Progressive Grocer

JUN 2016

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24 SOLUTIONS JUNE 2016 Miami-based Proftality, a foodservice consultancy. "Why made to order? Because that's what restaurants ofer," he says. "Everyone is trying to grab millennials' share of stom- ach, and members of this generation want items that are made specifcally for them as individuals. Tey also want to see what you're doing so they know the food is fresh." Introducing the made-to-order concept to an existing store creates challenges, Martinez acknowledges. First, extensive remodeling may be necessary. "You're essentially opening up the kitchen and bringing the back of the store to the front of the store," he says. "But you really use up less space if you do it right." Second, labor costs may go up with the addition of more and better-trained employees. Kitchen staf deployed at the front need to be poised and highly skilled in order to cut vegetables, slice meat or make sandwiches while interacting with customers in a professional way. "Tat's a diferent employee you want to have on stage," Martinez says. But by substantially reducing food waste and driving trafc not just in the grocerant section but throughout the store, the made-to-order model provides an excellent return on investment, Martinez says. With made-to-order stations, supermarkets have greater opportunity to brand specifc prepared food items, such as Whole Foods Market has done with burritos in some of its stores, notes Rosenzweig. If well-executed, the concept can turn grocerant departments into dining destinations rather than simply convenient places to eat while grocery shop- ping, he says. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Price Chopper embraced the made-to-order model with its Market Bistro concept: a food hall with a dozen or so stations ofering everything from subs to burgers. Although the chain has scaled back the number of stations in its new Market 32 stores, made-to-order will re- main an important aspect of the retailer's brand, says consultant Lewis Shaye of East Greenbush, N.Y., until recently Price Chop- per's vice president of culinary concepts. In developing the Market Bistro concept, Shaye strove to create an exciting environment "that stimulates all fve senses" and provides fast casual foodservice comparable in quality to and at slightly lower price points than Panera Bread, Chipotle and similar popular restaurant chains. "We saved customers time by ofering a one-stop shop where they could meet their daily or weekly grocery needs while getting prepared foods to eat in the moment or take home," Shaye says. "We also ofered more choices than they would have at an indi- vidual Panera or Chipotle." Promote partnerships Rather than setting up and stafng an in-house food court, supermarkets can also form mutually benefcial partner- ships with local specialty food businesses, suggests Julie Dugas, principal partner of Studio H2G, a retail design and consulting frm in Birmingham, Mich. For example, a retailer could reach out to an up-and-coming smokehouse restaurant in town that may want to expand its business but lacks the wherewithal to open a second location. Te restaurant could set up a smoker in the store to help pro- mote its brand and generate sales while drawing customers into the grocerant. Supermarkets can form mutually beneficial partnerships with local specialty food businesses. — Julie Dugas, Studio H2G

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