Hip Supermarkets Jump on Takeout Bandwagon

PHOENIX, ARIZONA—When a Fry's grocery opened earlier this year in a somewhat isolated community on the outskirts of this city, the nearby Safeway lot offered ample parking for several days as residents flocked to the new joint to try take-out sushi, relax in the mini-bookstore and drink coffee from the in-store coffee shop. And they found a broad selection of prepared foods at a place that blurred the lines between grocery store and take-out restaurant.

It was all part of the 2007 marketing plan, of course.

Supermarkets are adapting to America’s growing takeout trend, according to an article in this month’s Food Technology magazine that reviews 24 studies and surveys of grocery, restaurant, and consumer trends.

What to expect if your neighborhood grocer is hip:

  • Phone-in fresh pizza
  • Hot buffet
  • Shrimp and sushi counter
  • Sandwich bistro
  • Pasta/Sauces made fresh daily
  • Hot panini bar
  • Gourmet coffee shop
  • Wood-fired, brick oven breads
  • Self-serve grilled vegetable bar
  • Chef-prepared entrees/sides

Generation Xers and single people, the heaviest users of takeout meals, can expect grocers to market all this stuff specifically to them.

Grocers can't afford to forget their roots, meanwhile. According to one study, nearly half of all shoppers switched stores in 2006 after finding better produce. Apparently, Americans are finally rebelling against mushy apples and tasteless tomatoes.