For foodservice to be successful in a food retail environment, several elements need to be considered.
Foodservice needs to be unique with an added value. You need to know and understand what drives consumer preferences, including freshness, convenience, flavor profile, food safety, quality of service, and price, to name the most common threshold items.
To compete with traditional restaurants, you need to understand demographics and psychographics. You need to know what to offer in both a rural and urban setting. You need to understand the value of ethnic opportunities for both the primary consumer and those interested in tasting and experiencing flavors worldwide.
This is an exceptional opportunity available to Hispanic food operators. To address community needs, the foodservice food retailer must hire a food director or chef who understands the community’s tastes and can produce restaurant-quality offerings that stand out in the culinary field.
The offering should address the community’s lunch needs and dinner needs and offer it as daytime options and in various convenient and service-oriented selections: Ready to Eat, Heat & Eat, Order & Take, etc.
Offering tastings and hospitality-based service will be very important as guests will build loyalty around those personal touches.
The environmental issue is crucial. Everyone wants to feel comfortable and welcomed during any event where food is consumed. Creating an environment that produces a great experience requires great design, great service, and attention to all the senses.
Music, aromas, visual interest, comfortable seats, and the like need special attention.
Examples abound to study these strategies, including Wegman’s foodservice offerings, Northgate Gonzalez innovations, Schnucks Al Fresco, and the H-E-B food hall.
They all take special care to offer an exceptional and unique experience based on a deep understanding of their brands and consumer preferences. And all offer catering, beer and wine services, efficient pickup or delivery, and visual entertainment through customer activity and enjoyment.
The Hispanic foodservice opportunity contains an additional unique component that welcomes all of its distinctive ethnicities, and that is our festive nature. The Hispanic foodservice environment should include a quality festive atmosphere where food is center stage, where food preparation is theater, where aromas are delicious. Music accentuates the moment and adds entertainment value and community solidarity.
Finally, when it comes to the foodservice component’s location in a grocery store, there is no better place than front and center. For foodservice to be successful, it must be all committed.
Most importantly, like any consumer-driven offering, it remains a worthwhile cause and provides a compelling reminder and momentum trigger. Whether it is literally in the center of the store, in the case of a central outdoor patio that constantly reminds you as you shop to take a moment to enjoy a beautiful experience, upfront as a component of the facade statement or Next door due to site planning opportunities, people will be looking for a great catering offering. Still, they may not consider if it is hidden, hidden, or not otherwise celebrated.
Foodservice should always convey a sense of pride, hospitality service, thoughtful design, and brand experience.
Let the deli be the deli. A beautiful foodservice offering runs front and center, proud, beautiful, and worthy of its prominence.