Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by Bagels »

ClownLoach wrote: November 20th, 2021, 9:27 pm I recently was emailed a survey from Amazon Fresh. This was without a doubt the longest customer survey I have ever encountered, and I have done focus groups and other such projects before. They wanted to know where else I shopped in the "Los Angeles Market.". I was amused to see that my "LA" options (besides everyone you would expect) included Vons, Albertsons, Pavilions and Safeway. Yes they are so inept they don't even realize that there are no "Safeway" branded stores here. What was interesting is that they asked more questions about my shopping experiences at Albertsons than any other store I said I shop regularly. Albertsons wasn't my #1 most shopped store. Literally every single category and subcategory of groceries was discussed, and I was asked what I thought about the selection, pricing, quality, assortment, private branding, promotional activities etc. Of every single one at Albertsons, then again at Amazon Fresh. Only reason I did the survey is that I will get a gift card (a Visa gift card not Amazon). So they are clearly trying to understand what they are doing wrong and what they can do to fix it.
I'm glad they're trying to improve, but it's not difficult to see what they're doing wrong: wrong locations (e.g. shopping districts rather than neighborhoods; Albertsons recently noted it's seeing a surge in foot traffic, lead by people stopping by after work to assemble a quick dinner), wrong promotion strategy (perpetual coupons rather than loss leaders) and really nothing else to differentiate itself.
As far as the Irvine area and Long Beach areas are concerned - I'll bet Albertsons and Ralphs are sorry they closed those nearby stores that they thought would be slaughtered by Fresh (Long Beach was the one they pretended was about the hazard pay - because they would never go on record that they were scared of Amazon). Clearly they had nothing to lose in brick and mortar retail.
I doubt the stores closures had anything to do with Fresh. The Irvine Albertsons that closed were clearly low-volume. The Jeffery/5 location and Quail Hill locations are also unquestionably low-volume, but have several more years left on their leases. Compare the amount of product in Ralphs to either of these stores -- it's not even close. The Quail Hill location hasn't even bothered to decorate or set-up any type of holiday display in several years. Ultimately, the area is turning toward Asian immigrants, and H Mart probably offered to pay more in rent. (Interestingly, the two H Marts were scheduled to open late summer, then 'late 2021,' but it doesn't appear as if any work is being done. Gotta wonder what's going on.)
All Fresh has proven is that they need to open some small grocery delivery depots in the urban areas to expedite deliveries, but they have no need to occupy retail space with a store open to the public. They probably were more profitable when they were delivery only and didn't have to pay for customer facing payroll.
People overwhelming enjoy grocery shopping, so while online ordering will grow, having B&M stores will give them a bigger piece of the pie. These stores could've been successfull... too bad they blew it.
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by storewanderer »

ClownLoach wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 12:06 am
I was in a few Fred Meyer stores in OR and WA as well and I was pleasantly surprised with execution. They seem to have dramatically improved all of their fresh departments especially produce. Felt much better than last time I was there (comparing to Pre COVID times)

I would say that the Fred Meyer stores overall had better looking produce, meat and deli than this "flagship" Whole Foods did - and even in small town Tillamook around 8pm all the Fred Meyer service departments were still staffed except the sandwich bar. All of these stores were BUSY and STAFFED well - Renton, WA on a Wednesday afternoon had every single cash register open and staffed and the store was slammed but holding up well. I noticed that the Fred Meyer stores were emphasizing their organics more than what I'm used to seeing with Ralphs in SoCal - clearly they see the WF struggles and are happily taking market share back.


The Pearl flagship Whole Foods by the way is in the "nice part" of the dense urban part of Portland and I was pleasantly surprised not to see homeless encampments and other such problems in this district. I'm sure other stores in downtown area like the former CityTarget are under attack on a regular basis but I didn't feel like this was the case here. The rest of Portland has deteriorated to a utterly shocking state. Driving down from Washington on I-5 is alarming - as soon as you go over the bridge into Oregon the sides of the freeways are tent cities. Interchange cloverleafs are something more, full scale homeless camps that even had vehicles parked in them such as beat up old vans and RVs. This is clearly government property where the tents and vehicles pose a safety hazard and should be impounded/removed. There must be 1000 stolen shopping carts of all sizes and colors just along the stretch of I-5 between the river and the downtown Bridge interchanges.
Fred Meyer executes exceptionally well around Portland. I was very impressed early this year. I think generally speaking Fred Meyer executes well, though I wasn't too crazy about their operation in Boise but Albertsons has some standout stores there that are nothing like their typical Safeway way of operating. Also think Fred Meyer has gone downhill in Medford pretty bad compared to what I saw in Portland.

