Rotisserie chicken: The grab-and-go market is still going strong

Say goodbye to hot dogs and hamburgers – rotisserie chicken is the new American grab-and-go staple.

The retail popularity of rotisserie chicken has noticeably increased in the last few years. According to data gathered by Technomic, rotisserie chicken appeared on 6 percent more menus in 2015 than in 2013. The diversity of the marinades and seasonings used is also worth mentioning – more retail food providers are turning to rotisserie chicken to experiment with new flavors and draw a wider audience. Though garlic and barbecue still hold top billing, other flavors like lemon, avocado and banana – yes, banana – are taking over prepared food departments everywhere.

What is it about rotisserie chicken that has retailers investing and customers coming back for seconds?

Menu versatility
As we’ve already explored, the possibilities for grab-and-go rotisserie chicken recipes are seemingly endless – eat as is with a side of potatoes and vegetables, shred it for chicken salad, cut it up and sprinkle it over leafy greens, use it to make a delicious chicken soup, and so on and so on.

Beyond however shoppers choose to enjoy¬†it, a rotisserie chicken also presents prepared food departments with infinite potential regarding how to cook it. To supermarkets and grocery stores, this delicacy allows cooks behind the counter to test the water on a number of different recipes to gauge customer response. Companies don’t lose out by trying something new with ready-made chicken, because its flexibility requires minimal overhead, a single rotisserie oven and chef’s imagination.

“Commercial rotisserie equipment is perfect for a busy retail kitchen environment.”

Easy to cook
Renowned chef Clark Frasier said it best when he explained the appeal of rotisserie chicken to Zagat.

“You’re putting a chicken on a stick and letting it go,” he said. “It’s simple to master, and it’s something that humans respond to.”

Commercial rotisseries aren’t overly “hands on,” which means prepared food departments can multitask while the chicken cooks. Commercial rotisserie equipment is perfect for a busy retail kitchen environment. Many modern rotisseries include advanced monitoring technology to ensure the meat cooks thoroughly and evenly without drying out. By automating the cooking process, supermarkets and grocery stores can turn out consistent products efficiently.

Not to mention, cooking grab-and-go meals in a rotisserie is a marketing phenomenon all its own. The sight and the smell of hot, fresh chicken can be quite alluring to hungry patrons. Placing rotisseries where customers can see the magic happen drives sales and opens up more space behind the counter.

Ready-made foods fit a shopper’s busy schedule
According to research performed by the Time Use Institute, many Americans shop for their groceries in the latter portion of the day, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Because this schedule tends to conflict with dinnertime, ready-made meals like rotisserie chicken can be seen as a way for customers to both finish their weekly grocery shopping completely and have a hot meal on the table for their families with little to no preparation needed.

“Rotisserie chicken is typically less expensive than uncooked alternatives.”

Affordable fare
Not only are grab-and-go rotisserie chickens advantageous for the grocery store shopper with too much on their plate, but they’re typically less expensive than uncooked alternatives.

KCET found store-bought rotisserie chickens on average cost less than raw chicken, in some instances by a couple dollars, in others much more. Also, the costs of uncooked chicken usually vary depending on weight, while rotisserie chickens typically sell at a flat rate.

Would you pay extra for a meal that requires a lot of legwork? Or would you rather take home an affordable, ready-made rotisserie chicken that you can eat right out the box? To hungry supermarket customers, the choice is clear.

For more information on equipment to maximize your rotisserie chicken experience, check out some of our rotisseries and merchandisers.