Restaurant Products You Didn't Know You Can Buy At Grocery Stores

We live in an age of convenience, where the purchasing experience has been expedited to the point where we can buy pretty much anything without leaving the house and have it in our hands in no time. Looking at it through this context, even tasks once considered "convenient" now seem labor intensive. This is all to say to that occasionally something as easy as eating out at a restaurant or just driving to a fast food restaurant feels like a tall task. It's much easier to just open the refrigerator door and grab a restaurant's grocery store product.

Restaurants caught on to this consumer trend some decades ago, and even more in recent years. Nowadays, it's hard to find a popular food chain that doesn't offer at least one product in the grocery store. It's a great way for restaurant's to expand their reach as well as keep their brand in the front of consumers' minds. 

So what can you expect to see the next time you're strolling down your supermarket's aisles? Burger joint condiments, comfort food staples, and the most iconic hamburger, to  name just a few items. 

Krispy Kreme doughnuts

One of the newest restaurant items hitting the grocery store aisle is also one of the most delectable sweet treats around. In June, Krispy Kreme's doughnuts became available for purchase at grocery stores. No more standing in line, impatiently waiting for the "Hot Light" to flash on.

But in a unique twist, these doughnuts will not look quite the same as the ones you pick up at a Krispy Kreme store. Instead, they'll be sold in miniature form. Two different product types are available: doughnut bites and mini crullers. The former is available in original, chocolate, apple cinnamon, and strawberry flavors, the latter in original glazed, blueberry, and a seasonal lemon flavor. The bites come four to a pack, with five packs in a box. The crullers are available in boxes of 12.

As of now though, the Krispy Kreme doughnuts are only available at Walmart and through the retail chain's grocery delivery service, Walmart Grocery.

White Castle sliders

White Castle was founded in Wichita, Kansas in 1921 by Billy Ingram, who had the novel idea of selling small, square-shaped burgers. Fast forward nearly a century and the White Castle slider has become an iconic fast food item. It's been named one of the most influential burgers of all time and has even been the topic of hit movies.

Not only was White Castle an innovator at selling burgers at its stores, it also was a leader among restaurants selling their food outside of their locations. While many famous chains are just starting to enter the grocery store business, White Castle has been there for decades. In fact, frozen sliders first became available at U.S. retail locations all the way back in 1987. You'll still find them there today, only with an expanded product line. White Castle sells original, cheese, and jalapeno cheese sliders, as well as chicken breast and sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sliders.

Auntie Anne's classic pretzel

It turns out you don't need to trek all the way to the mall food court to get your hands on Auntie Anne's. Everyone's favorite kiosk pretzels can also be found in the frozen food aisle.

Auntie Anne's sells several different pretzel treats in grocery stores including its classic pretzel, pretzel nuggets, pretzel dogs, and even pretzel sandwiches, which in case you're wondering, consist of pepperoni, mozzarella, and provolone wrapped in hot pretzel dough. All you need to do is heat the pretzels in the oven or toaster, then lather on the butter and salt (each pretzel comes with individual salt and butter packs) and enjoy.

For those looking for a more immersive Auntie Anne's experience, the company also sells a baking kit to make your own pretzels at home. Each box comes with enough mix, salt, and cinnamon sugar to make six pretzels. These kits are only available at Amazon, Schnucks, and Weis throughout the year, plus Big Lots, Burlington, and Darice during the holidays.

Chick-fil-A sauces

Another new restaurant item you'll soon be finding on the shelves of your local grocery store comes from the home of a world famous chicken sandwich. In March, Chick-fil-A announced it would begin selling its signature Chick-fil-A and Polynesian Sauces in retail stores.

There was a catch, however. The rollout was a pilot program only available in Florida. The good news is that Floridians apparently gobbled up these products so quickly that Chick-fil-A decided to make them available nationwide. In November, the bottled sauces began being sold at participating Publix, Kroger, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. They'll become available for the rest of the country in 2021.

The sauces come in 16-ounce containers and have a retail price starting at $3.49. As if you needed another reason to purchase them, all profits from the sale of the two sauces will be donated to the Chick-fil-A Remarkable Futures Scholarship Initiative. Since 1973, the program has helped nearly 60,000 employees pay for college by awarding a collective $92 million in scholarship money.

Taco Bell products

No more waiting in drive-thru lines or hoarding fire sauce packets. It turns out that those late night Taco Bell runs could be a thing of the past, as long as your kitchen is properly stocked. The popular Mexican food chain sells a host of products in grocery stores, so much so that one can essentially build their own Taco Bell copycat taco just from store-bought items.

First up is the seasoning, which is available in mild and original flavors. Then you'll need to begin the assembly. Fear not, you can buy crunchy Taco Bell taco shells. If you really want your tacos to taste like they're from Taco Bell though, you'll also want to pick up some sauce. You can buy 7.5-ounce bottles of Taco Bell hot sauce in mild, hot, fire, and Diablo heat levels.

The brand also sells Baja, chipotle, and ranchero sauce, as well as salsa and salsa con queso.

California Pizza Kitchen pizza

The frozen pizza business is a billion dollar industry, so even restaurants that serve fresh pizza want to get in on the game. Count California Pizza Kitchen as one of them.

