A deli display at Top's Henrietta, New York store.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Tops introduced new hot bar items.
The new comfort foods —including pulled pork and St. Louis ribs — have been popular with customers.
Tops partners with local brands known near each location, such as The Anchor Bar, known as the creator of the first buffalo wing.
Upstate New York locations partner with Tim Horton's for coffee.
Tops revamped its pizza program last fall with new specialty pizzas.
Cold grab-and-go pizzas are merchandised in the box for the full pizzeria experience.
Tops offers grab-and-go sandwiches, heated pitas, croissant sandwiches and made-to-order sandwiches.
The chain has been seeing more interest in made-to-order sandwiches and see it as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition, said Jeff Culhane, VP of perishable sales and merchandising.
The prepared foods departments collaborate with the bakery department for breakfast, offering baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and coffee.
Karri Zwirlein, category manager of deli, prepared foods and specialty cheese, approximated that 40% of Tops' deli offerings are made from scratch.
As Tops has expanded to new locations, converting existing retailers to Tops banners, the chain has made sure to work closely with the store team to get to know the shoppers’ prepared foods preferences, said Culhane.
“While we try to incorporate the core Tops programs into those stores, we do allow that store to kind of keep that local flair, that local offering so the consumer still connects to that store even though the front of the banner may change to now say Tops; it still maintains its local niche,” Culhane said.
Tops Friendly Markets caters its prepared food and deli offerings in each store to the tastes of the customers in the market.
Read More: Tops freshens prepared foods program
Photos by Vasiliy Baziuk
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