Are Supermarkets Becoming the New Fast Food?

by Cody Sheehy | Aug 29, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Did you know that the restaurant market is in decline?

Everyone from Wendy’s to more upscale establishments have been hit, with fast food places suffering most of all. While this news comes as a major disappointment to restaurant owners, grocery store owners could not be happier. What they may tell you, though, is that this shift is of no surprise. Grocery stores have been searching for new ways to compete with restaurants for years, and now that opening has been realized. Here are a few of the ways grocery stores have been successful:

1. Hot bars

The most direct way grocery stores have found to compete is by offering restaurant-quality foods that customers can grab and go. While deli-made sandwiches are nothing new to most , what is new is the introduction of hot bars. With rotating selections of everything from slow roasted pork to chicken tikka masala, these daily buffets speak to the ever-changing demands of customers who desire high-quality fare with the luxury of convenience.

2. A cheaper alternative

Even if quality has been bumped up a notch, price has not. Everything from fresh salads to hot bar items are all consistently less expensive than their restaurant counterparts. While the local grocery stores may not provide the same ambiance of upscale dining, what they can offer is affordable and convenient alternatives during lunch and dinner time. One such alternative is the concept of “heat and eat” deli meals. Pre-made meals of this type–packaged both for individual or family consumption–offer the convenience of fast food with the comfort of a more homemade taste. Additionally, consumers are finding the time to cook for themselves, saving them money by turning to their local grocery stores more than once a week.

3. Health

The major threat to fast food chains is the slow but steady growth in public awareness surrounding heath concerns. As McDonald’s stocks continue to drop, they and the rest of their cohort are finding ways to appeal to the new, more health-conscious generation of Americans. Grocery stores, on the other hand, have had to make little adjustment, as fresh fruits and veggies have always been on-hand.

At the end of the day, giving customers a broader selection of services and culinary experiences within one shopping trip seems to be putting grocery stores on top.

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