Restaurants and Grocery Stores: A New Hybrid Emerges

What do restaurants and grocery stores have in common you ask? Well a lot more than usual as of late.

An Interesting Combination

What do restaurants and grocery stores have in common? Nowadays — more than you think. During the resurfacing of the food industry, many businesses have been forced to pivot, and some have become creative. While the restaurant sector of the food industry has sustained massive blows since the outbreak of COVID-19, the CPG industry has flourished in many aspects. As a result, restaurants have begun to play a game of “Robinhood”, and now restaurants and grocery stores have become one in the same.

An Opportune Pan-airing

Pardon the play on words, but just this week, Panera was on of the restaurants to announce that they would providing essential groceries to the public in response to plummeting sales. In over 1800 locations, you can walk out with a gallon of milk to accompany your panini as panera has begun to sell fruits, vegetables and dairy products in addition to their regular menu items. The restaurant-to-grocery store pivot was about more than improving restaurant sales, as assessed Julie Wineinger, owner of Lulabelle’s Sweet Shop: “All of the suppliers I’ve reached out to have been super willing to do whatever they can, they don’t have any business and they’re all trying to stay afloat. It’s just about trying to get what people need.” Wineinger said in an article released by the Washington Post. Yet another example of how the industry is coming together in support of one another. According to Fox Business, Denny’s, Subway, Potbelly and Fuddruckers are among the few joining the emerging restaurant and grocery store hybrid.

Restaurants and grocery stores collide as COVID-19 keeps people in their homes and without the essentials.

Move Over Instacart

Some of the restaurant chains are taking the grocery opportunity a step further by offering grocery delivery. With Instacart slots pushed out for days and millions needing essentials, restaurant chains with direct relationships with suppliers have opened their doors to provide not only a pick-up of much needed essentials, including toilet paper, but delivery as well. Although COVID-19 may not be a direct threat to those who are young with strong immune systems, the elderly and immunosuppressed are forced to stay home, dependent on delivery services. Restaurant and grocery store hybrids have now become a new avenue for the at-risk to receive what they need.

Business insider reported that as the pandemic has begun it’s climb to peak, restaurant foot traffic has decreased 42% with more and more people staying inside to avoid exposure. These strategic pivots have not only kept businesses afloat, but has kept audiences safe and employees working. It makes one pause to wonder what the industry will look like once the viral pandemic has come to a close and business returns to normal. With all of this change, normal as we knew it might never be normal again.


MenuCalc is offering a free plan to all restaurant establishments for 2 months in advocacy of those affected by COVID-19. Contact us for more information. 

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