Cincinnati Business Courier: Walk into the deli section of a Kroger store and you’d be excused if you thought you stumbled into a restaurant. Chicken, sushi and barbecue are ready to take home. Other dishes, like ranch tacos and Parmesan-crusted pork chops, can be assembled in less than five minutes and popped into the oven. Indeed, your neighborhood Kroger is inching closer to becoming a carryout restaurant. And that business segment is growing in importance amid the pandemic.
“It’s a real competitive edge for Kroger,” said Burt Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a New York-based retail and consumer goods consulting firm. “And it’s growing dramatically. Kroger stands out on its own. It’s one area where they don’t get nearly sufficient credit.”
Flickinger’s firm found that before the pandemic people ate an average of 10 out of 21 meals a week at home. After the pandemic struck, that number soared to 17 ... “That’s not going away,” Flickinger said. “People have returned to the enjoyment of eating together at home.”