Restaurants Create 'Mini Markets'

Customers can buy grocery staples at wholesale costs, pantry items and prepared meals.

April 06, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Restaurants are innovating as their locations are closed and their revenue drops due to the coronavirus pandemic. One way they’re shifting in the current climate is by creating “makeshift food marts” or “mini grocery stores.” 

Some restaurants are selling everything from groceries to hand sanitizer and toilet paper, proving that c-stores may face new local competition, reports. Restaurants who are trying their hand at selling grocery staples and household goods range from large chains to small mom-and-pop kitchens.

Potbelly is introducing the Potbelly Pantry, where you can pick up pre-layered deli meats, cheeses and bread to make your own sandwiches at home. The chain is offering free same-day delivery and curbside pickup with orders, too.

In Florida’s North Palm Beach, Famer’s Table restaurants are selling vacuum-sealed meals and baker items. Nearby, Lilo’s Streetfood is now selling pantry items and other household staples.

In Los Angeles, the owners of Magaly’s Tamales found that customers were having a hard time finding staple foods like beans, rice and eggs. So, they worked with their suppliers to offer the ingredients in bulk and offer them at wholesale costs.

“We will continue to evolve the offerings here based on our customer requests and needs,” says Michelle Lefkowitz, owner of Salute Market in Palm Beach, Florida. She added that the market may even be adding items like bleach, toilet paper and gloves this week “because our customers asked.”