Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Alpha8472
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Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by Alpha8472 » July 4th, 2019, 12:33 pm

Target got rid of the hot food and replaced it with a self serve snack bar with self checkout at my local store. It has self serve cups, Coke Freestyle Soda machine, packaged food, and bins of fruit. As if anyone will pay for this free buffet.

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by BatteryMill » July 4th, 2019, 3:12 pm

I've seen one at my nearest fully-remodeled Target - while it does fill the gap in some ways, it doesn't seem to be the same as the full-service snack bar that previously existed. I enjoy their traditional offerings and I'd want Target to stick to them even as times change in retail. Food Avenues are certainly a part of their charm and it serves a purpose for guests who'd like to get some ready-made food out of their stores.

With that being said, I have some questions that went unanswered in another Target thread. Were their food service options drawing guest crowds in the past? How did they manage to continue implementing these in new stores until recently? It somewhat makes me curious as to the direction of their Food Avenues and if they have become troubling assets for Target.

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by Alpha8472 » July 4th, 2019, 4:59 pm

Team members say they are phasing out hot food. Apparently few customers were eating the hot food, and only team members ate there regularly. It is losing money by paying fees to Pizza Hut since not enough Pizza Hut food is being sold. Only, Starbucks makes money.
Last edited by Alpha8472 on July 5th, 2019, 3:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by storewanderer » July 4th, 2019, 8:39 pm

Alpha8472 wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 4:59 pm
Team members says they are phasing out hot food. Apparently few customers were eating the hot food, and only team members ate there regularly. It is losing money by paying fees to Pizza Hut since not enough Pizza Hut food is being sold. Only, Starbucks makes money.
Target Food Avenue struggled to get $1 for a cup of pretty good coffee (would have some good holiday blends, etc.). Starbucks has no trouble getting $2.25 for a cup of coffee minus the holiday blends.

Target Food Avenue struggled to get $1.25 for a large tub of freshly made popcorn served hot from a machine that requires extensive cleaning (labor) each day. Starbucks has no trouble getting about $2 for a bag of vacuum packed weeks old popcorn that is a fraction of the size and requires no equipment and almost no labor to sell.

I can see how they realized how much easier it is to make money on food commanding the prices that Starbucks charges.

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by Super S » July 5th, 2019, 6:58 am

Target was pretty consistent in offering food service in most, if not all, of their stores. It's interesting how they have done an "about face" recently. But look at other discounters....Walmart has mostly phased out their "Radio Grill" in favor of McDonalds, Subway, etc. (And in some cases has removed restaurants during remodels) And Kmart eliminated the restaurant altogether in a good chunk of their stores, converting it into additional retail space. And many department stores also once had restaurants. It is clear that the restaurants have limited appeal to those not shopping in the stores and really aren't money makers in most cases.

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by babs » July 5th, 2019, 9:03 am

storewanderer wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 8:39 pm
Alpha8472 wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 4:59 pm
Team members says they are phasing out hot food. Apparently few customers were eating the hot food, and only team members ate there regularly. It is losing money by paying fees to Pizza Hut since not enough Pizza Hut food is being sold. Only, Starbucks makes money.
Target Food Avenue struggled to get $1 for a cup of pretty good coffee (would have some good holiday blends, etc.). Starbucks has no trouble getting $2.25 for a cup of coffee minus the holiday blends.

Target Food Avenue struggled to get $1.25 for a large tub of freshly made popcorn served hot from a machine that requires extensive cleaning (labor) each day. Starbucks has no trouble getting about $2 for a bag of vacuum packed weeks old popcorn that is a fraction of the size and requires no equipment and almost no labor to sell.

I can see how they realized how much easier it is to make money on food commanding the prices that Starbucks charges.
I worked at Target in the 90's and spent my fair time behind the snack bar. About a third of our sales were for popcorn. We sold a ton of it. Probably popped a new batch once or twice an hour. It really wasn't that hard to clean. Cleaning up the grill was much harder since we sold so few hanburgers or chicken sandwiches, and those were mostly to employees. There was no coffee at that time. Probably 80% of the business was popcorn, soda and hot dogs. As you can imagine those three products didn't really fit the image of an "upscale discount store" as they described themselves back then. Starbucks does way more business than Food Ave ever did, has better margins, and fits the theme of the store much better than a snack bar. Their main target customer are women, especially moms. Popcorn and hot dogs, (or pizza hut pizza or Taco bell tacos) doesn't exactly fit that demographic like coffee. I laugh at some of these comments because businesses need to look at who their customer is and figure out what they want.

As for Walmart, I think they should have talked to Starbucks about putting in Seattle's Best Coffee shops in their stores. While Subway or McDonald's is a decent fit in some locations, in some of their more urban locations they would probably do better with a coffee shop. I know they tested a coffee shop in a few locations years ago but it wasn't using a major brand name, and brands matter.

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by storewanderer » July 5th, 2019, 9:05 am

Super S wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 6:58 am
Target was pretty consistent in offering food service in most, if not all, of their stores. It's interesting how they have done an "about face" recently. But look at other discounters....Walmart has mostly phased out their "Radio Grill" in favor of McDonalds, Subway, etc. (And in some cases has removed restaurants during remodels) And Kmart eliminated the restaurant altogether in a good chunk of their stores, converting it into additional retail space. And many department stores also once had restaurants. It is clear that the restaurants have limited appeal to those not shopping in the stores and really aren't money makers in most cases.
Wal Mart has also added food service in the deli as they have expanded into supercenters, among other food options from the grocery aisles that employees can pick up and eat during work breaks.

