We live in a world that moves at break-neck speed. Everyone is always busy running to and from work and social events. On top of that, both adult members of a household are working now, so when it comes to preparing delicious home-cooked meals, time is tighter than it ever has been.
Knowing this, it should be no surprise to learn that restaurant sales are on the rise. In 2017, restaurant sales are expected to hit $799 Billion nationwide, an increase of nearly 5% from the year before. That’s a huge jump for just one year.
What does this have to do with supermarkets, you ask? Those numbers include prepared meals that are served at grocery stores. That’s right, even supermarkets can cash in on the trend of customers not having the time to prepare as many meals at home.
But if you’re not familiar with serving prepared food out of your store, you might not know where to start. Don’t worry! PJP is here to help. Here are some things to keep in mind when offering prepared food for your customers.
Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to prepared food. People are looking for something quick and easy to eat so that they don’t have to spend time cooking an elaborate meal. Whether you have a dining area in your supermarket or not, you’re going to want to offer these prepared food options in to-go packaging so that your customers can take it with them.
But don’t fall into the trap of bad packaging. Different kinds of food will require different kinds of packaging, and the way you present your food will be a huge driver of whether or not your customers make a purchase. The better the food looks in the packaging, the more likely they will be to buy. Just like in a restaurant, presentation matters, so make sure your food looks as good as it tastes.
More and more, consumers are becoming health conscious when they make food buying decisions. This wasn’t always the case. There was a time when foodservice operations didn’t need to offer healthy options to be successful, but those days are long gone. If you’re going to offer prepared foods, you’re going to want to make sure you have a good selection of healthy options. Salads, lean proteins, sugar-free, etc.
You’ll also want to get nutritional facts labels for your prepared food. Allowing your customers to know the nutritional facts like calorie count and grams of fat will help them make an informed decision about what they are buying.
If you’ve never offered prepared food before, or if your prepared food isn’t quite selling the way you hoped it would, you’re going to want to make sure you’re putting the right effort into marketing. Make sure your customers know that you offer this kind of foodservice, because regular shoppers might not be entirely aware.
Make your prepared food a featured item in your circulars, have your employees talk about it at the registers, offer free samples to people who are shopping. Don’t just offer prepared food and expert the dollars to start rolling in, you’re going to need to put some effort into effective marketing of this new part of your business.