Fred Meyer has always heavily emphasized Organic. I think the entire Kroger strategy on Natural/Organic was lifted from Fred Meyer and applied chainwide. The Simple Truth line is simply a rebranding and major expansion of the Fred Meyer "Naturally Preferred" line which existed from the early 90's or maybe even late 80's.

I did not recognize Portland either early this year. And it had only been a few years since I was last there... stayed downtown a few years ago too...
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by babs »

ClownLoach wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 12:06 am
rwsandiego wrote: November 21st, 2021, 5:28 pm
veteran+ wrote: November 21st, 2021, 8:21 am

I have not seen these issues in Los Angeles , yet.
I haven't seen these issues in Phoenix, either.
I was in Portland last week at the flagship store in the Pearl District. I was floored by the deterioration of this store. This was a very nice store that was very busy previously, and since the last time I was there dozens of massive high rise apartments and condos have gone up in the area. The store only had a couple of registers opened. Poor merchandising overall with nonsense endcaps that appeared to be overstock of slow movers - not as bad as what I observed recently at Fresh in SoCal, but I wouldn't stock an endcap with a completely random mix of bagged, canned, and Keurig-style coffees. Again looked like they just took the overstock from the aisle, shoved onto the endcap and printed bin labels. Produce was not fresh looking and poorly merchandised, more shoved/dumped into the wet rack than "displayed" if you get my drift... Like what you would expect a Winco or Food4Less to look like. Bakery was not staffed at all. It was dinnertime - about 5:30pm and they were tossing all of the pizza slices and closing down the deli. They had already put away all of the hot foods and only the salad bar was still out. If they have been doing these early closures of the service departments then it's no wonder the store is dead - this is the kind of area that is a fight in traffic to drive home to (if you lived here and didn't work nearby in an office building) and I feel like most of the customers would be landing around that time or even later. Nobody was behind the meat and seafood counters, just a bell for service. Seafood area did not smell good, and meat smelled like a strange combination of cleaning chemicals and old stale meat (like someone has been trying to clean but probably wasn't trained how to do it properly). Looked like they had mothballed the upstairs dining area and the cooking school.

This store's problems are entirely self inflicted. As a customer I do not see why I would shop this store anymore. This store is supposed to be the best of what Whole Foods has to offer.

I was in a few Fred Meyer stores in OR and WA as well and I was pleasantly surprised with execution. They seem to have dramatically improved all of their fresh departments especially produce. Felt much better than last time I was there (comparing to Pre COVID times)

I would say that the Fred Meyer stores overall had better looking produce, meat and deli than this "flagship" Whole Foods did - and even in small town Tillamook around 8pm all the Fred Meyer service departments were still staffed except the sandwich bar. All of these stores were BUSY and STAFFED well - Renton, WA on a Wednesday afternoon had every single cash register open and staffed and the store was slammed but holding up well. I noticed that the Fred Meyer stores were emphasizing their organics more than what I'm used to seeing with Ralphs in SoCal - clearly they see the WF struggles and are happily taking market share back.

I did visit a PCC in Bellevue that was fairly new, weird location on the bottom floor of a multi story development with a Dave and Busters and small format Target. The PCC was quite pleasant - reminded me of the high level standards and execution Whole Foods used to deliver. Took me way back. It was probably about 25K square feet, less than half the size of a WF, maybe same as the dead 365 store concept, yet it felt like it had a much wider assortment of fresh and prepared foods. Very subtle decor that didn't distract from the great foods - little signage of any kind other than aisle hangers - but had created a stunning mural with metal pieces of some kind on the front end. Maybe Amazon needs to downsize the "large format" stores to this size box then break up the chain and sell chunks to similar regionals like PCC.

