Switching to Grocery Sales is Helping US Restaurants

Restaurants are switching to selling food items to the public to make a profit.
Restaurants are switching to selling food items to the public to make a profit.

April 13, 2020 — As restaurants across the US have been forced to close their premises to the pubic, many are facing a similar question — what do we do now? There are concerns about how rent and other bills are going to be paid, and how staff will continue to be utilized and supported during the downturn. Some restaurants are getting creative, and adding the sale of grocery-type items to their repertoire.

For example, a Michigan restaurant known as the Gandy Dancer is selling milk, bread, paper towels and toilet paper alongside their regular menu items. The restaurant states that the sales from these items are helping to provide extra income during the tumultuous time. Another example is Panera, which is now selling fresh produce, milk and eggs through its new grocery platform, Panera Grocery. Both of these examples illustrate how food businesses are having to make drastic changes and get creative to bring in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Depending on the restaurant, the food items that customers can order varies greatly. However, certain food items seem to be common such as bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and fresh fruits and vegetables. There is also a bit of variety when it comes to how the groceries can be received by customers. Some restaurants are conducting home deliveries, while others are doing pick-up only. What is remarkable about this switch, is that in many cases restaurants are selling food items at very competitive prices. This is because restaurants buy certain food items in bulk so they are able to sell them at a lower cost.

This switch to selling food items also helps to tackle one of the bigger issues facing the food industry during the pandemic — food waste. Tonnes of food is going to waste as restaurants remain closed and food reaches its expiry date. By selling bulk food items to the public, the food is no longer being wasted and the restaurant can reclaim some of its monetary losses.

It remains to be seen how long some restaurants will continue to provide this service, and how long the demand will last. However, it appears that as long as there is a profit to be made and bulk food items to sell, some restaurant chains will continue to provide the service.