SEATTLE (FNS) -- Kroger's QFC unit in Seattle's University Village has recently completed a facelift that updates and underscores the operator's commitment to fresh foods.
While all the perishable departments were upgraded with additional footage and new fixtures, the deli department was radically repositioned to meet the needs of the campus crowd and more affluent residents.
The two most significant changes have been the move from service to self-service within the sandwich and salad programs, and the inclusion of a chef-staffed hot-foods station.
Prior to the remodel, the deli department's showcase was a walk-around merchandiser large enough for service staff to work within. The footprint featured hot grilled panini sandwiches along with specialty selections. Additionally, tossed salads were made to order, resembling the offerings at Cucina! Cucina!, a casual restaurant chain.
That fixture has been replaced with two self-service, walk-around merchandisers measuring about five feet by 10 feet. One features cheeses, while the other holds prepackaged Boar's Head items that include hot dogs, sauerkraut, cheeses and bacon, plus grab-and-go items such as quiche, dip and vegetable trays, whole-roasted chicken, chicken wing trays, and miscellaneous party trays. The dairy department, moved to the opposite back corner next to wine and beer, has been overrun by more self-service deli options that include premade sandwiches and four self-serve soups and whole chickens that are kept hot.
The remodeled deli runs from near the front of the store to the back wall, adjacent to the bakery and produce departments, and in close proximity to meat and seafood service displays.
Carved meats, once positioned in refrigerated cases in prepacked guises, have swung to a full-service style. A toque-wearing associate staffs a hot case with fried chicken and other fried items in addition to the "Chef's Kitchen" carvery station. On the day SN toured the store, turkey and prime rib were being offered, freshly cut to order.
The balance of the service case includes four feet of refrigerated pasta, eight feet of Boar's Head items, other brands of meats and cheeses, and entree items like lasagna, smoked pork ribs and Waldorf salad. In line with the service case is a self-service merchandiser running 12 feet with specialty cheeses.
In the back of the department, across an aisle from the "Chef's Kitchen," a 10-bin merchandiser dubbed "Gourmet Salad" presents a self-serve canvas of wild greens, carrot raisin, Caesar, quinoa, bacon pea and Chinese cabbage salads. These items are offered at $6.99 per pound.
Across an aisle from the "Gourmet Salad" station is QFC's "Olive & Antipasto Bar," where for $8.99 per pound customers can select from an assortment of nine olives.