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Save Mart yesterday announced that as a response to the devastating impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry, it has developed "an innovative guest chef program to support struggling local restaurateurs and. The program will be tested at Save Mart’s innovation flagship store in Modesto (3401 Oakdale Road) on Saturday, Nov. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

"The Tipping Point, Save Mart’s in-store restaurant, will be turned over to one of Modesto’s most popular restaurants, Surla’s, and its much-loved chef, John Surla. Surla’s pop-up brunch menu will feature three popular items – Stuffed French Toast ($10), Eggs Benedict ($12) and Steak and Eggs ($15) – all served with country-style potatoes and fresh fruits.  100 percent of the brunch’s sales will go directly to the restaurant (less alcohol)."

Save Mart plans to announce additional restaurant participants in the coming weeks.

“Our intent with this pilot program is consistent with our evergreen focus on the local communities we serve and we’ve extended that approach to neighborhood restaurants impacted by the pandemic” said Hal Levitt, senior vice president of retail operations. “We developed a program to assist local chefs and their restaurants, at the same time, our guests can enjoy some of their favorite dishes, discover new ones and share in helping our local restaurants.”

KC's View:

Smart move on two fronts.

First, stores are only bolstered in their communities when they act like they are members of the community.  Which Save Mart is doing here.

Second, the restaurant industry can be an enormous source of innovation - and people -  for the supermarket industry.  It isn't like the pandemic is going to be turned off by a switch, and the restaurant biz will rebound overnight.  It is going to be a long, hard slog … and if one believes, like I do, in the concept of grocerants and restaurmarkets, then moves like Save Mart's are a reflection of a fast-approaching future.