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OPINIONRetail Foodservice

Tips for Making Your Grocerant a Winner

A fresh, full meal at a reasonable price is key

The Lempert Report

Irene Jiang, columnist for Business Insider, took her first trip to Wegmans to taste test the chain’s foodservice offerings and says that the trip changed her life forever. Although I’m pretty sure she means her food life.

For those in the industry, we have little doubt that Wegmans is one of the best food retailers in the nation. So it is interesting to step back and take a look through the eyes and taste buds of an outsider to remind us of just how much we can learn from the Wegmans’ foodservice team and incorporate into your own grocerant and foodservice offerings.

She writes that the pizza counter has a real pizza oven. Salads are hand-tossed and made to order. The sushi counter has a fridge of prepackaged sushi but also a real sushi bar with sushi chefs. And, most importantly, according to her, “none of it breaks the bank.”

What she ordered: a small four-topping pizza, bottle of Wegmans oolong tea, a nine-piece sushi deluxe, spicy southwest chicken and rice soup, a Nutty Professor salad, and an American classic burger with Tuscan fries. In total, everything cost $57.79 before tax—basically four full meals.

She found the pizza’s crust sturdy and not at all soggy. The cheese was so gooey she writes she had to lift the slice a foot in the air in order to separate it. The only thing she didn't like about the pizza was its sauce, which was light and sweet.  

She was so excited when she saw that Wegmans had a made-to-order burger bar, she ordered a classic cheeseburger as well as Tuscan fries; she ordered the burger medium. It was thick, and the cheese was gracefully melted onto the brown patty. However, it felt kind of dry, and she was disappointed.

She chose a premade salad: the Nutty Professor, which has a mix of organic greens, squash, cabbage, carrots, cashews and ginger turmeric dressing and more ingredients such as tofu, which was soft, light and bursting with flavor. The dressing was light and a little spicy. Each component was fresh and all together, it tasted wholesome.

And while the nine-piece sushi deluxe was the most she ever paid for grocery store sushi. It was also the only time she ever saw such a rich fish variety in a grocery store sushi set, which included the highly prized uni, or sea urchin.  She wrote that it was evident from the first bite that all of the fish on her plate was fresh and high-quality.

Her top line? “Everything was customizable, fresh and affordable, and some things even managed to be more delicious than a grocery store meal has any right to be."

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