The Pearl flagship Whole Foods by the way is in the "nice part" of the dense urban part of Portland and I was pleasantly surprised not to see homeless encampments and other such problems in this district. I'm sure other stores in downtown area like the former CityTarget are under attack on a regular basis but I didn't feel like this was the case here. The rest of Portland has deteriorated to a utterly shocking state. Driving down from Washington on I-5 is alarming - as soon as you go over the bridge into Oregon the sides of the freeways are tent cities. Interchange cloverleafs are something more, full scale homeless camps that even had vehicles parked in them such as beat up old vans and RVs. This is clearly government property where the tents and vehicles pose a safety hazard and should be impounded/removed. There must be 1000 stolen shopping carts of all sizes and colors just along the stretch of I-5 between the river and the downtown Bridge interchanges.
The Pearl District Whole Foods is not a flagship store. The one at Bridgeport Village is, probably why it was in Top Chef recently. The upstairs cooking classroom closed about a year or two after the store was built. Upstairs originally thre was a small housewares area that later turned into a coffeeshop. It was closed after it became a homeless hangout and got robbed many times. It's been a staffed Amazon station for about 4 years.

Downtown Portland grocery stores are all struggling. The two Safeways, Stadium Fred Meyer and this Whole Foods all depend heavily on the lunch time crowd of office workers that used to go there. Now with that crowd gone they are struggling to survive on just the residents, many of whom now get groceries delivered. I don't.k ow what going to happen long term but this isn't a reflection on the chain but on the location. I wouldn't use this location as an example.of what's wrong with the chain.
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by ClownLoach »

Looks like some changes in leadership at Amazon's brick and mortar retail division are taking place.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/24/amazon- ... mpany.html
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by ClownLoach »

babs wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 11:36 pm
ClownLoach wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 12:06 am
rwsandiego wrote: November 21st, 2021, 5:28 pm
I haven't seen these issues in Phoenix, either.
I was in Portland last week at the flagship store in the Pearl District. I was floored by the deterioration of this store. This was a very nice store that was very busy previously, and since the last time I was there dozens of massive high rise apartments and condos have gone up in the area. The store only had a couple of registers opened. Poor merchandising overall with nonsense endcaps that appeared to be overstock of slow movers - not as bad as what I observed recently at Fresh in SoCal, but I wouldn't stock an endcap with a completely random mix of bagged, canned, and Keurig-style coffees. Again looked like they just took the overstock from the aisle, shoved onto the endcap and printed bin labels. Produce was not fresh looking and poorly merchandised, more shoved/dumped into the wet rack than "displayed" if you get my drift... Like what you would expect a Winco or Food4Less to look like. Bakery was not staffed at all. It was dinnertime - about 5:30pm and they were tossing all of the pizza slices and closing down the deli. They had already put away all of the hot foods and only the salad bar was still out. If they have been doing these early closures of the service departments then it's no wonder the store is dead - this is the kind of area that is a fight in traffic to drive home to (if you lived here and didn't work nearby in an office building) and I feel like most of the customers would be landing around that time or even later. Nobody was behind the meat and seafood counters, just a bell for service. Seafood area did not smell good, and meat smelled like a strange combination of cleaning chemicals and old stale meat (like someone has been trying to clean but probably wasn't trained how to do it properly). Looked like they had mothballed the upstairs dining area and the cooking school.

This store's problems are entirely self inflicted. As a customer I do not see why I would shop this store anymore. This store is supposed to be the best of what Whole Foods has to offer.

I was in a few Fred Meyer stores in OR and WA as well and I was pleasantly surprised with execution. They seem to have dramatically improved all of their fresh departments especially produce. Felt much better than last time I was there (comparing to Pre COVID times)

I would say that the Fred Meyer stores overall had better looking produce, meat and deli than this "flagship" Whole Foods did - and even in small town Tillamook around 8pm all the Fred Meyer service departments were still staffed except the sandwich bar. All of these stores were BUSY and STAFFED well - Renton, WA on a Wednesday afternoon had every single cash register open and staffed and the store was slammed but holding up well. I noticed that the Fred Meyer stores were emphasizing their organics more than what I'm used to seeing with Ralphs in SoCal - clearly they see the WF struggles and are happily taking market share back.

I did visit a PCC in Bellevue that was fairly new, weird location on the bottom floor of a multi story development with a Dave and Busters and small format Target. The PCC was quite pleasant - reminded me of the high level standards and execution Whole Foods used to deliver. Took me way back. It was probably about 25K square feet, less than half the size of a WF, maybe same as the dead 365 store concept, yet it felt like it had a much wider assortment of fresh and prepared foods. Very subtle decor that didn't distract from the great foods - little signage of any kind other than aisle hangers - but had created a stunning mural with metal pieces of some kind on the front end. Maybe Amazon needs to downsize the "large format" stores to this size box then break up the chain and sell chunks to similar regionals like PCC.

