Retail Foodservice

Make the Grocerant the Go-To Foodservice Option for Shoppers’ Summer Gatherings

Hands holding fried chicken
Photograph: Shutterstock

Between more widespread vaccine availability and warmer days allowing consumers to spend time outside, upcoming summer celebrations can offer grocerants—grocery store restaurants—a great opportunity to serve shoppers looking to feed a crowd without the fuss.

Technomic’s April 2021 Supermarket Foodservice Monitor underscores the continuing success of occasion-specific meal packages and underscores the importance of balancing seasonal and holiday promotions with the continued rollout of limited-time offers and new items across other segments of the foodservice program. With graduation parties, Father’s Day, Independence Day and more on the horizon, retailers have a great opportunity to leverage crowd-pleasing seasonal offerings and boost sales. Adding new offerings to the menu can’t come at the expense of adding labor and costs behind the scenes, however. 

By crafting meal packages that meet consumers’ needs and implementing some best practices for behind-the-scenes operations, retailers can make capitalizing on summer sales as frictionless—and profitable—as possible.

Crafting craveable seasonal offers

Regardless of the occasion, offering comfort foods is always a good bet. Crave-worthy entrees, sides and desserts should make an appearance here—and finger foods fit for picnic-style dining are a plus.

From a quick family dinner to a buffet-style spread for a holiday gathering, consumers look to the grocerant for fresh, high-quality fried chicken. According to Technomic’s Q1 2021 Supermarket Foodservice Consumer Marketbrief, fried chicken is far and away the fresh-prepared grocerant offering consumers find most craveable. Even more, fried chicken sales have increased year-over-year; in 2020, 31% of consumers said they purchased fried chicken from supermarket foodservice, compared to 25.9% in 2019.

Fried chicken entrees can be a boon to boosting cart size, too, as shoppers are likely to pick up sides—such as macaroni and cheese, potato wedges or coleslaw—to build a meal in one quick stop.

To maximize ROI on fried chicken offerings, retailers should latch onto top trends to help make their menus pop. New flavors and small, snackable portions, for example, boast a big appeal—especially for gatherings where diners are likely to graze over a period of time.

Boosting back-of-house efficiency

Of course, incorporating new ingredients for fresh LTOs, training staff to prepare new offerings and equipping the kitchen to accommodate value-size meal deals shouldn’t slow down operations or increase costs.

Crafting creative LTOs that utilize ingredients that are already in the kitchen, for example, can be a great margin-boosting strategy. If kitchens create new flavors and sauces with ingredients from other menu items, they can guarantee they’ll be able to make use of leftover products once the LTO period has ended.

Efficient, dependable back-of-house equipment is also a must. As retailers prepare food for dozens of diners at once, minimizing prep time while maximizing freshness is key. The fryers deserve special attention here, as fried-food favorites are likely to be among the top menu items consumers look toward for their special-occasion gatherings.

Managing fryer oil can be a pitfall for grocerant kitchens—slowing down operations and posing a hazard to employees. However, by turning to the experts at Restaurant Technologies, retailers can remove oil management from their to-do list entirely.

Restaurant Technologies’ Total Oil Management services take care of oil management from start to finish—from ordering and delivering fresh cooking oil to storing, handling and recycling used oil. In addition, Restaurant Technologies offers other key solutions to keep the back-of-house in tip-top shape. AutoMist automates hood and flue cleaning, working to eliminate grease build-up, while Grease Lock hood filters significantly slow grease build-up.

To learn more about how Restaurant Technologies can help grocerants maximize profits during summer celebrations, visit www.rti-inc.com.

This post is sponsored by Restaurant Technologies

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