Over 20 years ago, Whole Foods invited Genji restaurant to put a sushi boutique restaurant in a supermarket. Little did they realize that this grocery store plus restaurant mashup would pioneer today’s “grocerant” phenomenon. At the time, Whole Foods discovered that they could enjoy higher margins from having this operation in their stores, and that customers would prefer visiting the store as a destination, ultimately spending more time and money in the store shopping. Today, Peace Dining Corporation, the parent company of Genji, operates over 275 sushi grocerants within Whole Foods and other grocery retailers in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
According to Josh Onishi, president and CEO of Peace Dining Corporation, “A valuable benefit for supermarkets with grocerants is how this burnishes their own brand. Having our stores as one of the first things customers see when they walk in reinforces a clean, fresh, high quality, sustainable, multi-cultural/global, fashion-forward brand image.”
For supermarkets exploring adding grocerants to their locations, Onishi recommends that they seek out grocerant concepts that will reinforce or even evolve their brands. “For example, if a retailer has plans or is already expanding its natural foods aisles, adding an upscale sushi boutique, like Genji, clearly enhances that environment and attracts the same types of customers you want in your stores.”
To keep ahead of the curve, Onishi says that Peace Dining is innovating new Asian fusion food concept boutiques designed to expand its footprint in the supermarket industry, including Genji Izakaya, Fireleaf and Wok Street.
“The next step in the grocerant phenomenon is putting several grocerants within the supermarket, like a mini food court. This creates a powerful magnet attracting shoppers to enjoy the experience of shopping at your store,” said Onishi.
About Peace Dining
Established in 1997, Peace Dining Corporation is dedicated to energizing the world with Japanese cuisine, innovation and sustainability. The company is committed to satisfying the growing demand for sushi and Japanese cuisine in the United States and abroad, using its innate Japanese background. Peace Dining Corporation products are made with high quality, nutritious ingredients. They are designed to delight Asian cuisine connoisseurs and beginners alike, and to contribute toward healthier food consumption habits on a global level. With over 1000 employees, PDC operates nearly 250 sushi boutiques in grocery stores and in upscale supermarkets (including Whole Foods), as well as from a central production kitchen, servicing wholesale corporate dining clients. The company is a pioneer in sustainability, innovation and the grocerant phenomenon.
Peace Dining Corporation