The past few months have seen grocery foodservice endeavors ramping up. Hy-Vee, for example, first had a partnership with Wahlburgers in 2017 to open dozens of locations of that burger brand, including freestanding units.
Now this week, the company said that any Wahlburgers restaurant locations it opens moving forward would be inside its stores exclusively, saying, quote: “With the changing nature of the restaurant business combined with staffing challenges, we are evolving our strategy when it comes to standalone Wahlburgers restaurant locations.”
And it’s not it’s not just Hy-Vee. Other grocery chains are expanding their in-store branded restaurant locations.
Kroger has been rapidly rolling out Mix Food Halls, operated by Kitchen United, in its stores, featuring several well-known restaurant brands. These include Fuku Fried Chicken, Wow Bao, Genghis Grill, Hardee’s, Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, Nékter Juice Bar, Nathan’s Famous, Saladworks, Wing Zone, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. And a whole bunch more.
H-E-B has also been expanding its own-brand in-store restaurants, including South Flo Pizza and True Texas BBQ, which was actually recently named the best chain barbecue restaurant by Texas Monthly. H-E-B said it’s going to include both those concepts in a new, two-story, 97,00-square-foot supermarket in Lake Austin, Texas, along with, what else: a coffee shop that offers breakfast tacos and a full bar.
The Fresh Market also had an interesting foodservice-adjacent moment: rolling out a shoppable livestream cooking show promoting their Valentine's Day offerings.
Supermarket News tuned in with our sister publication Nation’s Restaurant News to see what the restaurant world makes of all this grocery restaurant business.
Take a listen.