- Wegmans is testing out self-service coffee machines at a select number of its upstate New York stores, per local news reports.
- The pilot, which is taking place at an undisclosed number of Rochester stores, allows customers to make a variety of drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos and brewed coffee drinks, News10NBC reported.
- Wegmans is exploring new coffee options due to changes in its coffee business, per the report. This comes at a time when grocers are once again grappling with shifting consumer behavior as earlier pandemic-driven behaviors ease.
Wegmans’ is looking to brew up new coffee options after recording a decrease in morning traffic at its in-store Buzz Coffee Shops, which are staffed by the grocer’s workers, according to local reports.
In a statement to News10NBC, a Wegmans spokesperson said that coffee-brewing technology “has come a long way” and noted that the new self-serve machines use “our same high-quality coffee beans and offer a similar menu” to what customers can find at Buzz.
It’s unclear when the pilot started and how long it will last. Wegmans did not respond to media inquiries from Grocery Dive by publication time.
“As always, we’ll monitor the success of this new program, and continue to evaluate the future of our coffee shops as we move forward,” the Wegmans spokesperson told News10NBC.
The grocery industry has seen foot traffic rise as pandemic restrictions and concerns have eased, though high gas prices have cut into some of those trip gains. The grocery sector saw a 3.1% drop in foot traffic in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, according to Placer.ai.
The self-serve coffee pilot comes at a time when grocers are figuring out how to balance automation with their workforces in areas like checkout, service departments and e-commerce fulfillment.
Wegmans has a history of innovation and trying out new concepts to bolster its business, with stores around its headquarters in Rochester often serving as testing grounds. Earlier this year, the grocer started piloting smart carts from Shopic at two New York stores — one in Amherst and another in Rochester. The grocer also recently launched an online tool called “Feel Your Best” to help shoppers plan balanced meals and build healthy eating habits.
Wegmans has also not shied away from making tough choices to benefit its bottom line. Last year, it decided to end the use of its scan-and-go shopping app three years after launching it at a Rochester store.