in 2016 sales. That is outpacing restaurant categories, like fast-casual,
which had a 7.5-percent sales growth; fine dining, which had 5.2-per-
cent growth; and fast-food and full-service restaurants, which saw nearly
Harvey attributes the growth to the fact that supermarkets are “really
nimble” at adjusting to current market trends. “Supermarkets are intro-
ducing delivery and testing meal kits,” she says. “They are becoming a lot
more flexible, and with foodservice, supermarkets really create a destina-
tion with restaurant-type amenities in the perimeter of the store.”
Retailers are also expanding their foodservice cred with signature
dishes and expanded menus, including offerings for all dayparts.
This month’s cover story takes a closer look at a cross-section of retailers from around the country that are excelling with foodservice programs, including: Bristol Farms; Brown’s Super Stores’ newest store addition, The Fresh Grocer of Monument Road; Lunds and Byerly’s; and
Niemann Foods’ Harvest Market.
As evidenced by the photos on the left and right, Niemann
Foods’ Harvest Market in Champaign, Ill., which opened
a little over a year ago, puts fresh prepared foods front-and-center, and customers are eating it up. The unique
store focuses on the farm-to-table movement to connect
consumers with the producers of their food. One of the
biggest draws in the 58,000 square-foot showplace is the
USDA-certified butter-churning room – a first of its kind
feature for a grocery store.
As Niemann’s first foodie-focused market, and the
chain’s first to include a restaurant, named The Farmhouse,
the menu is guided by a professional chef and offers
breakfast, lunch and dinner options made with locally-sourced ingredients. The Farmhouse’s selections boast
from-scratch, authentic food, which has been extremely
well received by an appreciative base of loyal enthusiasts
who happily share feedback with the store’s culinary teams.
“Consumers help guide our menu, which plays heavily
off peak-season specialties and farm-fresh ingredients
sourced by local food makers and producers,” explains
Gerry Kettler, director of consumer affairs. Harvest Market
also showcases signature products made with ingredients
found throughout the store, including artisan breads and
pastries, in-house roasted deli meats, Heritage-bred pork
and Niemann Ranch Beef.
While the restaurant’s menu changes with the seasons,
Farm House sticks closely to its roots with authentic
Midwest foods and flavors, kicked up a notch with new
tastes and ingredients to make the dining options that
much more interesting.
Meanwhile, over in Harvest Market’s in-store Kitchen,
shoppers can savor the aroma and select from a wide
variety of fresh food simmering on the stove, including a
large selection of made-to-order, fresh prepared foods.
The store also features a sit-down cafe where diners can
enjoy a wide variety of beverages and fresh brewed coffee.
Another aspect of Harvest Market’s food-centric mission,
adds Kettler, is evidenced in The Nook – an instructional
and educational space which houses many types of events,
such as food demonstrations, taste-testing and cooking
classes. Interestingly, Kettler says the twice-weekly cooking
classes, priced at $10 per session, have been wildly
popular with customers – so much so that they’re sold out
two to three months in advance.
“Whether it’s in our restaurant or cooking classes and
everything in between,” Kettler says Harvest Market’s
commitment to imparting “intimate food knowledge” has
been a transformative experience for the entire company.
“We’re exploring all different types of products and
approaches that have given us a whole new perspective.”
— Meg Major