Supermarket giant H-E-B is working with three restaurants in each city of Austin, Houston and San Antonio to create and prepare restaurant-inspired to-go meals that will be sold in select supermarket locations.
Three restaurants in each city will prepare dishes for a limited number of stores as an effort by H-E-B to help Texas restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.
In Houston, Cherry Block Craft Butcher and Kitchen, Underbelly Hospitality and Brennans are supplying their signature dishes for this unique partnership that H-E-B launched last week, reported the Houston Chronicle.
In San Antonio, H-E-B is working with Max & Louie’s New York Diner, a Jewish deli. The restaurant told the San Antonio Express-News that the move into stores has allowed ownership to hire back nearly a dozen of its furloughed employees.
A Lifeline for Restaurants
“This is all about the restaurants. They need our help now,” said Kevin Blessing, H-E-B group vice president of bakery, deli, restaurants and prepared meals in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. “We hope our customers look at it as a way to help the restaurant community. There’s a value there. I hope that’s what they see.”
The restaurants will set the price for each meal and H-E-B will pay them for what is prepared. H-E-B said it will not take any portion of the sales; it will go directly to the restaurants.
“I couldn’t sing their praises more for everything else they’ve already done for our community. But this is a whole other level of support,” said Jessica DeSham Timmons, chef/partner at Cherry Block Craft Butcher and Restaurant, in an interview with the Chronicle. “It’s a game changer for us.”
H-E-B's unique partnership is one example of how supermarkets are helping hospitality companies. Many supermarket and online grocery retailers, reporting surging sales as customers are sheltering in place and hoarding everyday essentials, are looking to hire furloughed restaurant and hotel workers.