Drink While You Shop at Whole Foods
Last week, we told you of an enterprising Duane Reade drug store in Manhattan that recently opened a growler filling station where it will sell 64 ounce servings of craft beer to-go for just $7.99. Now, it appears Whole Foods is ready to join the party. The national market – known for natural foods and price tags that reflect its quality groceries – has opened bars that serve craft beer and local wine in five stores, with seven more on the way this year.
Unlike the Duane Reade stores, though, Whole Foods will let customers enjoy the beverages while they shop. Glasses will sell from $4 to $10 each, and store executives believe the demand is certainly there. “Coming out of the recession, people are looking for affordable luxuries and more intimate experiences,” Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb told USA Today. Whole Foods will also offer growler jugs of select beers.
The store’s team expects to do more than just make bar sales of beer and wine. Having a drink will encourage shoppers to stay in the store longer, walking around and perusing additional items of interest. Bars will typically be located next to the wine section and should keep people focused on high-margin consumables.
The move to integrate beer and wine by-the-glass sales comes on the heels of Starbucks’ decision to test the same option in a few of its Seattle stores. Whole Foods is being cautious, though, that essentially having a bar in the middle of the store won’t risk its family friendly atmosphere. Even if a bar patron is willing to pay up for four $8 glasses of wine, it can’t replace the weekly volume of soccer moms who might get offended at their shouting or rowdy attitudes.
Walter Robb assures us otherwise. Be prepared to get carded and to have some fun, but the move “is about creating community in the store,” he says. To date, Whole Foods has opened bars in California, Arizona, Texas and Illinois.
Your choice. Your beer. Drink up.