Wegmans Grocery Stores
Best Grocery Store
Few people enjoy the grocery shopping experience. Yet there is one regional grocery store chain that's working hard to change this. This chain provides a wide selection of high quality foods, fresh produce, baked goods, delicious store-prepared meals, a comfortable atmosphere and speedy checkout lines. The prices are amazingly affordable. Best yet, the employees are friendly. This chain is Wegmans.
Wegmans is a regional supermarket chain headquartered in Rochester, NY. It currently operates 81 stores, including 46 in New York, 15 in Pennsylvania, seven in New Jersey, six in Maryland, six in Virginia, and one in Massachusetts.
Wegmans stores are large stores of 80,000 to 140,000 square feet. The large size makes it possible for Wegmans stores to offer a wide selection of over 70,000 products, as compared with the 40,000 products offered by typical grocery stores (according to the Food Marketing Institute).
Wegman stores also include many "stores within a store". Many of these sub-stores sell hot and cold prepared foods, such as a market cafe which sells a large variety of restaurant-quality entrees, soups, appetizers, sandwiches and side dishes. Other prepared food sub-stores include a coffee shop, sushi bar, sub shop, salad bar, seafood and Asian bars, and a pizza and wings shop.
Other "stores within a store" at Wegmans sell specialty foods. These sub-stores include a bakery, patisserie, deli and cheese shop, Nature's Marketplace, and Food From Around the World.
Still other "stores within a store" sell non-food items, including a pharmacy, floral shop, greeting card and gift shop, cosmetics shop, bath and body shop. There are also play areas for kids.
One area where Wegmans could improve their operations is through better inventory management. While it might be impossible for such a large store to insure an adequate inventory of each of their thousands of products, there are a surprisingly large number of times when they run out of specific items.
High Quality Foods
Wegmans carries the most popular grocery brands, along with pricier brands carrying premium prices. The ability to purchase gourmet foods from the same grocery that sells day-to-day foods is a major advantage to shopping at Wegmans. Wegmans also carries a large assortment of high-quality and well-priced products under its Wegmans store brand
Wegmans stores are comfortable. The aisles are wide, and many customers choose smaller grocery carts which make it easier to navigate the store. The produce is laid out in an open area to make it easier to move from one display stand to another. A coffee shop serves hot and cold caffeinated drinks. Hungry customers can enjoy a large variety of hot and cold prepared foods, either on site or to go. Many Wegmans offer occasional entertainment events, including live music and movies. Free WiFi is available (although the signal isn't always strong enough to reach every aisle).
Speedy Checkout Lines
Wegmans stores include a large number of checkout lanes to speed the checkout process. There are enough lanes to accommodate speedy checkout for customers buying small numbers of items. In a recent supermarket survey by Consumer Reports, Wegmans was a leader among supermarkets in checkout speed.
Wegmans has also recently introduced self-checkout lanes at many of its stores to satisfy shoppers who prefer to checkout their own groceries.
Wegmans' prices are amazingly affordable considering the high quality of their merchandise.
One reason Wegmans prices are affordable is its "Consistent Low Prices" program, which locks in low prices for commonly bought items over a long time. For example, at the Wegmans in Amherst, NY, the long list of items offered in this program includes a half gallon of orange juice for $2.49 and bananas for $0.49 per pound, with the prices locked in for 2012. This enables customers to shop with peace of mind without worrying about timing sales.
Wegmans does not generally use "loss leaders". Thus, customers who love a great sale may find better promotions on sale items at other supermarkets. However, Wegmans everyday prices are lower than most of its competitors, and the price for a grocery basket is usually lower at Wegmans. A good strategy is to buy most groceries at Wegmans, and buy just the few items on deep sale at another supermarket.
It is possible to buy cheaper groceries by shopping at discount supermarkets such as Aldi's or Save-A-Lot. However, the quality at these discount supermarkets is usually much lower. Thus, Wegmans offers a better value for all but the most cost-conscious shoppers.
Wegmans is perennially listed among the top five companies on Fortune's annual "Best Companies to Work For" list. As a result, Wegmans employees are happy with their jobs, and friendly to their customers. They go out of their way to help their customers find items, treat their customers courteously, and make the shopping experience more enjoyable.
Rated #1 by Consumer Reports
Wegmans was the top-ranked grocery store according to a 2012 survey by Consumer Reports. The survey was based on responses from more than 24,000 Consumer Reports readers covering nearly 43,000 supermarket locations. Wegmans was a leader in categories including fresh produce, baked goods, visible price labels and checkout speed.