“Good service. Really big portions. Great wine selection, really, and I would totally try their beer and cocktails, as they
have a nice happy hour, 12 to 6,” Karen S. of St. Paul, Minn., writes in
her three-star Yelp review.
Koolsee X., also of St. Paul, gives the same establishment a coveted four stars: “I only go here for their Sunday brunch. They have $9
unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys. I really enjoy their omelets.
BIG portions for decent prices,” she writes.
The glowing reviews are not about some new trendy bistro, landmark white-tablecloth steakhouse, or neighborhood hole-in-the-wall seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but rather about the Hy-Vee
Market Grille at the chain’s Oakdale, Minn., store. The West Des
Moines, Iowa-based retailer operates more than 100 Hy-Vee Market
Grille full-service restaurants next to its namesake supermarkets.
“BTW, the attached grocery store is awesome!” Karen S. notes.
Hy-Vee is just one of many food retailers upping its game in the
foodservice arena. In addition to a sit-down restaurant, the chain
does an outstanding job of merchandising ready-to-eat and heat-
and-eat items in its deli and prepared food cases. It’s an astute move,
says Steven Johnson, “grocerant guru” at Consultancy Foodservice
Solutions in Tacoma, Wash.
“Many legacy retailers still want to focus on selling pantry prod-
ucts, and today’s customers simply are not stocking the pantry,”
Johnson says. “They don’t plan one month out at a time. It just
doesn’t happen anymore.”
When it comes to share of stomach, the growth of retail foodser-
vice programs has been nothing short of phenomenal.
“Measuring growth from 2015 to 2016, we find that supermarket
foodservice is the top-growing segment in the restaurant industry,”
says Aimee Harvey, managing editor, Retail Foodservice and foodservice editor, CSP, at Technomic, a Chicago-based sister company
to Grocery Headquarters. “We’re talking about 8. 6 percent growth
From deli take-out to sit-down restaurants,
consumers are increasingly turning to grocery
stores for fresh-prepared meals.
BY RICHARD TURCSIK