Coborn’s is adding an in-store Erbert & Gerbert’s sandwich shop to its store in Big Lake, Minn., which will include a drive-thru lane, the retailer told SN.
“It’s a franchise opportunity we’re implementing in this location as our store is located in a large strip mall shopping center,” said Dennis Host, senior VP, marketing and communications, at St. Cloud, Minn.-based Coborn’s.
The restaurant will be installed in one corner of the building, offering access for a drive-thru lane, he said.
This will be the first branded restaurant, other than Caribou Coffee shops, inside a Coborn’s supermarket, Host said. The store will continue to offer a full-service deli inside the store, he said.
Erbert & Gerbert’s, based in Eau Claire, Wis., has more than 70 soup-and-sandwich restaurants in 12 states. The chain is known for its innovative ingredient combinations and quirky sandwich names that include Narmer, Bornk and Girf, derived from stories from the childhood of one of the founders.
Examples of its hero-style sandwiches include the Neuron, made with mac and cheese and beef brisket, topped with citrus chipotle BBQ sauce, and the Quatro, made with sliced chicken breast topped with zesty cranberry sauce, cherrywood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, cucumber, lettuce, and Hellmann's Mayo. It also offers bowls of soup, chili, and mac and cheese.
Erbert & Gerbert’s locations generate average annual sales of $943,000, according to the company’s website, and had comp-store growth of more than 10% in the past year.
The chain recently unveiled a new store design at a store in West St. Paul, Minn., that includes a clean, modern layout at a mall endcap location with a drive-thru.
Drive-thru lanes to access restaurants inside supermarkets are unusual, however.
FMI’s recent Power of Foodservice at Retail 2022 report cited drive-thrus as a feature that supermarket would like to see more of when it comes to foodservice. The research found that 48% of shoppers said they found the idea of drive-thru appealing, second only to the ability to order ahead through am mobile app or website and pickup at a pre-order station.
Coborn’s is an employee-owned company that also operates stores under the Cash Wise Foods, Marketplace Foods and Hornbacher’s banners.