September 15, 2017

She used to come to the supermarket for diapers and bananas. Now she comes for duck confit, live bands and a break from it all.

Welcome to the supermarket matinee, or better yet, the multiplex. Increasingly, anytime is show time at the local supermarket as more grocers dedicate space in their stores to food theater — dine-in settings that hold up as destination experiences, even for special events.

Since 2008, the “grocerant” market has grown 30%, according to The NPD Group, a research firm. This translated to 2.4 billion foodservice visits in 2015 (most recent year for figures), resulting in $10 billion of spending. And as the market grows, so do the offerings.

Dine-in features at the grocery have gained enough credibility that the industry’s leading trade groups are offering “grocerant” education. The trade magazine Progressive Grocer 2017 Grocerant Summit is scheduled for late September. And the Food Marketing Institute’s Energy & Store Development Conference, also to be held in late September, will feature a session called “Becoming a Grocerant: Winning the Customer Through Comprehensive Food Service Design.” 

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