The Pearl flagship Whole Foods by the way is in the "nice part" of the dense urban part of Portland and I was pleasantly surprised not to see homeless encampments and other such problems in this district. I'm sure other stores in downtown area like the former CityTarget are under attack on a regular basis but I didn't feel like this was the case here. The rest of Portland has deteriorated to a utterly shocking state. Driving down from Washington on I-5 is alarming - as soon as you go over the bridge into Oregon the sides of the freeways are tent cities. Interchange cloverleafs are something more, full scale homeless camps that even had vehicles parked in them such as beat up old vans and RVs. This is clearly government property where the tents and vehicles pose a safety hazard and should be impounded/removed. There must be 1000 stolen shopping carts of all sizes and colors just along the stretch of I-5 between the river and the downtown Bridge interchanges.
The Pearl District Whole Foods is not a flagship store. The one at Bridgeport Village is, probably why it was in Top Chef recently. The upstairs cooking classroom closed about a year or two after the store was built. Upstairs originally thre was a small housewares area that later turned into a coffeeshop. It was closed after it became a homeless hangout and got robbed many times. It's been a staffed Amazon station for about 4 years.

Downtown Portland grocery stores are all struggling. The two Safeways, Stadium Fred Meyer and this Whole Foods all depend heavily on the lunch time crowd of office workers that used to go there. Now with that crowd gone they are struggling to survive on just the residents, many of whom now get groceries delivered. I don't.k ow what going to happen long term but this isn't a reflection on the chain but on the location. I wouldn't use this location as an example.of what's wrong with the chain.
For Portland - there are only a few WF stores in the city itself - Pearl is the largest by far. I would disagree that decline in business is reason for decline in conditions as many retailers usually have their best standards in lower volume stores - less damage, wear and tear. The traffic flow downtown has nothing to do with proper maintenance and sanitation of departments - as a district manager we always would call that "the ticket to admission" as you cannot have the doors open without proper cleaning and safety in place. That isn't happening here with the clearly bad sanitary practices in the meat and seafood areas. I believe this is more widespread at WF as recently I bought what looked like a beautiful just cut steak at WF locally - when I went to cook it later that evening it had developed multiple brown/green color spots indicative of bad sanitation in meat cutting. And now they've pulled meat cutting out of the Fresh stores entirely and gone to shelf stable cryovac. Anyway back to Portland. The store had enough customers to take business at 5:30pm; they were literally throwing away their opportunities to get it. No other Whole Foods is closing the food bars at 5:30pm, and based on numerous articles about WF it is "the most profitable part of the store.". It is a perfect reflection of bad execution and lowered standards that are creeping into the chain. Standards are just that - the uniform expectations of operation. WF standard has always been that the food bars and perimeter departments are open 7am to 9pm, closing one hour before the store does at 10pm. If they are closing at 5:30pm leaving a quarter of the store's sales floor as a shut down crater that is by definition a lowering of standards. Customers were leaving empty handed after approaching the closed side of the store - it is very clear that they had good traffic and they were squandering it.
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by babs »

ClownLoach wrote: November 24th, 2021, 9:15 am
babs wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 11:36 pm
ClownLoach wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 12:06 am

I was in Portland last week at the flagship store in the Pearl District. I was floored by the deterioration of this store. This was a very nice store that was very busy previously, and since the last time I was there dozens of massive high rise apartments and condos have gone up in the area. The store only had a couple of registers opened. Poor merchandising overall with nonsense endcaps that appeared to be overstock of slow movers - not as bad as what I observed recently at Fresh in SoCal, but I wouldn't stock an endcap with a completely random mix of bagged, canned, and Keurig-style coffees. Again looked like they just took the overstock from the aisle, shoved onto the endcap and printed bin labels. Produce was not fresh looking and poorly merchandised, more shoved/dumped into the wet rack than "displayed" if you get my drift... Like what you would expect a Winco or Food4Less to look like. Bakery was not staffed at all. It was dinnertime - about 5:30pm and they were tossing all of the pizza slices and closing down the deli. They had already put away all of the hot foods and only the salad bar was still out. If they have been doing these early closures of the service departments then it's no wonder the store is dead - this is the kind of area that is a fight in traffic to drive home to (if you lived here and didn't work nearby in an office building) and I feel like most of the customers would be landing around that time or even later. Nobody was behind the meat and seafood counters, just a bell for service. Seafood area did not smell good, and meat smelled like a strange combination of cleaning chemicals and old stale meat (like someone has been trying to clean but probably wasn't trained how to do it properly). Looked like they had mothballed the upstairs dining area and the cooking school.

