H-E-B redefining what it means to be a food retailer
The supermarket chain is opening a barbecue drive-thru in San Antonio, Texas, for the first time ever in the summer. True Texas BBQ, H-E-B's barbecue restaurant, will offer breakfast and smoked meats to go to customers in their cars.
This in’t the first time H-E-B has toyed with restaurants to enhance the grocery shopping experience. The company recently opened a 24-hour Whataburger drive-thru at one of its newer locations.
Whether it's freshly fried tortilla chips or a made-to-order Thai curry, many grocers are turning portions of their stores into a foodie's delight -- and creating tough new competition for fast-food chains and traditional restaurants. H-E-B is following in the footsteps of Wegman's, Whole Foods Market, and other food retailers who are seeking to leverage the grocery store turned restaurant trend.
The trend is being driven by millennial customers who seek more prepared foods than other age groups and who are more cost-conscious. In fact, more than 40% of these Americans buy freshly prepared foods from grocery stores, and part of the reason why is because dinner at the grocery store is cheaper. A grocery store meal costs $4.22 on average, according to NPD, compared to $7.96 at a fast-casual restaurant, a 53% difference.
H-E-B has been one of the more innovative food retailers out there. It was one of the first to offer buy online/curbside pickup service. It also has a comprehensive website that ships food all over the United States.
H-E-B today operates more than 358 stores in over 150 communities across Texas.