In 1999, about a decade and a half after opening its first restaurant, the pizza chain introduced a line of frozen pizzas. Initially, it consisted of seven different pizzas. Then in 2013 the company announced it would offer an "elevated" taste of its frozen items by adding more premium ingredients. Nowadays, consumers can choose between a number of options, including BBQ chicken, Sicilian, Margherita, and Hawaiian pizza. Need more variety? There are three different crust types available: thin crust, cauliflower, and gluten free.

For those worried that a frozen California Pizza Kitchen pizza could never match a fresh one, you should know that a lot of work goes into ensuring the two are as similar as possible in crust, toppings, and flavor. According to Food Dive, Nestle, which distributes the products, will do a taste test between the pies whenever a new frozen product is being released in order to determine if it's worthy of the frozen food aisle.

Whataburger condiments

The heart of a good burger is the beef patty, but we all know a significant amount of the taste factor rides on the quality of the condiments. That's why you can't settle for your run-of-the-mill grocery store sauces, at least according to fast food chain Whataburger.

While most restaurants only sell unique items at the grocery store, Whataburger sells condiment staples ketchup and mustard. (The former comes in both "fancy" and "spicy" varieties.) The restaurant sells several other sauces at the grocery store, as well, including honey BBQ, honey mustard, jalapeno ranch, buffalo sauce, and mayonnaise. While your sauce shopping, you can also pick up Whataburger salsa, pork sausage, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly — pancake mix.

Although it is one of the largest burger chains in the country, Whataburger is only located across the southern United States, with the vast majority of restaurants found in the state of Texas. As such, you'll only find these retail items at grocery stores in the Lone Star State. In fact, you'll only find them in one supermarket chain, H-E-B, which has an exclusive deal with Whataburger.

Those craving a taste of Texas but not nearby can always visit the restaurant's online store, which sells most of its sauces and its original pancake mix.

Panera Bread products

Panera Bread is all about serving up quality for as quickly and efficiently as possible, so it should come as no surprise that the brand sells products to make in the comfort of your own home. What is surprising is just how many products there are. Panera Bread may just have the widest variety of food items available at grocery stores of any restaurant around. According to its website, the fast-casual chain sells 56 products through retail.

These meals and grocery items fall into several categories: soup and chili, mac & cheese and pasta, salad dressing, sliced bread, coffee, and artisan bread and rolls. Most of the offerings fall into the first category. There are a total of 20 different varieties of soup and chili, everything from baked potato and chicken tortilla soup to lobster bisque and corn chowder.

Panera Bread goes one step further in marketing its grocery store items than most other restaurants by suggesting creative ways of using the food. Its website has recipes that turn the ingredients in to brand new meals, such as using tomato soup to make chicken cacciatore.

Sonic frozen drinks and desserts

Sonic is famous for a few things, one of which is their creative drinks and dessert flavors (we're looking at you, Ocean Water). In order to get these thirst-quenching tastes to consumers more easily, the company began selling products in grocery stores in 2018.

What's unique about Sonic's line of supermarket products is that they are all items not offered at the restaurant. Instead, the restaurant has found creative ways to incorporate its drink flavors into other foods. Sonic offers two of its drink flavors in freezer bars and slushed pop form, as well as lollipops and other hard candy. These treats are available in the aforementioned Ocean Water, which has a tangy, coconut flavor, and Cherry Limeade.

And let us not forget Sonic's iconic milkshakes. While you'll still need to stop by the restaurant to pick up an actual shake, you can purchase Classic Chocolate Shake and Classic Strawberry Shake flavored instant pudding mix at the grocery store.

Bob Evans meals and side dishes

Bob Evans is not the most famous restaurant on this list. Depending on where you live, you may not have even known that it is, in fact, a restaurant. The chain has roughly 500 locations, but they are all located in just 18 states, mostly in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and Southeast regions of the United States.

For those unfamiliar, Bob Evans Restaurants began when its namesake founder started making sausage on his Ohio farm and serving it in a small diner he owned. Eventually it got so popular that Evans had to open a full-fledged restaurant.

Today, Bob Evans is known for its comfort food menu. While you may not be able to make it to a brick-and-mortar location, many of the restaurant's products can be found at the supermarket. Most notable is the chain's mashed potatoes, which come in nine different varieties and flavors. Other product line highlights include breakfast bowls, pasta, and fresh and frozen sausage.

Boston Market dishes

Boston Market set up shop back in 1985 with the premise of offering slow-roasted marinated chicken to customers in an easy, convenient manner. But before the close of the decade, the company realized it should also make its products even more conveniently available — in the form of frozen food grocery store items.

While the Boston Market company has been suffering for decades (it first filed bankruptcy in 1998) and its number of restaurants has dropped from more than 1,100 to several hundred, its grocery store business has only expanded. In 1999, the eatery released a line of frozen meals known as Boston Market Home Style Meals. Seven years later, the line expanded into 1,300 grocery store locations.

Today, there are an extensive number of meals available, including meatloaf, Salisbury steak, smothered turkey, and chicken pot pie. The line keeps expanding too, with the addition of new items like chicken and beef bowls, country fried chicken, and slow-cooked pulled pork.