Continental-style ‘grazing areas’ where customers can sample baked goods from deli counters in Waitrose are being trialled in a number of stores.
The areas, which will also sell wine by the glass, have been installed at stores in Kingston in Surrey, Cambridge, and Keynsham in Somerset.
Customers can also use iPads in the areas to check the nutrition and calorie content of the range on offer.
A spokesman for Waitrose said: “We’ve been developing our hospitality offer for a number of years. For example, we’ve now got cafés in 109 Waitrose branches – double what we had five years ago,
“As part of this strategy, we will continue to open cafés, but we’re also exploring the idea of having separate grazing areas. Because we’re in the trial phase, we cannot currently say whether, where or when the new concepts will roll out.”
More information will follow in May following an assessment of the trials’ success. In keeping with other supermarkets, which are trying to turn shopping into an experience rather than a chore, Waitrose has had big success with offering free coffee to store card holders and plans to double the number of in-store cafés.
More supermarkets are branching out into deli-style and take-away operations as they compete for market share. Marks & Spencer offers deli-style restaurants, serving wine in some outlets, while Tesco recently bought Giraffe family restaurants and has also invested in Harris + Hoole coffee shops and Euphorium bakeries in selected stores.