Inside HEB’s first food hall concept

Date : 26 August 2020

Stewart Samuel

Program Director - Canada

Texas-based HEB has opened a new supermarket featuring a food hall concept, Main Streat.

Dine in, takeout and delivery

The HEB store in Austin, Texas features a range of foodservice concepts as part of the Main Streat food hall and bar. It offers takeout, limited capacity dining on an outdoor patio and inside, and free delivery from Favor, the retailer’s on-demand delivery company. Although HEB has extensive foodservice experience, including opening the first drive-thru, grocery store-based restaurant concept in 2017, Main Streat significantly advances its progress in this area.

Source: HEB

Food concepts

The key concepts at Main Streat include:

Roots Chicken Shak by Chef Tiffany Derry - featuring duck fat fried chicken wings and chicken strips

Source: HEB

True Texas BBQ - serving Brisket, Ribs, Turkey, Sausage, BBQ Sandwiches, and sides like Mac & Cheese and Potato Salad

Source: HEB

Calle Taqueria - a street taco-inspired restaurant offering Tacos with handmade flour or corn tortillas, tortas, Quesadillas and bowls

Source: HEB

Yumai Japanese Grill – offering rice and noodle bowls

Source: HEB

The Meltery - a gourmet grilled cheese shop with a variety of sandwiches served on sourdough, Seedelicious, keto or Texas Toast

Source: HEB

Bar at Mueller - serving snacks and shared plates, along with a full menu of draft beers, wines, and cocktails

Source: HEB

COVID-19 headwinds

Developing foodservice solutions, including food-to-go, has been a priority for many food retailers globally. They have enabled retailers to better align with shoppers’ lifestyles, drive traffic and frequency, repurpose space and offer the potential for stronger margins. The store has increasingly become a social hub, with foodservice elements bringing the concept of experiential retail to life. Last year, Kroger opened its first food hall concept, On The Rhine Eatery, as part of its flagship store development in Cincinnati.

Fundamentals supporting development remain over the longer-term

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created several headwinds which could slow development and demand in the short-term. These include concerns around health and hygiene, customers minimising time in store, work from home mandates, budgetary pressures and the rediscovery of mail meal joy. However, the fundamentals supporting foodservice development within the food retail environment remain. What we expect to see is an adaptation of existing offers and innovative ideas to bring new concepts to the market, with a stronger focus on takeout and delivery in the short term.

Retail Analysis subscribers: for more global inspiration see our new report, COVID-19, how food retailers can continue to drive foodservice sales.

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