Longo's pilots meal-based shopping

Longo’s is piloting a new meal-based shopping model at a downtown Toronto store.

The pilot project consists of three specially developed kiosks at the Longo’s location at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Square, near the city’s downtown core. The kiosks are located next to the store’s kitchen and feature all the fresh ingredients required for three different meal recipes so customers can pick up everything they need in one spot.

“As far as we know, no one else in Canada is doing this,” Longo’s project lead John Fiorino told Grocery Business. “We want to make it fun, easier and quicker for our guests to shop, and it’s a way for people with very busy lifestyles to avoid falling into bad eating habits, which is so easy to do if you’re always on the run.”

CBSF built the kiosk frames

The store is in a part of the city that has a high proportion of millennial residents, whose lifestyle is a good fit for meal-based shopping.

The three recipes – meat, vegetarian and fish – emphasize simplicity of preparation. Fiorino says that on Friday mornings one of the recipes will be replaced with a slightly more elaborate option for weekend dining. Meal sizing is flexible so customers can select according to the number of people they’re cooking for. During the launch phase, Longo’s is running recipe samplings between 4 and 6 p.m. every day to educate customers, Fiorino says. Customer response so far has been very positive, he says.

Recipes are available electronically and in print

Each kiosk features a standard cooler, shelving, a digital screen that displays the recipe and a tablet device where customers can enter their email address to receive recipes electronically. Printed recipe cards are also available. The 4 by 9 ft. frames are built by Canada’s Best Store Fixtures (CBSF).

The project is billed as a pilot because it’s something Longo’s hasn’t done before, Fiorino says. While there will likely be a few modifications and tweaks based on customer response, the company already plans to roll out the new model to all 33 stores by next spring.

Photos courtesy of Longo's

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