Retail Foodservice

How to Expand and Elevate Off-Premise Service at the Grocerant

Photograph: Shutterstock

As pandemic-related changes to the market begin to fade out, grocers need to stay on top of which consumer priorities will change—and which will stay the same.

Retail foodservice sales saw an uptick amid the pandemic; as restaurants limited their services or closed their doors altogether, consumers turned to the grocery store for prepared meals their whole family could enjoy. According to Technomic’s Q1 2021 Retailer Insights report, nearly three in 10 grocery store shoppers say they’re purchasing prepared foods more often than they were two years ago.

Even as other eateries return to business as usual, grocers can keep their customers coming back to the grocerant by continuing to offer the quality and convenience they love.

Convenience

One of the grocerant’s major selling points is its convenience: As consumers shop for their groceries, they can pick up a hot meal without making a second stop on the way home.

The expansion of off-premise services amid the pandemic boosted the convenience factor even more, helping to further increase sales from consumers seeking quick, easy solutions. According to Technomic’s Q1 2021 Retailer Insights report, nearly half (44%) of grocerant shoppers say they order grocery stores’ prepared foods via takeout, drive thru or curbside pickup.

Though the uptick in demand for these services was largely prompted by safety concerns, grocers can expect demand for off-premise service to remain heightened after the pandemic. Not only has the pandemic introduced many consumers who hadn’t tried ordering off-premise before, but consumers resuming their typical routines and commutes will also be especially keen on time-saving solutions.

Keeping labor low

High demand for service both inside the store and off-premise bodes well for grocerant sales, but retailers still need to keep labor low and back-of-house operations efficient as they continue to offer service through a number of channels.

As standards for sanitation remain heightened, maintaining peak cleanliness isn’t something retailers can let slip—even during extra-busy hours of business. Especially for routine maintenance and cleaning tasks, time and labor-saving solutions are as crucial as ever.

Managing fryer oil, for example, is an infamously time-consuming task, and since many grocerants are located far from the back dock in the store, hot waste oil often needs to be transported through the aisles of the store. This not only takes time, but can pose a safety risk for employees and customers alike. Cleaning hoods and flues, too, is key not only to a sanitary operation, but to a safe kitchen as well.

Outsourcing these tasks, however, can free up a significant amount of time—and save grocerant staffs a lot of stress, too. This is why many leading foodservice providers turn to Restaurant Technologies’ Total Oil Management services to keep operations quick, safe and easy. Total Oil Management takes care of everything from ordering and delivering fresh cooking oil to storing, handling and recycling used oil—enabling grocerant staff to spend less time managing fryer oil and more time serving customers.

This, in addition to a host of other solutions from Restaurant Technologies, including Fryer Oil Filtration Monitoring and Grease Lock, hood filters that slow grease buildup, can be a game changer for a grocerant’s cleanliness, safety and efficiency in the back-of-house. All of that is a win for retailers, employees and shoppers alike!

To learn more about how Restaurant Technologies can help support off-premise services with time- and labor-saving technologies, visit www.rti-inc.com

This post is sponsored by Restaurant Technologies

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