- Wegmans has closed the Blue Dalia Restaurant and Tequila Bar at its Natick, Massachusetts, store 18 months after opening, according to Framingham Source. The restaurant ceased operations Saturday.
- A company spokesperson said Blue Dalia fell short of projections as it competed with Wegmans' in-store restaurant and food options like the Burger Bar, sushi and pizza.
- Blue Dalia was Wegman’s first Mexican restaurant and was led by restaurateur, chef and cookbook author Roberto Santibañez.
Blue Dalia was part of a first-of-its-kind store for Wegmans. The Natick location was its first store to operate inside a mall and replaced a former J.C. Penney. The store is two levels, has five different entrances and was also the first Wegmans to operate a full-service Mexican restaurant.
When it first opened, a Wegmans spokesperson told the WB Journal the company wasn't sure how people would shop the store. Blue Dalia may be a casualty of the experimental layout. Working against it, however, is also the fact that fewer people are choosing sit-down options for their meals, according to Forbes, as well as one of Wegmans' strongest offerings: its prepared foods. The grocer even included a number of prepared food stations, including pizza, sushi, salad and the Burger Bar in its new Brooklyn store despite a smaller footprint.
Despite the closure of Blue Dalia, Wegmans operates several successful restaurant concepts that offer a unique experience and convenient dining option for shoppers. The grocer features Its Amore by Wegmans in Rochester, New York, and The Pub by Wegmans at stores in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. It also runs Market Café and Next Door by Wegmans. As the retailer expands its own restaurant footprint, its restaurant partnerships may decrease to avoid overlapping with its own offerings.
H-E-B and Whole Foods may also find themselves in a similar predicament. Both have added restaurants alongside their in-store prepared foods departments. H-E-B operates 3 Double-0 Nine, Oaks Crossing, Table 620 and True Texas BBQ while Whole Foods maintains the Big Smoke BBQ, Bowls of Goodness, Cocina Mexicana, Mama Pizzeria and the WOK Street. Hy-Vee has also partnered with Wahlburgers to open at least 26 restaurants adjacent to its store locations.