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More than Takeout: Restaurants Are Adding Groceries to the Menu
More than Takeout: Restaurants Are Adding Groceries to the Menu
Aug 27, 2020
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Restaurants are finding new ways to engage their customers and generate revenue through grocery and pantry sales. With less people interested in shopping at crowded supermarkets, restaurants provide a unique opportunity for customers to purchase high-demand pantry staples while ordering dinner or takeout. 

 

Restaurants are well positioned to sell grocery and pantry items during the Coronavirus pandemic, because of their different supply chains. While grocery stores had limited stock of two- to five-pound bags of flour at the height of shelter-in-place orders, restaurants did not have that problem, because their flour is delivered in 50-pound bags. You can’t sell a 50-pound bag of flour in a supermarket, but a restaurant can portion two-pounds worth in a bag alongside a dinner order.

 

Selling groceries doesn’t recover all lost revenue from the pandemic, but it does keep restaurants afloat. It also provides a welcome alternative to the pitfalls of online ordering, and fighting for a coveted grocery pick-up slot. Casual eateries, fine dining establishments and fast food chains are all finding ways to broaden their menu.

 

Panera Bread sells staples like freshly baked bread, bagels, gallons of milk, greek yogurt, cream cheese and produce such as blueberries, tomatoes and avocado. Subway offers two-pound packs of salami, fresh baked rolls, red onions and tomatoes. The Los Feliz restaurant, All Time, has boxes of eggs, dried pasta, hot sauce, wine, bread, avocado and at least one roll of toilet paper. They also sell a la carte items like pre-cut steak.

 

If your restaurant is considering selling groceries, it is advised to keep your new menu simple. You can’t compete with actual grocery stores, so don’t try to sell everything. Sell staples such as fresh produce, protein, dairy and pantry items like soup, pasta and rice and ingredients for baking, like flour and sugar. If you can afford to do so, sell paper goods like toilet paper and paper towels. Anything else on your menu should be specific to your restaurant, like wine, spirits or seafood. 

 

Some restaurants are pivoting to offer meal kits, as well. California Pizza Kitchen sells a kids build-your-own pizza kit, taco kit and lettuce wrap kit on its market menu. Denny’s experimented with a “Complete Breakfast” kit in April, but phased it out in favor of precooked “Shareable Family Packs.” 

 

Sysco is also helping restaurants convert a portion of their dining room into a grocery pop-up shop. The idea is to allow customers to buy essential grocery items while ordering their meal to-go. Sysco would provide the grocery inventory, as long as you have adaptable floor space, walk-in freezer and cooler space and staff to work the floor.

 

Hopefully, selling groceries and meal kits and converting your dining room into a pop-up shop are short-term solutions. But your restaurant may find long-term success with these new ways to engage your customers. Remember to advertise your new, expanded menu online and in-store to maximize exposure.

Ovention Ovens Make It Easy
Matchbox® 1718/1313
Matchbox® 1718/1313

Cook a full menu of delicious offerings without an oven hood. The Ovention Matchbox 1718/1313 takes the traditional conveyor oven to a whole new level.

Conveyor 2600/2000/1400
Conveyor 2600/2000/1400

Simple, smart and the right fit for operators looking for a high-throughput conveyor oven. The Ovention Conveyor Oven is the most technologically elegant and operator-friendly conveyor on the market today.

Shuttle® 2000/1600/1200
Shuttle® 2000/1600/1200

If you value precision and volume, Ovention has the perfect oven to fit your operation. The Shuttle sets the new standard for conveyor ovens everywhere. No other oven can operate as both a conveyor and a closed-cavity oven.

Matchbox® M360 14/12
Matchbox® M360 14/12

Cook a full menu better, faster, and easier. The Ovention Matchbox M360 has Precision Impingement® technology, a unique cooking carousel, and a small footprint, making it the perfect fit for any operation.

Finishing F1400
Finishing F1400

Finish your plates with ease and precision with this robust IR finishing conveyor. Melt, sear, toast, and finish to perfection with this operator-friendly, quiet conveyor.

MiLO® Double/Single
MiLO® Double/Single

Revolutionary infusion of Decoupled Air and Infrared (IR) technologies. Independently controlled top and bottom cavities, each with its own interior light and control panel.

MiSA®‑a12
MiSA®‑a12

Introducing MiSA; Microwave Speed Assist. Higher quality, higher speed, smaller footprint.

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