When it comes to grabbing a bite research shows consumers are more likely than ever to dine as they shop for packaged goods, clothing and gasoline.
According to the recently released U.K. Retail Foodservice Consumer Trend Report, convenience and affordability are key factors driving consumers to increase their consumption of retail-prepared foods. The Report guides retailers in key areas:
Understand retail foodservice consumption behavior: Examine patronage, sourcing, day-part (eating patterns), dining party. Retail foodservice locations include:
- Traditional supermarkets
- High-street retailers
- Convenience stores
- Cash and carry stores
- Garden centers
Explore purchase and traffic drivers: Determine how quality, health, convenience, value, service, ambiance and more influence the retail foodservice decision.
Support menu and product development: Identify the retail foods and beverages your typical consumers purchase for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Discover how retail foodservice competes with restaurants: Learn how consumers compare limited- and full service restaurants and retail foodservice locations.
PRSM Member Kevin Herrmann, Manager Maintenance at The Fresh Market, Inc., agrees the trend is expanding as retailers experiment with hybrid models. Guiding other FMs who are leaping into foodservice, Kevin says, “The move will require FMs to be more focused on the changes in equipment and building services to support the ready-to-eat environment.”
For instance: the required extra-prep and hand wash facilities, the additional grease-in-the-waste plumbing system, and the additional maintenance and care for the cooking equipment; required exhaust hoods if producing grease laden air in the cooking process, are a couple of things that immediately come to mind.”
“Also, initial construction costs, as well as the ongoing maintenance costs, need to be considered in the fiscal evaluation of adding this line. That being said, it is a very profitable segment and can drive increases in sales volume without increasing square footage.”
According to Fare Magazine, which focuses on helping foodservice operators explore opportunities in traditional retail segments, these trends are worth watching:
Consumers are beginning to ask for more healthful meal options away from home—but they’re also changing what “healthy” means to them. Natural, wholesome, organic, local and fresh attributes are considerably more important than low-fat, sodium-free or other traditional healthful-food labels.
Day-Parts Get Fuzzy
The second-fastest-growing day-part of the past two years has been snacking— proof that consumers are moving further away from three square meals a day. Late-morning, late-afternoon and late-night snacking are all changing the way foodservice operators tackle the day.
The Other Hybrid
Is it a restaurant? A c-store? A grocer? Mixed retail-foodservice concepts are changing the way we categorize operations. C-store/restaurant hybrids are helping college campuses in particular compete with off-campus options and cater to a wider variety of customers on a daily basis, with a mix of grab-and-go, made-to-order and convenience items under one roof.
C-Stores at a Crossroads
Torn between promises of strong margins and the investment required to succeed, c-store retailers are learning they must go all-in in order to win at foodservice. Along with that comes an extra hurdle: Most consumers still don’t think of c-stores as a mealtime option, making share of mind just as important as share of stomach.
As all retailers challenge the norm, options to include foodservice can very well increase foot-traffic and prolong the time customers spend in the store.