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Will Ghost Kitchens Replace Grocery Store Self-Serve?

Kitchen inside of a grocery store.

Will Ghost Kitchens Replace the Grocery Industry’s Self-Serve Model?


As part of their grab-and-go offerings, many grocery stores offer shoppers hot food counters and salad bars. Yet with continuously evolving consumer needs and preferences, this might be a thing of the past.

Of course, people still want the convenience of prepared food, but self-serve models may no longer be the preferred choice for consumers. So, what’s next? Some signs point to ghost kitchens. The grocery store design consultants at King Retail Solutions are here to offer helpful insight into this trend.

What Is a Ghost Kitchen?

A ghost kitchen is essentially a facility where food is prepped and cooked for paying customers (not unlike a restaurant kitchen). Unlike restaurants, food carts, and drive-thrus, most ghost kitchens don’t have a dining area, takeout window, or storefront. Customers never see the inside because they only offer delivered food.

Why Some Supermarkets Are Implementing Ghost Kitchens

Since a ghost kitchen isn’t supposed to be seen by customers, it could theoretically go anywhere, including inside a supermarket. As grocery store layouts adjust to the changing demands (and appetites) of shoppers, many owners are considering implementing on-premise ghost kitchens. What’s in it for them? There are a few reasons why grocers are embracing the trend.

-Supermarket owners can charge rent for the space used by restaurants.

-Store owners can continue profiting off of hot food sales, even if the kitchen is branded as something else.

Deli counter inside of grocery store.

-Kitchens are inclined to buy ingredients and supplies from the grocery store.

It’s not just the grocery stores that profit, either. Building ghost kitchens inside grocery stores is a win-win, providing ample benefits to restaurant owners.

-By cooking food in densely populated markets, cafes are likely to see a spike in delivery orders.

-Forgoing a storefront and dining room means eateries can save money on renting or buying real estate in a popular area.

-Catering to the demands of modern consumers and saving money on real estate puts restaurants in a good position to expand.

While it’s tough to predict exactly where food trends are going, ghost kitchens seem to be a safe bet for grocers and restaurants, especially with flexible agreements.

What This Means for Grocery Store Design

Pivoting to a ghost kitchen model might seem simple enough—people were already cooking back there, after all. However, successfully implementing the change will require some critical thinking and the careful planning of the grocery store’s layout and design.

Textbook Ghost Kitchen

You can choose to take a straightforward approach in which customers order food from the ghost kitchen just like they would any other restaurant. In that case, you’d rely on meal delivery apps or an internal team to get the food to people’s doorsteps.

Integrated Approach

Alternatively, you could integrate the service by way of a one-stop-shop model. Whether on their smartphones or through a strategically placed kiosk, shoppers can order food from the ghost kitchen and bring their takeout home. For this model, you’d need to have some sort of pickup window.

In any case, the concept should be thoroughly fleshed out to ensure it’ll be profitable for all parties involved. KRS has a keen understanding of the continuously blurring lines between grocery and prepared food services, and we can help you connect the dots.

KRS: Your Resource for Grocery Store Design, Layout, and Planning Services

Overhauling your store (or even a portion of your store) calls for custom retail interior design. The team at KRS can help your supermarket create a layout that works for the unique needs of your business, as well as nearby consumers and any restaurants involved. From design and planning to fabrication, installation, and retail decor, we do it all.

Contact us at King Retail Solutions to learn more about what we can do for your supermarket or restaurant.

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4 Purchasing Behaviors Retailers Must Adapt to in 2021

Woman Stressed While Grocery Shopping

4 Purchasing Behaviors Retailers Must Adapt to in 2021


Consumer purchasing patterns continue to evolve and retailers must be poised to pivot and meet the needs of their clientele. What’s trending now? Purchasing patterns show a need for convenience, an uptick in impulse buying, an increased appetite for comfort food, and a desire for safety.

Purchasing Patterns to Look Out for in 2021

Here’s what c-store and supermarket owners should know about these changes and what adjustments they can make to accommodate shoppers’ wants and needs.

