The neighborhood grocery store is transforming from a strictly retail establishment into one that offers a restaurant-style experience. According to USA Today, dining in stores is "one of the fastest-growing segments of the grocery industry." Since 2008, sales of "prepared foods" which include the likes of in-store and takeout dining are up by around 30 percent. Experts are now predicting that grocery-store dining "will take business away" from fast-casual restaurants.
There appear to be many advantages to grocery-store dining: At prices that are competitive with fast-casual restaurants, grocery stores can offer "sprawling menus" that restaurants often cannot.Diners are finding everything from beef chow mein to sandwiches to pasta ready-to-eat at their local market. Many also offer healthier options like salad and soup bars. Most of all, experts say diners really enjoy the convince factor of being able to do things like "eat dinner and grab a gallon of milk for breakfast before heading to their car." The trend has especially taken off at Whole Foods locations around the country. In New York City many stores offer various concepts rather than just one big cafeteria-style eatery, including ramen bars and beer gardens.