Due to the current cost of living crisis, the hospitality industry is seeing less and less people walk through their doors, as people simply don’t have the expendable income to visit restaurants and cafes.
As a result of this, many chefs and restaurant owners are beginning to look to alternative avenues and ‘grocerants’ are just one of these.
The ‘grocerant’ is an up-and-coming way to get involved in the local community, offering a place to eat, shop and socialise. The concept is for restaurants to sell the fresh ingredients they use in their kitchens so that customers can make their much-loved meals at home, or even have them in the form of a ready meal.
The growth of the ‘grocerant’
Chefs and restaurant owners are turning to ‘grocerants’ as a way of being inclusive to all customers, whether they have the budget to eat at the restaurant or would prefer to purchase the ingredients or ready meals for a lower price to enjoy at home. Offering customers the chance to cook restaurant-grade meals at home is also a great way to engage people who are interested in or have a passion for cooking. Not only this, but it also encourages people to cook healthier and fresher meals at home.
Moreover, chefs are turning to ‘grocerants’ as a large part of the concept is encouraging environmentally friendly products – boosting local awareness of the importance of food sustainability, while also supporting the small businesses that create these products. For example, chefs who have already ventured into this market have been known to sell locally sourced produce and handmade skincare products.
Who’s starting the trend?
Whilst the concept of a ‘grocerant’ is still fairly new, some hospitality professionals have jumped straight in and started pushing forward with plans to set up their own.
One such example is Luke French and Stacey Sherwood-French, owners of celebrated Sheffield restaurant Jöro, who have announced plans to open a retail and hospitality business where customers can buy high-quality food, drink and retail products. Offerings will include a selection of Yorkshire produce, natural wines, charcuterie, cheeses and much more – products typically used in their restaurants.
Not only will the new venture showcase the food and drink of Yorkshire, but it will also provide a social benefit to the local community. By night, it will sell wine and snacks as well as hosting flower-arranging classes, knife-sharpening workshops and events such as ‘meet the chef’ or ‘meet the producer’. They also plan to host events for their gin and wine brand and have wine and cheese nights.
And Luke and Stacey aren’t the only ones – in 2023 we have also heard that in London, Ombra founder Mitshel Ibrahim will open a bakery, ‘pastificio’ and deli under the arches next Regent’s canal. What’s more, the team behind Herne Hill’s Llewelyn’s will open a deli and shop next door and Dalston-based chef Oded Oren will launch a deli in Broadway Market, which will sell homemade houmous and restaurant meals to heat up at home.
Do you know any chefs or restaurant owners who are turning to grocerants? Or even thinking of setting up one yourself? We’d love to hear from you!