Coveted Convenience

In order to feel safe when buying food and other necessities, consumers need convenience. They don’t want to spend a lot of time inside stores—that is, if they enter at all—and are seeking alternative ways to acquire their meals and groceries.

Impulse Buying

Though a lot of shoppers want to get in and get out as quickly as possible, heightened anxiety might also make them more prone to impulse buying. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that making purchases can actually alleviate feelings of sadness. In today’s world, a majority of “retail therapy” occurs online, but stressed consumers also make impulse purchases in person, often at grocery stores and c-stores.

An Appetite for Comfort Food

It’s called “comfort food” for a reason. Many eateries closed in 2020, and a call for social distancing led more people to cook meals at home. However, widespread feelings of uncertainty may have increased people’s appetites for warm, tasty, prepared food.

A Desire for Safety

The word most often used to describe the coronavirus pandemic is “uncertainty.” For many, the future of work, school, and housing are ambiguous. Many people have lingering anxiety and depression regarding social gathering restrictions and, of course, the fear of contracting the virus.

All this uneasiness has contributed to a few notable changes in consumer behaviors over the past year. After all, what we buy, save, eat, and stash away is closely related to our current emotional state and feelings about the future.

Writing for Psychology Today, Utpal Dholakia Ph.D. explains, “When we are anxious, we naturally seek comfort and control over the situation.” The coronavirus has not only spiked stress levels but also presented consumers with very real health dangers. Understandably, this combination has led to an increased desire for safety at all times, including when shopping for essentials.

Whole Foods Personal Care Aisle
Address Consumer Needs With Your Retail Store’s Layout Design

So, what can store owners do to make shoppers feel safer and more comfortable while taking into account their increased yearnings for convenience and comfort food? Aside from enhanced food offerings, it comes down to providing consumers with more ways to shop and adjusting store layouts to optimize these features. 

More Ways to Shop

Modern retail space planning should allow for multiple ways to buy food. This includes traditional shopping and buying goods inside a store, as well as curbside pickup and delivery options.

Efficient In-Store Experiences

Offering consumers more ways to shop addresses the desire for both safety and convenience. Store owners can take this a step further by creating a more efficient in-store experience.

This might involve optimizing traffic flow, implementing easy-access areas with essentials, and honing in on self-checkout options. The right retail decor and signage can guide these features and help shoppers feel more comfortable in the store.

C-Stores and Grocery Stores Turn to KRS for Innovative Solutions

At KRS, we’re seasoned in planning and implementing innovative solutions for supermarkets and convenience stores. Not only that, but we have substantial experience blurring the lines between the two while incorporating other aspects, like drive-thrus, outdoor eating areas, and ready-to-bake food sections. Our team knows the ins and outs of retail decor too. From design to fabrication and installation, we do it all.

Get in touch with us at KRS to find out how we can optimize your supermarket or c-store design.

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5 Ways C-Store Design is Meeting the Needs of Grocery Shoppers

Convenience store exterior view

5 Ways C-Store Design is Meeting the Needs of Grocery Shoppers


While the coronavirus pandemic has changed some aspects of retailing, grocery access remains essential. As shoppers try to limit the time they spend in crowded public spaces, they’ve turned to convenience stores to fill some of their needs.

With this in mind, c-store owners are rethinking their layouts and offerings to align with consumers’ changing behaviors and desires. Read on for a breakdown of the best convenience store design strategies for competing in an ever-evolving market.

Convenience Store Design Trends for 2021 and Beyond

King Retail Solutions specializes in optimized convenience store layouts, fixtures, and concepts that combine the best of both grocery and c-store environments. Some of the most effective retail trends in c-store design include touchless shopping, curbside pickup, drive-thrus, elevated food offerings, and delivery services. Here’s what you should know about adopting these ideas.

Touchless Shopping

Contactless services were a cornerstone of retailing in 2020. Touchless shopping experiences are a big part of this trend, and modern convenience store design is smart to embrace it. Adopting the strategy might involve motion-activated entrances, foot pulls for refrigerator doors, and contactless payment options, all of which KRS can help you design.