I think with Target it really came down to the dollars. I suspect historically they operated Food Avenue as a breakeven concept and were happy to provide the service to the customers and employees. Then, they got heavy into the Starbucks kiosk business. Suddenly they actually turned a profit. And there is no spoilage. Limited equipment to maintain. Limited amount of perishable ingredients (milk?). Way higher prices for lesser portion of product that is not even made in store. It is so much easier to make a profit with a Starbucks, even with low volume, compared to the Food Avenue or Pizza Hut concepts.

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by storewanderer » July 5th, 2019, 9:21 am

babs wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 9:03 am


I worked at Target in the 90's and spent my fair time behind the snack bar. About a third of our sales were for popcorn. We sold a ton of it. Probably popped a new batch once or twice an hour. It really wasn't that hard to clean. Cleaning up the grill was much harder since we sold so few hanburgers or chicken sandwiches, and those were mostly to employees. There was no coffee at that time. Probably 80% of the business was popcorn, soda and hot dogs. As you can imagine those three products didn't really fit the image of an "upscale discount store" as they described themselves back then. Starbucks does way more business than Food Ave ever did, has better margins, and fits the theme of the store much better than a snack bar. Their main target customer are women, especially moms. Popcorn and hot dogs, (or pizza hut pizza or Taco bell tacos) doesn't exactly fit that demographic like coffee. I laugh at some of these comments because businesses need to look at who their customer is and figure out what they want.

As for Walmart, I think they should have talked to Starbucks about putting in Seattle's Best Coffee shops in their stores. While Subway or McDonald's is a decent fit in some locations, in some of their more urban locations they would probably do better with a coffee shop. I know they tested a coffee shop in a few locations years ago but it wasn't using a major brand name, and brands matter.
Target's food operation definitely was not consistent with its image until they got Starbucks in which was a good coup. A "Panera Express" concept would also really fit their image.

Wal Mart has multiple tenant spaces in many of its stores and theoretically could add in a coffee operation in addition to whatever is already inside the store selling food. The thing with Wal Mart is you can't get high priced concepts in there; they don't work; they are just not consistent with the Wal Mart employee or customer who is more value driven and price conscious.

Someone tried adding some kind of ice cream/boba tea to a couple Wal Marts here and they were out of business within about 6 months, despite positioning right in front of self checkout/online pick-up. These food service tenants sell a ton of coffee to Wal Mart employees but need a lower price to drive the sales. When the S. Carson Store referred to below lost McDonalds with its $1 coffee and the Nathan's/Little Caesars opened, they tried to price coffee and sodas at more "normal" prices (higher $1's to lower $2's) and the amount of pushback from the Wal Mart employees was so bad they ended up cutting the price on the coffee (did not cut the soda pricing though).

In my area, Wal Mart has a ton of food tenants. These are all supercenters.
1. Reno: Lemmon Drive: Subway (original food tenant)
2. Reno: 2nd St.: McDonalds (original food tenant) *newest location in the market
3. Reno: Kietzke Ln.: Wendys (original food tenant but relocated during a store expansion)
4. Reno: Damonte Ranch Pkwy.: Burger King (original food tenant was Radio Grill, then Blimpie, now a Burger King with real short hours). This store has a ton of fast food in its parking lot (Carls Jr., Jack in the Box, KFC, Starbucks, Del Taco, donuts, Qdoba)
5. Sparks: McDonalds (original food tenant)
6. Carson City (N): McDonalds (original food tenant)
7. Carson City (S): Nathan's/Little Caesars (original food tenant was McDonalds, which closed a few years ago)
8. Fallon: McDonalds (original food tenant)
9. Fernley: Subway (original food tenant)
10. Gardnerville: Subway (original food tenant)

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by cjd » July 5th, 2019, 12:29 pm

I have only been to one Target, and it had the Starbucks so I can't offer any observations.

Although, I think in the past some of these operations used to do quite well. Kmart here used to do a pretty good business in their snack bar, because the store was connected to the mall. The mall corridor and Kmart would open earlier in the morning, and many of the mall walker crowd would go into the Kmart for breakfast. I believe the popcorn and Icees were also good sellers during the day.

I doubt any snack bars would necessarily draw people to the store in themselves, but at one time it seemed like that Kmart one, as well as the Walmart one even before Radio Grille, were places that 'regulars' would eat at. Mostly older people I recall.

One thing I see with Walmart, is if a town has a Walmart, it likely already has a McDonald's or a Subway. I can think of one mid 2000s era Walmart that had a Subway inside the store, and another small strip mall at front had its own storefront Subway. Not sure this is still the case, but it didn't make much sense. The Walmart here was a snack bar, then a Radio Grille during the Supercenter expansion of the late 90s, then Blimpie in early 2000s and now its a Dunkin Donuts. It seems to me that Dunkin doesn't do much business in this location. I rarely see much traffic in that area, although I don't go in or out that entrance.

I recall one 90s era Supercenter that had a seating area at the back near the deli counter. That may have been done away in favor of something else up front now though.

Back to Target, the self serve snack bar sounds similar to what Kmart did at some stores when they eliminated the hot food portion and only offered Icees, sodas and popcorn at the front of the stores. This required much less labor by eliminating food preparation (and possibly need for health code compliance, or at least majority of it.)

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Re: Target Self Serve Snack Bar

Post by babs » July 6th, 2019, 12:48 am

Just keep in mind that Costco sets the standard for in-store food service!

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