grocery stores to restaurants. In 2015, Bloomberg reported Americans were spending more money on dining out than in grocery stores. Large but more innovative grocers like Trader Joe’s and WholeFoods hoped to adjust to this change in eating habits and capture some of this lost market.
As the same Bloomberg article observes, Millennials are the ones being credited (or blamed depending on how you want to look at it) for these changes. Many within this generation view eating out as an experience or event, similar to the way previous generations would have gone to the movie theater. It is a place to try new tastes and share a memorable experience with a group of friends.
In addition to Millennials of course it could be argued that everyone all the way up to Baby Boomers have changed their eating habits as well over the years. The world is an increasingly busy place and between work and family obligations it only makes sense that more people would want to save time with meal prep for the family.
What This Has To Do With Food Trucks?
We are happy you asked! In addition to on-site restaurants some grocery stores are beginning bring food trucks into their food service mix as well. One reason for this is a mobile unit is a boon for social media marketers that consumers so readily take photos with food trucks and share their experience’s on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. Food trucks are friendly and the marketing opportunities are nearly endless.
Food trucks are also mobile. That means you can introduce the grocery stores brand to areas of a city that they’re not typically found at. For example, local concerts or evenings in the park can now be a location to raise awareness for your brand. The food truck has been referred to as many as a “driving billboard” that can help improve the overall brand of just about any company, including grocery stores. Through improved marketing and mobility, food trucks are becoming one of the answers to improved profitability for modern grocers.
If you’re researching a food truck for your grocery store, M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks can help. We offer complimentary blue-print designs and can help you get started. Click here to contact us or call 904-397-0246 for immediate assistance.