ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Wegmans will permanently shutter its in-store bar/restaurant concept called The Pub, the Grocery Dive reports. The Pub, which closed service during the lockdown phase of the coronavirus pandemic, had a dozen locations in Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. (For more on the concept, read “Raising the Bar,” from the September 2019 issue of NACS Magazine.)
However, that doesn’t mean Wegmans is getting out of the restaurant business. Concepts that have limited service include the Burger Bar with delivery and curbside service and Next Door with a sushi and comfort food menu, pickup service and limited indoor and outdoor seating will remain. An Italian concept will re-open later in 2020. A spokesperson told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle: “We are focused on applying our culinary expertise to the increasing demand for fast, casual meal solutions available in our stores, for pickup, and through delivery.”
The first The Pub opened nearly a decade ago in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. However, those sit-down dining experiences became more of a resource drain during COVID-19, and Wegmans wants to move culinary resources to different meal solutions.
Some grocers are slowly reopening self-service stations, in-store restaurants and salad bars. Other supermarkets are choosing to keep restaurants and self-service options dark. “We really believe there are going to be customers that are never going to come back to the salad bar or any self-service stations, or even the deli,” said Mike Tilden, director of deli and bakery for Balls Food Stores. “That fear is probably not going to go away until there is a vaccine, and [for some] it still may not.”
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.