Petco's first kitchen for dogs opens Friday in New York City.
- Petco is opening upscale kitchens in its stores where chefs will prepare human-grade meals for pets.
- The meals cost $6 to $12 and include options like turkey and whole-wheat macaroni and venison and squash.
- "You can come in and see, smell, and touch the product that's being made here in the store, and have full transparency on what's going into your pet's diet," said Nick Konat, Petco's chief merchandising officer.
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Petco is opening upscale kitchens in its stores where customers can order freshly prepared, human-grade meals for their pets.
The first of the kitchens opens Friday at Petco's newly renovated flagship store at Union Square in New York, New York.
Starting Friday, customers will be able to walk into the store and watch trained chefs prepare pets' meals including beef and russet potatoes; turkey and whole-wheat macaroni; venison and squash; and lamb and brown rice.
Here's what it looks like.
The kitchen at Petco's Union Square store is 1,350 square feet and will produce 2,000 pounds of food daily.
"You can come in and see, smell, and touch the product that's being made here in the store, and have full transparency on what's going into your pet's diet," said Nick Konat, Petco's chief merchandising officer, in an interview with Business Insider.
"We're offering customers a new option in the human-grade fresh space that they can't get anywhere else with this level of quality in the marketplace."
Petco is launching the kitchens in partnership with the pet-food company JustFoodForDogs, which has opened standalone pet kitchens in California and Seattle. More are under construction in Boston and Chicago.
Prices for meals range between $6 and $12.
Some meals may last several days for pets, depending on their size and nutritional needs. JustFoodForDogs has a calorie calculator on its website to help people determine how many calories their dogs need every day.
Petco plans to roll out more of these kitchens in its stores, numbering in the "double digits," over the next several years, Konat said.
These kitchens could help Petco attract a greater share of shoppers' pet spending, which doubled between 2005 and 2018 to reach more than $72 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Much of this spending growth has been driven by millennials, who are spending a greater share of their discretionary income on premium foods, veterinary care, and clothing for their pets.
"They treat them like it was their firstborn child," Beverley Petrunich, owner of DoGone Fun, a dog-day-care center in Chicago, said of millennials' pet spending in an interview last year with The Wall Street Journal.
The chefs on site will produce popular favorites such as the turkey-and-macaroni meals, as well as special diets designed to treat common health conditions such as allergies.
JustFoodForDogs will also work with veterinarians to create custom diets for dogs facing obesity, digestive disorders, pancreatitis, and other problems.
The new kitchens are part of Petco's broader strategy to improve nutritional standards for pets, Konat said.
The company removed all foods with artificial flavorings, colors, and preservatives from its 1,500 stores in May. The foods it stopped selling accounted for about $100 million of Petco's $4 billion in annual sales.
Konat said customers have reacted positively to the change.
"We're growing again ... and our customers are going crazy and supporting our growth," he said.