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    Grocery Foodservice Strides: Kroger To Up Fort Wayne Ready-To-Eat; Skogen’s Opens Banquet Hall and Catering; D&W, Winn-Dixie, Rouses, and Rice Epicurean Boost F-S

    With summer in full swing, grocers are expanding their foodservice departments and operations to take advantage of consumers’ perceived vacations from cooking,

    By Bob Ingram

    With summer in full swing, grocers are expanding their foodservice departments and operations to take advantage of consumers’ perceived vacations from cooking, as well as what they hope is the beginning of the end of the economic downturn and a corresponding upturn in retail foodservice purchases.

    Here are a few examples of ramped-up retail foodservice:

    • The Kroger Co. is pursuing an estimated $100 million expansion and renovation project of its eponymous and Scott’s banners in its metro Fort Wayne market. Locations will be renovated, expanded or built new and will feature upgraded ready-to-eat food areas, according to local press reports.
    • Skogen’s Festival Foods has unveiled The Marq, a new banquet hall and catering business in Lawrence, Wis., that will serve customers in the northeast section of the state. Formerly the Apple Creek Inn, the facility underwent a $1.5 million renovation of the 550-seat facility.
    • Skogen’s has also teamed with the Green Bay Packers to operate two eateries, the Titletown and Boomerang Café, in the Lambeau Field Atrium. Mark Skogen, CEO and president of Festival Foods, said the operation of the eateries is a natural extension for the grocer, like The Marq.
    • Spartan Stores has opened its newest D&W Fresh Market in its Grand Rapids, Mich., hometown in the new and developing Knapps Crossing lifestyle center. Among the store’s key features are a full-service deli with a hand-carving station with pork, chicken, ham, roast beef, and turkey; a 12-foot case with hot hand-tossed pizza and fried, baked, or rotisserie chicken; a self-serve section with heat-and-eat Meals To Go; made-to-order sandwiches; a 14-foot soup-and-salad bar with 50 hot and cold choices; a full-service gelato station with 12 varieties provided daily by a local supplier; and fresh sushi made to order.
    • The new Winn-Dixie in Margate, Fla. is a 55,000-square-foot prototype providing a greater assortment of prepared food and including a carving station for prime rib, chicken, smoked turkey, and Boston butt; a global cuisine station featuring traditional Hispanic and Creole offerings; freshly prepared gourmet choices such as chicken cordon bleu, meatballs, meat loaf, and eggplant; a barbecue station with chicken, ribs, and pork selections, in addition to cold salads and assorted sauces; and an assortment of hot sandwiches, pressed on a panini grill.
    • Rouses Markets will house its 38th location in the former Sewell Cadillac Chevrolet building near New Orleans Superdome and will provide seating inside and out, as well as delivering to tailgaters on game days at the Dome. The 40,000-square-foot unit will feature chef-inspired prepared foods, fresh sushi, home-made Cajun specialties prepared in-store, a Boar’s Head deli, and a salad and olive bars.
    • Rice Epicurean Markets is undergoing a multi-million-dollar remodel of its West University/Medical Center store in Houston, which will include an enlargement and renovation of the Chef Prepared Foods section, which includes a wide variety of specialty and gourmet products.
    By Bob Ingram
    • About Bob Ingram

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