Fast Casual Saladworks opens in a Cincinnati Kroger

Diving letter:

  • Fast-casual salad franchise Saladworks opened its first Kroger location in Cincinnati on Friday, a company press release said. It’s across town from the grocer’s downtown headquarters.
  • The Kroger in-store restaurant is Saladworks’ seventh grocery store. The existing grocery restaurants extend across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York. More than 10 openings are planned by the first quarter of 2021.
  • The salad chain has opened 22 storess in more unconventional locations, including supermarkets and military bases, in the first half of 2020 despite the pandemic.

Dive Insight:

In the announcement Eric Lavinder, vice president When developing Saladworks, it was identified the growth potential of the grocery stores for the fast leisure chain. The Cincinnati location of the salad chain offers experiences similar to traditional restaurants, with its own options for salads, as well as wraps and grain bowls. At the in-store restaurants, customers can also order online to pick them up or deliver them via a third-party restaurant delivery app like DoorDash.

Saladworks documented impressive growth in the number of branches in the first half of 2020 despite the pandemic and opened 22 branches by mid-July. With only a third of the new locations being traditional restaurants, the chain has moved to unconventional locations, including college campuses, U.S. Air Force bases, grocery stores, and Ghost Kitchen Brands’ use of shared virtual kitchens.

As the battle for diner dollars mounts, grocers have taken several steps to get restaurant operations into their stores. In recent years, for example, Kroger has partnered with Rapid Fired Pizza to offer freshly made pizza in select locations in Ohio. In another Cincinnati Kroger in the city’s central business district, the grocer opened its first grocery store in a supermarket, offering five restaurants, a full-service bar, and seating for up to 200 shoppers.

The grocer has also started experimenting with ghost kitchens, a concept that’s popular with restaurants this year as the pandemic is hampering local eating. Kroger will be opening two ghost kitchens in its stores this month, one near Indianapolis and one in Metro Columbus, Ohio.

Numerous other major grocery brands, including Albertsons, Hy-Vee, and Whole Foods, have restaurants or grocery stores set up in select stores to attract the attention of new shoppers, especially younger viewers. These in-store eateries like Starbucks, Saladworks, and Wahlburgers in Hy-Vee are often fast-paced, casual eateries ideal for takeout and the informal atmosphere of a grocery store.

In-store restaurants, especially with their alcohol offerings, can lead to increased cross-pollination between grocery stores and restaurant visitors, serve as test grounds for innovations in culinary and branding strategies and promote customer loyalty. For example, save Mart, has put guest chefs in the spotlight in the store restaurant of his California flagship to give his offerings a higher culinary pedigree. But Opening an in-store restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic still carries risks if customers don’t feel safe lingering in grocery stores or if state and local restrictions on indoor eating are tightened You have in many places in recent weeks.

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