This store's problems are entirely self inflicted. As a customer I do not see why I would shop this store anymore. This store is supposed to be the best of what Whole Foods has to offer.

I was in a few Fred Meyer stores in OR and WA as well and I was pleasantly surprised with execution. They seem to have dramatically improved all of their fresh departments especially produce. Felt much better than last time I was there (comparing to Pre COVID times)

I would say that the Fred Meyer stores overall had better looking produce, meat and deli than this "flagship" Whole Foods did - and even in small town Tillamook around 8pm all the Fred Meyer service departments were still staffed except the sandwich bar. All of these stores were BUSY and STAFFED well - Renton, WA on a Wednesday afternoon had every single cash register open and staffed and the store was slammed but holding up well. I noticed that the Fred Meyer stores were emphasizing their organics more than what I'm used to seeing with Ralphs in SoCal - clearly they see the WF struggles and are happily taking market share back.

I did visit a PCC in Bellevue that was fairly new, weird location on the bottom floor of a multi story development with a Dave and Busters and small format Target. The PCC was quite pleasant - reminded me of the high level standards and execution Whole Foods used to deliver. Took me way back. It was probably about 25K square feet, less than half the size of a WF, maybe same as the dead 365 store concept, yet it felt like it had a much wider assortment of fresh and prepared foods. Very subtle decor that didn't distract from the great foods - little signage of any kind other than aisle hangers - but had created a stunning mural with metal pieces of some kind on the front end. Maybe Amazon needs to downsize the "large format" stores to this size box then break up the chain and sell chunks to similar regionals like PCC.

The Pearl flagship Whole Foods by the way is in the "nice part" of the dense urban part of Portland and I was pleasantly surprised not to see homeless encampments and other such problems in this district. I'm sure other stores in downtown area like the former CityTarget are under attack on a regular basis but I didn't feel like this was the case here. The rest of Portland has deteriorated to a utterly shocking state. Driving down from Washington on I-5 is alarming - as soon as you go over the bridge into Oregon the sides of the freeways are tent cities. Interchange cloverleafs are something more, full scale homeless camps that even had vehicles parked in them such as beat up old vans and RVs. This is clearly government property where the tents and vehicles pose a safety hazard and should be impounded/removed. There must be 1000 stolen shopping carts of all sizes and colors just along the stretch of I-5 between the river and the downtown Bridge interchanges.
The Pearl District Whole Foods is not a flagship store. The one at Bridgeport Village is, probably why it was in Top Chef recently. The upstairs cooking classroom closed about a year or two after the store was built. Upstairs originally thre was a small housewares area that later turned into a coffeeshop. It was closed after it became a homeless hangout and got robbed many times. It's been a staffed Amazon station for about 4 years.