Curbside Pickup

C-stores have always filled in the gaps for grocery store offerings. However, as we mentioned, the current market has supermarkets competing with c-stores more than ever before.

In addition, many convenience stores are now offering curbside pickup to accommodate the needs of shoppers who may wish to remain outside. Whether for safety or convenience, consumers appreciate the option to purchase items online and pick them up without getting out of their cars.

Drive-Thru Services

Drive-thrus accounted for a striking 42% of all restaurant visits in 2020. Realizing drive-up windows don’t have to be limited to fast food and pharmacy services, some c-stores are implementing the concept into their layouts.

Your convenient store drive-thru can include pickup services for online orders. Customers can also pull up and request grab-and-go items without ordering ahead. KRS is seasoned in convenience store design, and we can help you strategize and create a drive-thru to meet the needs of shoppers and encourage repeat visits.

Elevated Food Offerings

Convenience store specialty food area

While some restaurants closed in 2020, the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic heightened the desire for comfort food. People cooked more at home, but it didn’t erase the need for premade hot meals.

Aside from convenience and safety, this might have something to do with the uptick in drive-thru visits. C-stores have elevated their hot food offerings to meet increased demands for ready-made or ready-to-cook meals.

KRS has experience designing compelling convenience stores, supermarkets, and restaurants. Additionally, we’re well-versed in blurring the lines between these categories. Our award-winning c-store concepts include optimized hot food sections, refrigerated offerings with meal kits and ready-to-bake foods, and connected eateries for a one-stop-shop experience.

Delivery

In 2021, consumers want convenience. Though curbside pickup and drive-thrus help meet this need, what’s more convenient than having an order delivered right to your door? 

In line with grocery stores and fast-food chains, many c-stores are introducing delivery services. Partnering with apps like GrubHub and UberEats is a great way to evolve with the changing market. KRS can help you design a store that accommodates both shoppers and delivery drivers for safe, convenient, and efficient fulfillment.

Optimized C-Store Design from King Retail Solutions

King Retail Solutions is proud to offer innovative C-store solutions that account for the continuously changing real-world needs of shoppers. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can help you meet your short- and long-term goals while adhering to your budget and driving sales.

Unlike many other convenience store design companies, we can assist with every step of your project. From conceptualization and design to manufacturing and installation, our services cover all components of your reimagined interior and exterior layout.

Contact KRS today to find out how we can optimize your c-store design.

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7 Supermarket Design Ideas That Connect With Customers

Click and collect store entryway.

7 Supermarket Design Ideas That Connect With Customers


For many, 2020 was a year of professional and personal challenges. Shoppers adjusted their behaviors to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and business owners found safer ways to get their products into shoppers’ hands. These shifts were particularly apparent in supermarkets.

Needless to say, the pandemic has changed the way people shop for and retrieve food and other staples. Grocery access is essential, and it’s up to supermarket owners to make the shopping experience comfortable, safe, efficient, and convenient.

Grocery Store Layout Strategies

Navigating the changes in consumer behaviors while keeping shoppers happy and protecting your bottom line requires critical thinking and strategic planning

So, what are the best ways to create an adaptable grocery shopping experience for a supermarket? In 2021, you can expect to see enhanced entrances, modular layouts, easy access to essentials, optimized traffic flow, efficient checkout, inviting outdoor spaces, and order pickup stations. These grocery store design ideas can help you connect with your customers’ current needs and drive sales. Here’s what you should know.

Enhanced Entrances

One important feature of today’s thriving supermarkets is an entrance designed to orient customers. Your grocery store already has entrances and exits. However, enhancing these spaces with a few key details can minimize the stress some shoppers might feel about venturing out to buy food.

This may include outdoor line markers indicating a safe distance and friendly signs noting any updated rules or what to expect upon entering. You might consider creating an open, decluttered layout with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for shopping carts. It can also help to have a designated greeter at the entrance to welcome guests and answer any questions they may have.

