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Concierge Service, Everywhere

Most travelers love having a concierge on hand at their hotel, but what about concierge-style service for a restaurant or a supermarket? At one of Chicago’s newest steakhouses, for example, diners are greeted by a trained concierge who’s ready to call a cab, book Bulls tickets or just help them find their way around the 15,000-square-foot Swift & Son’s space, according to Crain’s Chicago Business

While this level of restaurant service may not yet be widespread, some industry observers are seeing a greater need for supermarket concierge service, especially when it comes to capturing Millennial loyalty. An October 2015 research report, published by the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) and the Hartman Group, says Millennials as a group need a high level of service and instruction at the grocery mainly because they have limited cooking experience. The report also describes this group as having “a low tolerance for empty claims. Authenticity and transparency are paramount when trying to connect with them. While Millennials are wanting more face-to-face relationships, it is the digital literacy of this generation that is driving all things mobile, social, and digital. They aren’t recognizing grocers’ fresh prepared foods as even playing in this realm–which opens a tremendous opportunity for development in this white space.”

What would supermarket concierge service look like? Basically, it means having more trained chefs and in-the-trenches staff on hand to demonstrate usage ideas and best practices in key parts of the store, especially in prepared food areas. Staff should be trained to meet the particular demands of Millennials, who rarely shop with meal plans or lists, need to see a lot of fresh foods, and want to mix and match prepared food options to fit any craving or whim.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • More staff hired and trained for in-store demos on easy meal prep
  • Signage directing shoppers to particular cravings such as “comfort,” “street food-inspired” or “mini-indulgences”
  • Prepared foods that convey freshness with labels like “just-baked” or “fresh from the grill” 
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