Supermarkets on Tap
By Tom Ryan
Both Wegmans and Whole
Foods have recently opened pubs inside stores in Pennsylvania, serving
beer, wine and drinks.
called The Pub, was part of the opening of its store in Collegeville, Pa.,
and is the only such establishment among its 75 stores. A second Pub is
scheduled to open in June at Wegmans’ store in Malvern, Pa. Whole Foods
opened its Cold Point Pub at its store in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. on January
12. Both pubs are only open during store hours.
Each grocer is approaching
the opportunity differently. Pennsylvania’s South Bend Tribune describes
Whole Foods’ 28-seat Cold Point Pub as "more like a coffee lounge" with
soft lighting and easy chairs. Only beer and wine are sold. Consumers serve
themselves wine from preset taps after paying for an access card. Employees
run the beer taps. Food at the establishment includes charcuterie plate,
an olive sampler and soft pretzels but customers are invited to buy something
in the store to bring into the area.
Wegmans’ 63-seat pub is
more like a traditional bar/restaurant with spirits included as well as
two-flat screen TVs for sporting events. The bar top features "Cambria
natural quartz stone, surrounded by solid cherry and cherry veneers," according
to South Bend Tribune.
Speaking to the newspaper,
Kathy Haines, Wegmans’ regional restaurant manager for Pennsylvania, said
the The Pub represents an extension of the store’s Market Café food court,
where shoppers can buy prepared foods to eat at tables or for takeout.
The Pub is a full-service restaurant “where you can enjoy a great meal
and enjoy a drink with that meal,” although she said “our focus is really
on the food.”
Indeed, monthly pub sales
so far show that only 20 percent of patrons order an alcohol beverage with
their food order.
The article speculated
that the number of mothers pushing strollers during the day was one reason
many patrons were opting not to order an alcoholic drink. One 76-year grandmother
visiting the area decided not to get a drink because she had to cook that
night and help her grandkids with homework.
But her 75-year old husband
hoped the idea would reach his store back in Pittsburgh. One 33-year old
also welcomed the idea, but said he "wouldn’t want to get drunk in front
of families." He also joked that it appeared to be a good marketing scheme. He
said, "You come in and have a couple of cocktails, and then you buy all
sorts of things you didn’t come in for.”
Questions: What do you think of the idea of pubs in supermarkets? Does
it take a Wegmans or Whole Foods to pull it off or is this something
most grocers could handle?
- Supermarket offers
drinks, lunch for patrons – South Bend Tribune
- On the Side: A grocery
pub: How civilized – Philly.com
- Whole Foods Market
to Open Doors in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania – Whole Foods