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Adding experience to food retail

We used to step into a grocery store for our shopping. Today, we might want to stop in a supermarket to taste the best espresso in town, a cool happy hour or a special lunch menu. The line between food retailers and restaurants seems to be fading out, as many food stores have evolved into dining destinations with a peculiar combination of convenient prices, ease of access and special products. 

Adding food service can help supermarkets remain attractive in the overcompetitive retail landscape, also stemming the e-commerce rise. When market intelligence agency Mintel surveyed US consumers about their shopping preferences, only 10% said to be interested in seeing a bar inside their usual grocery store. About 20% would prefer to find a full service sit down restaurant, and two in five is more likely to shop at a store that offers a peculiar experience, such as cooking classes or an on-site dietician. 

Americans do love grocery shopping (about 60% enjoys it) and about 25% normally spends some time in food stores even without a need for shopping: food service is thus a great opportunity for retailers and brands to turn this habit into additional sales. 

An interesting example is in Chicago, US, where Whole Foods is hosting the poke bowl restaurant Poke Bowl Co in two different locations.  HEB retail stores also host a variety food service concepts, from BBQ to ramen, with some of them featuring entertainment with live music or social games. Walmart inaugurated a Grown restaurant, specializing in organic healthy food, in Orlando, Florida. 

But this not just a US trend. Ever heard of  Eataly? Born from the idea of eating Italian food and living the Italian way, it is now a brand with several restaurants around the world where people can eat, shop, attend events and exclusive food-related experiences.  

Promoting and growing this innovative store concepts requires a creative marketing strategy, possibly using digital and mobile tools to rapidly increase visibility and target engagement. If are eager to learn more about mobile proximity marketing for food retail businesses, have a look at our Movibell platform!