Downtown Portland grocery stores are all struggling. The two Safeways, Stadium Fred Meyer and this Whole Foods all depend heavily on the lunch time crowd of office workers that used to go there. Now with that crowd gone they are struggling to survive on just the residents, many of whom now get groceries delivered. I don't.k ow what going to happen long term but this isn't a reflection on the chain but on the location. I wouldn't use this location as an example.of what's wrong with the chain.
For Portland - there are only a few WF stores in the city itself - Pearl is the largest by far. I would disagree that decline in business is reason for decline in conditions as many retailers usually have their best standards in lower volume stores - less damage, wear and tear. The traffic flow downtown has nothing to do with proper maintenance and sanitation of departments - as a district manager we always would call that "the ticket to admission" as you cannot have the doors open without proper cleaning and safety in place. That isn't happening here with the clearly bad sanitary practices in the meat and seafood areas. I believe this is more widespread at WF as recently I bought what looked like a beautiful just cut steak at WF locally - when I went to cook it later that evening it had developed multiple brown/green color spots indicative of bad sanitation in meat cutting. And now they've pulled meat cutting out of the Fresh stores entirely and gone to shelf stable cryovac. Anyway back to Portland. The store had enough customers to take business at 5:30pm; they were literally throwing away their opportunities to get it. No other Whole Foods is closing the food bars at 5:30pm, and based on numerous articles about WF it is "the most profitable part of the store.". It is a perfect reflection of bad execution and lowered standards that are creeping into the chain. Standards are just that - the uniform expectations of operation. WF standard has always been that the food bars and perimeter departments are open 7am to 9pm, closing one hour before the store does at 10pm. If they are closing at 5:30pm leaving a quarter of the store's sales floor as a shut down crater that is by definition a lowering of standards. Customers were leaving empty handed after approaching the closed side of the store - it is very clear that they had good traffic and they were squandering it.
Not at all surprised the hot bar closes early. This location has major issues with the homeless and street kids. I've seen people just grab and eat food right off the hot bar. It was downsized during the last remodel probably for this reason. Closing the hot bar just cuts their losses. While this is a busy store, it incurs costs other locations don't have to deal with such as multiple security guards and heavy shoplifting losses. All downtown locations have to deal with this. Often urban stores open with tons of bells and whistles, then slim it down over time. The nearby Stadium Fred Meyer is a classic example of this. The amazing deli has been cut back. The grilled cheese sandwich bar is gone. The expanded meat department has been downsized. Wine bar closed.
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by veteran+ »

Sorry to hear you guys are having these problems with WF up there.

I have not seen anything like that in S. Cal.
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by Alpha8472 »

It seems like shoplifting at buffets and shoplifting of merchandise is a problem with Amazon's brick and mortar stores. This is why big retail chains want to move to online shopping. They want to avoid the losses from shoplifting. Now that Amazon is moving towards physical stores, they will have massive losses from shoplifting. Switching to self checkout or going cashier-less is going to make the losses even higher.

Employees are there to provide customer service. Without employees you lose the personalized service. Customers are on their own when they need help. It is an impersonal and cold store.

Fewer employees will only lead to more theft and more losses. With the increase in mob style robberies, these Amazon stores will be robbed blind. Amazon stores will be the new convenience stores for organized crime. Just rob Amazon stores and Whole Foods day and night. Don't worry there are so few employees, the homeless and casual shoplifters can get it on this too. "Help Yourself,"Amazon's new slogan.
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by SamSpade »

babs wrote: November 24th, 2021, 11:09 pm
Not at all surprised the hot bar closes early. This location has major issues with the homeless and street kids. I've seen people just grab and eat food right off the hot bar. It was downsized during the last remodel probably for this reason. Closing the hot bar just cuts their losses. While this is a busy store, it incurs costs other locations don't have to deal with such as multiple security guards and heavy shoplifting losses. All downtown locations have to deal with this. Often urban stores open with tons of bells and whistles, then slim it down over time. The nearby Stadium Fred Meyer is a classic example of this. The amazing deli has been cut back. The grilled cheese sandwich bar is gone. The expanded meat department has been downsized. Wine bar closed.
Soup to nuts. The bar and sushi train amenities here were great. Of course I'm sure the COVID-19 pandemic took an even larger strike at this.
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Re: Amazon Fresh's cashierless plan falling short

Post by storewanderer »

SamSpade wrote: November 27th, 2021, 11:10 pm
babs wrote: November 24th, 2021, 11:09 pm
Not at all surprised the hot bar closes early. This location has major issues with the homeless and street kids. I've seen people just grab and eat food right off the hot bar. It was downsized during the last remodel probably for this reason. Closing the hot bar just cuts their losses. While this is a busy store, it incurs costs other locations don't have to deal with such as multiple security guards and heavy shoplifting losses. All downtown locations have to deal with this. Often urban stores open with tons of bells and whistles, then slim it down over time. The nearby Stadium Fred Meyer is a classic example of this. The amazing deli has been cut back. The grilled cheese sandwich bar is gone. The expanded meat department has been downsized. Wine bar closed.
Soup to nuts. The bar and sushi train amenities here were great. Of course I'm sure the COVID-19 pandemic took an even larger strike at this.
I do not think consumers are interested in these food bars anymore either. I never see anyone using the food bar at Whole Foods since they reopened it.

I have seen some other grocers try to reopen salad bars, hot food bars, etc. and they also do not appear to have any interest, but did not have much interest before the COVID either.

It does appear consumers are okay with the self serve/loose bakery items and those sell again at a lot of stores.
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