Why Grocery Stores Will Threaten Restaurants
I'll still want sushi from a Japanese restaurant, and mountain ranges of calories at The Cheesecake Factory.
Not to mention, a slew of NYC-supermarkets aren't the most welcoming places. Sure, Fairway looks less detrimental to one's health than the average Gristede's or Food Emporium, but the urban stores have nothing on Wegman's or Harris Teeter.
Old news. I don't think any one segment has anything to worry about. For one thing, the whole pie has gotten larger. People eat out much more often than they did when I was growing up.
Second, my market has had groceries providing these services for years and yet our area is opening up resturaurants by the score. My usual grocery (not Whole paychex, btw) has custom-made sandwiches with Boar's Head deli, sushi, prepared dinners and sides, a soup and salad bar, freshly made pizza, and rotisserie chicken, fried chicken, and ribs. The quality varies and,in most cases, doesn't come close to that of my favorite local restaurants. if I want a sit-down meal where someone else is doing all the work, I'm going to a restaurant. If I want one pre-made component to add to the meal I'm already fixing, I may pick it up at the market.
It's one more option and so far, there's more than enough business for everyone.
On a related note, we've been going to the same beach resort town for about 15 years. The Wawa (tiny deli/grocery store for those not from the area) has really changed in that time. In the beginning they sold your basic cereal, breads, cookies, packaged hot dogs, and a small selection of fruits and veggies. The deli sold sandwiches as well as sliced meats and cheeses. About 5 years ago they got rid of the veggies and substituted prepared salads. This year they got rid of the bread other than packaged sliced bread (i.e. no decent rolls or buns) and got rid of the sliced deli meats-- they only sell pre-made sandwiches now. Of course this is a vacation town, but the trend certainly seems to be stuff you eat right away rather than any attempt to sell something for home preparation. And the strange thing is that this is a resort town where the vast majority of people are renting homes which have fully equipped kitchens; it's not a place where people are in motel rooms.
all i know,
is that this was a fundamental goal of whole foods.
they sell tons of preprepared foods.
none of the stuff they sell compares in quality with most of the restaurants in the shopping mall in which they are located.
their ratios of price/quality and price:quantity are not that great, but people love them because it is QUICK to grab something edible and bolt.
the restaurants, on the other hand, seem to be doing fine also.
the only conclusion that seems to make sense to me is that the "natural customer" of whole food preprepared food is a different person from the "natural customer" of any of the restaurants.