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From the insights of some of the industry’s top retail chefs to the ergonomics of store design to the offerings of some of the category’s leading suppliers, the second day of Progressive Grocer’s Grocerant Summit continued to draw a road map for success in retail foodservice.
This first-ever summit dedicated to grocery prepared foods continued Wednesday at the Hilton Chicago Northbrook Hotel, hosted by Stagnito Business Information, publisher of PG.
A panel of retail chefs agreed that corporate chefs bring a high level of culinary integrity to grocers. The panel included Jacki Novotny, corporate chef of Midwest grocery chain Heinen’s, Deanna Stephens, corporate chef of Southeastern Grocers, parent company of Bi-Lo and Winn Dixie, and Charlie Baggs, chief innovation chef of his own culinary innovations firm; the panel was moderated by Jeremy Johnson, education director for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association.
Echoing other summit speakers, Baggs said retailers need to focus on staff training to enhance the customer experience. Stephens said culinary professionals give consumers confidence, while Novotny said chefs elevate the level of trust they have in retail banners. Panelists asserted that retail foodservice needs the same level of detail and attention as restaurants.
Chef Steven Petusevsky, principal of Culinary Innovation for the Food Service Industry, spoke on “Forging Your Culinary Path.”
A good grocerant program can make all the difference for a supermarket, building loyalty and profit, Petusevsky said. He presented examples of visual merchandising – including vibrant produce, deli and bakery displays – that he asserted is critical to successful grocerants. Preferring the term “culinary foodservice” to “deli,” Petusevsky said grocers need to create a culinary culture for their banner.