Modular Grocery Store Layout

If there’s one concept retail owners have embraced over the last year, it’s adaptability. One way to ensure you can adjust to the evolving needs of your customers is with a modular layout.

Consider switching out permanent fixtures with adjustable aisles, portable kiosks, and moveable shopping stations. KRS is seasoned in flexible store designs, and we can help you conceptualize a layout to meet your ongoing needs.

Easy-Access Essentials

In response to shoppers’ increasing desire to get in and get out as quickly as possible, many supermarkets are making essentials more accessible. In some cases, grocery stores are placing essential items on their end caps to create a more efficient shopping experience.

Additionally, this strategy might include a section modeled after a convenience store with grab-and-go items and fast checkout. KRS specializes in supermarkets and convenience stores, and we can help you create a layout that blends the concepts together.

Optimized Traffic Flow

Optimizing the flow of traffic is a vital component of making customers feel safe and comfortable. Aside from signs and markers, retailers are rethinking the layout of their stores to ensure social distancing and encourage an efficient flow.

The idea is to minimize shopper frustrations and maximize sales by allowing them to access everything they need. On the other hand, the layout should also feel natural and unforced. KRS can help you design a layout for a traffic pattern that makes the most sense for your store.

Efficient Customer-Led Checkout

Self-checkout isn’t a new concept, but it’s become a critical piece of meeting consumers’ needs. As more shoppers opt for self-checkout at supermarkets, store owners are finding innovative ways to make it faster and safer.

Creating self-service checkout stations meets your shoppers’ needs, but the benefits don’t end there. Since several registers can typically be monitored by one staff member, you might be able to reduce labor costs or reassign checkout staff to other high-need tasks like greeting or cleaning.

Retail store open-air exterior

Inviting Outdoor Space

Some consumers feel it’s safer to shop in open-air environments like farmers markets than grocery stores. As a result, many supermarkets are embracing new concepts with outdoor spaces.

These innovative layouts include fully outdoor, tented, or partially open areas where shoppers can browse or pick up grocery items. Beyond that, some are creating outdoor eating spaces where people can enjoy a quick bite in the fresh air.

Convenient Curbside Pickup

Though many of these design ideas encourage customers to enter your store, the reality is some people prefer staying outside. Whether for safety reasons, convenience, or both, you should consider including a designated pickup station for online orders in your grocery store layout design.

King Retail Solutions: Your Resource for Grocery Store Design

We offer innovative solutions that take into account the real-world needs of shoppers and retail owners. With thousands of store designs in our growing portfolio, we have the knowledge and experience to help you meet your goals while staying within your budget.

Unlike other supermarket design companies, KRS takes care of all aspects of your project under one roof. From concept, site survey, and design to strategy, fabrication, and installation, we can assist with every step of your interior and exterior grocery store layout.

King Retail Solutions creates compelling retail spaces and award-winning supermarket layouts that build on a store’s existing strengths while taking into account the needs of its customers to encourage repeat visits. We believe every surface and corner of your store has value, and we’re here to optimize every last inch. Our comprehensive services and capabilities can save you time and money in a continuously evolving, competitive market.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your brand evolve.

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The Importance of Site Surveys in Retail Space Planning

Interior layout of a grocery store.

The Importance of Site Surveys in Retail Space Planning


Every inch of retail space has value. Adjusting and optimizing a current space can make all the difference in a competitive and ever-changing market. Ascertaining what interior and exterior space design changes need to be made starts with one crucial first step: a retail site survey. How you approach this survey impacts the effectiveness of your project and, ultimately, your store’s success.

What is a Retail Site Survey & Why is it Important?

A retail site survey notes, maps, and measures all existing physical elements inside and outside of a store, including the architecture and infrastructure. It’s usually performed as a walk-through, when surveyors take photos and record details like doors, walls, shelving, signage, displays, kiosks, and brand colors. They’ll also locate and review blueprints of the structure, noting any changes since the original build.

Collecting data is the crucial first step of a retailer’s infrastructure design project. This information guides store owners, procurement managers, and construction teams as they make critical choices about changes to interior and exterior spaces. 

