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WegmansTakeout food has been around for a long time. Now it’s gone gourmet – and it’s in your supermarket.

Wegmans has well-established prepared food bars in its Market cafe section. The selections have noticeably expanded in recent months. There are bars for salads, fruit, hot veggies, sushi, homestyle cooking, Italian, Thai, Indian, and Chinese. There are $6 meals already-packaged to go. There are also chefs on hand at stations to cook foods to order.

I did a story this week on Wegmans’ heavy push into vegetarian meals. The stores use a meat substitute that has the taste and texture of chicken. Chickenless Parmesan, anyone?

The Washington Post reports supermarket prepared meals generated $19.5 billion in sales in 2012, up from $5.5 billion in 2011. Wegmans charges $8.49 a pound for meals at its prepared food bars.

What’s driving the growth? Families have always been pressed for time, so I’m not sure I believe that changing lifestyles is the reason. The Post suggested perhaps fewer people know how to cook.

I think the secret to Wegmans’ prepared food success is the food looks and tastes delicious. These are not simple salad bars. These are elaborate buffets with something for everyone. They work for lunch and dinner. Wegmans incorporates the offerings into Menu magazine, so customers can learn to cook the items themselves. The food bars are the ultimate impulse purchase – and we can’t resist.

(Wondering what happens to the prepared food at Wegmans the end of the day?)

Links of the Day:

– Colorado debates how stoned is too stoned to drive. Some say there shouldn’t be a legal threshold for THC in blood, because some have more tolerance than others. But that argument didn’t work when DWI laws were created, even though some people handle their liquor better.

The Holocaust just got more shocking.

Teens are tiring of Facebook.

– The Queen Bee in the office. We’ve all worked with one.

7 Responses to Prepared Wegmans

  1. March 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm Anonymous responds:

    I am not posting my name because, as an employee, I signed a contract that states I will not talk negatively about Wegmans on the internet. That, being said…

    We throw out a DISGUSTING amount of food. It makes me sick to my stomach. It’s totally unacceptable. The article even states, health codes are not the issue. It’s about quality. Starving people would love leftovers. And so would I.

  2. March 3, 2013 at 1:33 am Mittens responds:

    I have more of an issue with the fact that they forced you to sign a contract silencing you than the fact that they throw out food.

  3. Wegmans is no longer the local grocery chain. They are a heartless business that cares for nothing but profit. They’re loyalty to Rochester and the community is gone.

  4. Wegmans is no longer the local grocery chain. They are a heartless business that cares for nothing but profit. Their loyalty to Rochester and the community is gone.

  5. March 4, 2013 at 8:48 am Anonymous responds:

    Mittens, the contract isn’t specifically about food waste. It just states that I won’t bash the company on social media.

    We also have to sign a contract saying that we won’t even TALK to labor unions. That being said, the company provides really incredible benefits for its full-timers.

    • March 4, 2013 at 9:02 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      Can’t talk to labor union? I would love to see that contract. If you can get me a copy, please do. That doesn’t sound legal. Workers have a protected right to organize without retaliation.

  6. March 4, 2013 at 9:25 am Anonymous responds:

    Yeah, I’ll see if that’s possible. I don’t know if I could come up with a legitimate reason to get a copy. They have you sign it in the office, in front of a manager when you’re new.

    I had already been employed for a bit when the policy came about four years ago. The truckers and warehouse workers unionized, so I think it’s a desperate attempt to stay non-union at the store level. I believe corporate is also non-union (they don’t need one).

    It’s a good company, but a few of these policies erk me for sure. They would never claim to fire anyone for talking to a union. But, there are always so many quality applicants that want to work for Weggies, that part-time employees are pretty disposable. Often, they justify termination with a different reason than why they really fired you.

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