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Dec 3, 2010

Grocer-Eateries (a.k.a. Grocer Markets)


Those quaint little corner niche-grocer markets are a growing trend.  More and more these upscale, yet modest-sized markets...
are offering gourmet prepared food.  Most also have a small, bistro style seating area.  And the food doesn’t necessarily have to be upscale or gourmet.


There are a handful that offers a limited menu of comfort foods like hearty soups and sandwiches with a twist.  These niche grocers are as varied as standard concepts.  There are French bistro markets, Italian deli markets, eclectic ethnic markets…the list goes on.

What they offer is a simple menu, a place to pick up a few special grocery items, a casual, yet comfortable atmosphere to visit with friends or co-workers, and a modest price.  They usually do not have servers and you will wait in line to order and pick up your fare.  Some do have food runners and bus boys, most do not.

The niche grocer, grab-a-bite, concept is spreading throughout downtown's everywhere.  They are economical to build, easy to staff, and for the most part seem profitable.  Most offer the coffee-house experience; taking advantage of the fledging Starbucks decline.

The retail portion of the business is as profitable as the prepared foods.  Most items offered are high-end and come at a premium price; this more than makes up for the floor space they occupy.  On average most consumers who idle in for lunch or coffee also leave with a retail purchase in hand.

Not a bad concept when you think about it.  Cracker Barrel, although a totally different animal, has made more profit from its retail than dining for years.

A few markets to see:

Oakville Grocery Company (Scottsdale)

Terragusto Café (Chicago)

Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto (Manhattan)

Chloe’s Corner (Scottsdale)

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