CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Harris Teeter has launched a new prototype store here that showcases its in-store prepared foods and features new elements designed to pump up sales.
The new elements, which include a huge offering of prepacked meals, an aggressive demo program and a team of highly trained chefs who constantly interact with customers, are ingredients in a strategy to emphasize both the quality and the value of the fare.
A variety of chef-made entrees and side dishes that has more than doubled, and cross merchandising the items in other departments of the store, are also part of the game plan.
All this activity signals a turnaround in home-meal replacement philosophy for the 141-unit chain, based here. After earlier extensive in-store production at selected stores, the company had begun to source an increasing amount of its prepared foods from outside. "But we've found that our customers are most interested in what's made in-store," said David Michael Slater, executive chef at the new, 56,000-square-foot unit that opened its doors here Feb. 18. He also said that in some regions the company had run into some distribution and/or quality snags with outside-sourced meal components.
Now, here and in future stores, most of the home-meal replacement production will be done on-site, according to Slater. For some products, components will be freshly made at Harris Teeter's commissary and delivered to stores to be assembled there, he said.