Some businesses attempt to conduct their own in-house site surveys, which can be daunting, especially for chains with multiple locations. In addition, there’s much more room for error. Tape measures and photos can never capture the intricate details of a retail space. Invariably a measurement won’t get captured, necessitating yet another survey.
A 3D scan stores all measurements, making it possible for retailers to access them at any time. In fact, the surveys can be accessed via any smartphone, tablet, or VR headset. This is why more and more retailers are taking a creative and contemporary approach and hiring enterprising design companies to develop virtual, visual, 3D site surveys.

How a 3D Retail Site Survey Benefits Your Business
Virtual 3D view of a retail store.

A 3D site survey delivers the same information as a traditional site survey, including measurements and floor plans, but takes the viewer on a virtual walk-through of the retail environment. This interactive experience shows all angles of the store and allows the user to move about freely, zoom in or out, and explore all corners of the space.

This deep digital dive benefits store owners, procurement managers, construction crews, and adjacent teams in myriad ways.

Saves on resources. Hiring a company to perform a 3D site survey produces better results than trying to manage this step in-house. Relying on internal employees to procure equipment or undergo training for even a basic site survey costs companies time and money. 

Promotes collaboration. Digitized 3D site surveys are simple to use, for everyone involved in the project. The visual elements can be easily viewed and shared by stakeholders. Designers and installers can see what their worksite looks like, measure difficult to reach areas, and organize site documents in a collaborative space, facilitating proactive communication.

Informs all departments. From risk management and loss prevention teams to marketing and merchant teams, the site survey allows everyone to see exactly what a store looks like. Departments can utilize the information to inform current and future strategies.    

Ensures brand consistency. For retailers who manage chains or are looking to expand, hiring a company to handle the entire project from start to finish ensures that design elements are realistic, repeatable, and buildable across multiple locations.

There’s less confusion when the project moves out of one phase and into another, such as from the team who designs the signage to the team who builds it. Choosing a single comprehensive company often proves more affordable and easier to manage than hiring multiple contractors. 

3D Site Surveys and Environmental Design Solutions

Begin your infrastructure design project with a detailed 3D retail site survey from King Retail Solutions. We’ll handle all the subsequent steps of your project as well, including design, fabrication, and installation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

Let’s talk about a site survey for your business. Fill out the form to get started.

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How is Technology Affecting Store Design in 2021?

Smiling man using a mobile phone.

How is Technology Affecting Store Design in 2021?


Technology is constantly changing the way people shop, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These shifts in consumer behavior are having a profound effect on grocery and c-stores. 

Adaptable retailers stand to reap long-term benefits. Layout and design changes can make a significant impact on shopping behavior and your store’s bottom line. These adjustments don’t have to be dramatic to be effective. Learn how retailers can implement tech-informed design changes to help their stores thrive in 2021 and beyond.

E-Commerce Brings Focus to Store Exteriors

Due to the growth of e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic, a good first step is to rethink the areas outside your store. Look to carve out ample space for motorists and pedestrians to pick up online orders. This could mean blocking out additional room for drivers to retrieve their orders and creating a designated section for people to queue up on foot. 

What’s more, technology now allows for even more creativity in the BOPIS realm. Retailers can build high-tech, high-volume pickup stations near their storefronts. These include staging facilities, walls of lockers, order retrieval towers that function like vending machines, and drive-throughs. 

In fact, pandemic-fueled online shopping is turning the drive-through window into a design staple. Retailers can add these low-contact pickup points to fulfill almost any kind of online order. A pharmacy window might multitask fulfilling BOPIS grocery and sundry orders. Grocers may even consider building an additional window to meet this increase in atypical drive-through demand. 

Don’t forget that your storefront encourages people to come inside to shop, and that still matters. Exterior design elements like lighting, graphics, visual merchandising, and custom displays around the exterior and at the entrance enhance curb appeal and can help inform shoppers of sales and more, encouraging in-store shopping.

