• Albertsons opened a new $7.2 million experience-focused store in Boise, Idaho with two floors and an in-store bar called Broadway on the Rocks, according to the Idaho Statesman.
  • The new concept store will include culinary classes, events, a restaurant-style food court that holds up to 200 people, a concierge, and will serve wine and a selection of 32 craft beers, half of which are local to Idaho.
  • The new store will also sell house-made sausage, dry-aged beef, sustainable seafood, USDA certified and organic produce, specialty cheeses like house-made mozzarella, local and international items like gelato, specialty pastries, and bread made from scratch.

Consumers are demanding more innovation from grocers, and that includes creating an in-store experience. Albertsons has been remodeling stores across its chain with this thought in mind, and this new store ups the ante even further. The format should serve as a test lab for the chain, and could even become a model for Albertsons’ next generation of stores.

Millennials are often the focus of store updates, but this demographic isn’t the only ones these additions attract. Bars tend to bring in older customers, while restaurants and specialty foods are a great way to attract families and young people looking to experiment with unique flavors and high-quality products.

Adding an in-store bar has become a popular step for supermarkets looking to up the experience factor. From Whole Foods to Weis Markets to small establishments like DeCicco & Sons in New York, stores have quickly become a popular spot for customers to find beer from their favorite local breweries.

Last year, Weis Market opened an upscale pub in its Enola, Pennsylvania location. It features a rotating lineup of beer — some from local breweries. Whole Foods has added bars in its popular Chicago and New York stores in hopes that the combination of alcohol and food will attract more consumers, especially millennials.

The addition of beer, wine, and prepared food in proximity to grocery foods keeps customers inside the store for longer which increases the chances of them spending more money, Steven Thomas, chief marketing officer of Windsor Marketing Group, recently told Food Dive.

Unfortunately for Albertsons, the growth of craft beer sales has slowed to 1.6% last year and Americans are turning to harder alcohol like wine and spirits — specifically among those millennials Albertsons is trying to hard to attract.

Albertsons has made many changes in the last year. The company announced its potential merger with Rite Aid, its partnership with Instacart, a line of premium private label products and its purchase of Plated meal kits.

These business moves have been smartly focused on catering to consumers wherever and whenever they want to eat. The company’s Plated buy predated many tie-ups between grocers and meal kit companies. Now it’s focusing on in-store dining and drinking. If the Boise store does well, it makes sense for Albertsons to expand these offerings to stores across the country.

Source: Food Dive