Large grocery store chains have become an ever-growing norm in our global economy. Smaller grocery stores face significant challenges as they compete with both supermarkets and area restaurants.
However, Grasch Foods, a small, community-based grocery store chain, has been the exception.
“It is very tough to compete on grocery prices with large chain stores,” said Bob Grasch, co-owner of Grasch Foods. “To set ourselves apart from those stores, we decided we need to focus on areas like the deli and prepared foods.”
This decision was pioneered at the family owned grocery store by Bob Grasch’s father in the late 1970s. By the 80s, he purchased a second-hand Alto-Shaam oven and began preparing deli food in house. The products soared in popularity, and now the store can sell up to $35,000 worth of food in a single day.
”(The deli) is one of the most profitable departments in our store,” said Grasch. “It started out slow in the beginning, but as our customers got used to seeing the wonderful items we prepared in there, we sold more and more product.”
The store continues its legacy by relying on Alto-Shaam ovens for its cooking needs. Grasch believes that Alto-Shaam has served his family business well with unmatched quality. The store currently uses an Alto-Shaam Combitherm® oven to cook its unique variety of food. The combi oven cooks food quicker without losing any of the quality in the process. The combination convection-steamer oven serves as multiple pieces of kitchen equipment in one footprint, allowing grocery stores to expand their deli offerings.
Grasch Foods serves traditional deli menu items, but also takes its menu to the next level by offering veal, pork, lamb, fresh fish, stews, and even shrimp. Before adding the combi oven to its kitchen, it used to take the store three to four hours to cook 1,200-2,000 shrimp in a conventional oven. Now, employees are able to cook the shrimp in less than one and a half hours.
“Everything comes out faster, done properly, and nothing dries out,” said Susan Napieralski, an employee of the store.
Not only does Grasch Foods compete with large supermarkets, the grocery store also competes with restaurants in the area. Grasch Foods’ customers, who are primarily well-educated and live in upper class areas, enjoy dining out at area restaurants. But still Grasch Foods’ meets their expectations for quality, take-home meals.
“You need the proper equipment to prepare the food to compete with the restaurants,” Grasch said. “It has made us unique in the market place because we offer a variety of hot entrees and hot foods.”
By continuing to use the Combitherm, the Grasch’s family carries on their legacy while providing high quality for a lower-priced product.