Missouri grocery store fills salad bar with alcohol, candy during pandemic restrictions

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- A grocery store has brought “happy hour” to their signature salad bars during the coronavirus pandemic.

Based in Chesterfield, Missouri, stores in the Dierbergs Markets chain found a creative way to help its patrons cope with the virus, lockdowns and historic job loss: instead of serving healthy greens and quinoa bowls, the salad bar is now stocked with liquor, cereal and candy, among other options.

The word “salad” has even been scratched out on signs.

The Manchester location was the first to make the change, serving mainly alcohol. The switch has been so well received that other stores have copied it, putting their own twist on the idea, such as cereal bars or “tiki bars” with themed products.

"We had originally put out other fresh foods, but it didn't go over so well because everyone's been stressed out,"  Rick Rodemacher, store director of the Manchester location, told NBC.

"A group of the employees were talking and we thought we could make good use of the empty space and make people smile if we swapped out the salad bar for one that serves alcohol."

Rodemacher says customers are "getting a kick out of it."

"At first we were worried that it wouldn't come across the right way, but it's been really well received," said Rodemacher. "The sales are not nearly what the salad bar sales were, but bringing a smile to people's face is worth it."