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Hy-Vee Will Build 26 Wahlburgers

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WEST DES MOINES — Hy-Vee Inc. has announced it plans to build, own and operate 26 Wahlburgers restaurants — nearly doubling the brand’s current locations — and Hy-Vee will add select Wahlburgers menu items in all Market Grille restaurants.

Additionally, Hy-Vee will partner with Orangetheory Fitness to provide customers with access to an intensive group fitness program in or adjacent to Hy-Vee stores.

“These unprecedented collaborations reinforce our company’s longstanding commitment to health and wellness, culinary expertise and customer experience,” said Hy-Vee Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker. “However, they also represent a bold step to deliberately evolve our business to meet the change in our customers’ lifestyles and spending habits. These partnerships keep us on the leading edge as the retail grocery industry evolves.”

Last year, eating meals outside the home surpassed meals consumed in the home. Millennials have played a significant role in the evolution of grocery spending, spending 44 percent of their food dollars annually on eating out, according to the Food Institute’s analysis of the USDA food expenditure data from 2014.

That increase has skyrocketed income spent in restaurants and on take-out meals, rising from 34 percent in 1974 to 50 percent in 2014.

“There is a changing landscape in the retail industry,” Mr. Edeker said. “Hy-Vee has a responsibility to our customers, employees and communities to look for new ways to strengthen our company. With this type of progressive action, Hy-Vee is well positioned for future growth.”

Wahlburgers is a family-friendly restaurant that offers signature burgers and drinks in a casual environment. Currently, Wahlburgers operates 17 locations in nine states and Canada.

Hy-Vee plans to build, own and operate 26 Wahlburgers in seven Midwestern states, becoming the brand’s largest single franchisee. The first Hy-Vee-owned Wahlburgers is scheduled to open in mid-2018 in West Des Moines, Iowa.

In addition, all 84 Hy-Vee Market Grille restaurants will offer Wahlburgers-branded menu items.

The Wahlburgers restaurants will complement Hy-Vee’s Market Grille restaurants, and tie into to the organization’s commitment to providing culinary expertise and experiences.

“Hy-Vee has been a great partner for us with our Performance Inspired Nutrition line,” said Mark Wahlberg, co-founder of Wahlburgers. “Their commitment to quality and innovation shows in everything they do.”

“I can’t think of a better fit for Wahlburgers to introduce our family’s hospitality to the Midwest.”

Orangetheory Fitness offers an intensive group training workout. With 750 studios nationwide, the company is on track to open 1,500 in the next two years. Hy-Vee will partner with Orangetheory to offer customers a fitness experience in or adjacent to Hy-Vee stores.

Hy-Vee dietitians also will work with Orangetheory members to offer dietetic services, provide samples of nutritional products and lead store tours to showcase items that align with member needs. This partnership creates an integrated fitness component to bolster Hy-Vee’s focus on health and wellness — including in-store dietitians, HealthMarkets, chefs, fresh and organic produce and pharmacies.

The first Hy-Vee Orangetheory Fitness location is set to open this year in the Twin Cities.

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