The launch of new spaces for ready-to-eat food in the retail outlets is giving way to a new supermarket model. Chains such as Mercadona, Carrefour or Dia have signed up for the implementation in their network of ‘mercaurantes’, the term coined by Aecoc two years ago to describe this new hybrid between restaurant and grocery store.
The manager of the Retail Knowledge area of the aforementioned manufacturers association, Pablo de la Rica, points to the change experienced by urban households, 60% of which have two or fewer members. “We are moving towards a future in which cooking will be a hobby that will give way to more advanced options within the ready-to-eat sections,” says De la Rica.
The restaurant chains, which now have a new competitor in supermarkets, have taken note of this change, says the expert, and are already committed to adapting solutions that were oriented towards the hospitality industry to include them within large distribution. In this sense, the stoppage of activity in 2020 has helped them rethink their models before launching into the conquest of the shelves.
This 2021 started in January with the surprising presentation of Goikocina, the line with which the Goiko chain extended its brand experience in 120 El Corte Inglés outlets with bread, meat and sauces for its gourmet burgers. Its manager, Rodrigo Zapata , acknowledges that the closure caused by the pandemic led them to accelerate this project to “reach customers in a creative way.” Almost simultaneously, the pioneer company in vegetarian food Teresa Carles Healthy Foods announced the creation of a range for retail for its brand of Flexiterian restaurants Flax & Kale.
A list that keeps growing
The next to move was Restalia , owner of 100 Montaditos and The Good Burger, which in March created its own line for supermarkets with some references from its menus such as chicken wings or tears or hot dog bread. For now, the group intends to reach 1,000 points of sale in distribution giants such as Carrefour and Alcampo or Glovo’s Black Supermarket.
Almost with the summer campaign at its doorstep, the Smöoy frozen yogurt chain dared to take the step of presenting some formats adapted to the channel in supermarkets, such as its gluten-free pancake mix or tubs of its star product with different flavors. Its founder, Nuria Martínez Sirvent, explains that retail, in addition to sales, offers them complete feedback on the consumer experience.
The French company has already opened 25 Bam’Tuk stalls
However, one of the best examples in our country of where the future omnichannel coexistence in supermarkets is heading is at Bam’Tuk. It is the show cooking brand created by the founders of Asian restaurants Tuk Tuk Asian Street Food to be incorporated into the catalog of the sushi corner operator in retail KellyDeli.
After entering the chain’s shareholding in 2019, the French company has already opened 25 Bam’Tuk positions. The brand is present in 13 Carrefour centers in Spain, four in France and one in Belgium, as well as in chain supermarkets such as Iper in Italy, Asda in the United Kingdom or Albert Heijn in the Netherlands.
In this marriage of convenience, the hospitality operator brings knowledge and training in the preparation of recipes for their restaurants and a greater variety of catalog for KellyDeli . This in turn solves for Tuk Tuk the management of space assignment contracts, training for franchisees who operate the corners, greater capillarity for their expansion, as well as a new channel for the development of Bam’Tuk.
One of the pioneers in crossing the border of supermarkets was Shukran, the specialist is Lebanese gastronomy that was born as a chain in 2010 in Madrid with the prospect of growing as a franchise. Over the years, public demand led them to leave the horeca channel to become a specialist in spreadable products with references present in more than 2,000 points of sale of chains such as Carrefour, Alcampo, El Corte Inglés , Sabeco, Makro, Hiper Manacor or Supersol.