Signage, both exterior and interior, plays a key role in helping pandemic shoppers navigate your retail space and feel safe as they do so. Customer path revisions may need to start outside the store, and lead the way inside.

How Tech Trends Influence Retail Interiors 
A drone used for retail design.

Interior design in 2021 is all about enhancing the “click and mortar” experience for your customers. E-commerce has become the norm and shoppers demand its convenience even in retail settings. Here are some ways you can use tech-informed design to meet these shifting consumer needs.

Apps

Retailers like Walmart use store decor to reinforce their apps. Signage incorporates the app’s logo, typeface, and colors. Store section signs reflect the simple navigation cues seen on a mobile device. All of this reminds shoppers to download and utilize the retailer’s app.

Bots and Drones

Drones fly overhead and assess inventory. Chatbots direct in-store shoppers to find desired items. Data from these devices can be analyzed to reveal what items consumers want most, in a process known as machine learning. Retailers can use this information to display those high-demand products in parts of their stores where they gain more visibility and thus increase sales. 

Shelving

Sensors and RFID tags can detect when shoppers pick up an item off a store shelf. This helps retailers track inventory and keep high-demand products in stock. Those same shelves might also feature electronic LED displays along their edges, scrolling user reviews and other product information that influences shopping decisions. Grocery and c-store retailers can add these features to existing store shelves, bumping up the value of a potentially overlooked space.

How Important is Contactless Checkout at Grocery and C-Stores?

Due to the pandemic, 87% of shoppers prefer stores with contactless or self-checkout options. Retailers can adapt store layouts to meet these demands. For instance, removing checkout lines that require cashiers and baggers and replacing them with self-checkout stations helps your store appeal to customers wary about the safety of face-to-face interactions. Customer path adjustments help them find their way to these new options while remaining socially distanced.

Some stores are going one step further and offering mobile self-checkout, so shoppers can pay using their phone as they leave the store. Walmart and Target employ sales staff to manage sales on the floor. Employees carry handheld scanners so shoppers can checkout wherever and whenever they’re ready. 

These changes are leading to store designs with less emphasis on traditional checkout, instead shifting toward digital payments. An experienced environmental design firm can help you seamlessly implement interior and exterior design solutions that support tech-influenced shopping behaviors. 

King Retail Solutions Provides Tech-Informed Retail Design

Look to King Retail Solutions to handle every step of your project. From design to fabrication to installation, we are your full-service retail interior and exterior experts. Check out our work and contact us to see how we can help your store adapt to meet new buying behaviors.

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Is Your Store Ready for the Next COVID-19 Shopping Surge?

Reports from public health officials have estimated that the spread of coronavirus could continue for up to two years. They also predict that COVID-19 shopping surges won’t abate in the near future. 

In order to best serve their customers during these challenging times, stores have pivoted the ways they do business as well as adapted store layouts, the checkout experience, and more.

Meeting your customers’ needs means knowing their concerns and expectations. Download our infographic to get the details you need to know.

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Will 2021 Bring More Changes to In-Store Grocery Shopping?

Interior Design Of Grocery Store

With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, what should grocery store owners expect in 2021?

COVID-19 restrictions will continue, so it’s important to keep up-to-date on consumer wants and needs in order to stay profitable when it comes to in-store shopping.

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The Line Between C-Stores & Grocery Stores Continues to Blur

Interior design of retail store

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? It is in the grocery and c-store industries. As grocery strives for convenience and convenience stores strive to meet consumer demands for both fresh and prepared food, the line between them has blurred.

Now is the time for each industry to look to the other for inspiration, seeking to mimic and maximize the most successful services. This is what you need to know.

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Did You Know Grocery Store Customers Prefer Shopping In-Store?

Grocery Store Retail Design

Though increases in online shopping continue to make news, grocery shoppers still prefer to shop in-store. In order to improve customer experience and increase profitability, grocery retailers need to know more about their customers’ wants, needs, and preferences.

Get the answers to five frequently asked questions in order to better serve your customers and your bottom line. Get the details!

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