Investing In (Ridiculously Successful) Grab & Go Retail

Investing In (Ridiculously Successful) Grab & Go Retail

03/29/2023 | 04:44 PM | 11 Min Read

So much can be done to improve revenue, profit, guest experience and operations when it comes to the grab-and-go markets, but many involve renovations, knocking down walls, overhauling unused business centers, storage closets, and random seating areas with uncomfortable chairs no one sits in!

But there are 4 key areas that have an immediate impact, immediate ROI that don’t require drywall and a ”pardon our mess” sign!

  1. Quality Product

  2. Strategic Merchandising

  3. Maximum Appliances

  4. Retail Technology


Quality Retail Product in a grab-and-go today is so much more than just predictable snacks and microwaveable meals sitting on a shelf for guests when they arrive on a late flight or need to appease a grumpy toddler.

Consumer snacking and meal trends have evolved enormously since the events of 2020. Microwaving powdered mac and cheese, Cup of Noodles and single serve popcorn just doesn’t cut it with your guest anymore.

Shelf stable favorites now include a variety of healthy, specialty, upscale indulgent snacks and and local faire. Beverage offerings have seen an increase in specialty waters, kombuchas, and craft cocktails.

Investing in quality snacking and healthy meal options will absolutely increase revenue, gross profit, while you wow your guests when they need you most. At any hotel. Even yours. Even that segment you think doesn’t apply. It totally does.

We promise.

2) Merchandising

Make it easy for guests to buy. Make it easier for front office team to maintain. 

Merchandising Do’s: 

  • Choose large vessels for bagged snack Items like chips, jerky, popcorn and crisps for easy replenishment and bountiful appearance.
  • Use clear canisters to showcase candy and healthy bars vertically in an easy to refill jar.
  • Merchandisers should be both functional and visually appealing to enhance design interest.
  • Place upscale, gourmet or local items on countertops using risers, cake stands, decorative bowls to create visual interest in higher ticket items.

Merchandising Dont’s: 

  • Avoid plastic shelving pushers that often break and make product displays look dated and low quality.
  • Just say no to merchandising out of product packaging, manufacturer branded towers, bunkers, coolers and displays. Own your brand and retail guest experience!
  • Do not lay candy and other snack items horizontally onto millwork leaving the section visually empty from a vertical view and wasting horizontal retail real estate.
    A bountiful appearance full of variety, flavors, nutrition needs always wins! Cozy up merchandisers and product displays so areas look full and inviting.

3) Appliances  

When analyzing over 11M transactions in hotel retail sales conducted in hotel grab-and-go outlets last year, the cooler and frozen product stations accounted for a whopping:

70% of revenue

72% of profit

Yet, when designing stores, the #1 push back on expense is the cost and size of recommended appliances.

To save a few thousand dollars in one- time appliance costs, hoteliers often forfeit thousands of dollars per month in beverage and frozen sales to go with a “free” cooler from the bottler or a low cost, off-brand smaller format unit with minimum returns, minimum variety.

Smaller, low budget units cost less on the front end, but cost heavily each month in lost revenue opportunity.

PLUS - The burden of small units on the front office team is significant as they struggle to keep shelves neat and full when just a few purchases leaves small units looking empty - impacting guest experience and revenue.


4) Technology


Guest Facing Point of Sale is the must-have technology investment for hotel retail stores in 2023.

A 2022 Bluedot survey found that 61% prefer self-service over waiting for assistance from employees. However, in addition to capturing more sales by providing the type of checkout experiences guests want, there are more benefits of self-checkout, including:

  •  Reduces dozens of missed transactions, theft, and service recoveries that occur when front desk is busy or unavailable

  •  Alleviates front desk tasks, so they can focus on guest check-ins and reservation assistance

  •  Increases guest retail spend by up to 2x per transaction as guests buy more, more often when a self-service option is available.

  • Minimizes wait times in front desk lines for check ins and retail purchases

No longer a convenience – but an expectation!

On the go guests, don't want to stand in line – and 25% won't enter the store or will leave without purchasing if they feel the line is too long to make the purchase.

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