As if Whole Foods didn’t already have a vice grip on wandering shoppers, they have now added an in-store bar feature to some stores. Opening up five test runs in California, Arizona, Illinois, and Texas over the past year and a half, plans for expansion into even Hawaii are on the horizon. The offerings? Local wine and craft beer, which supermarket experts expect to help keep shoppers in the store longer and increase sales significantly. The wine and beer trend has been expanding as pilot projects within various chains nationwide including Starbucks are picking up steam.
While the bar may improve the mood of shoppers and keep them in the store longer, some are concerned it will lead to unwelcomed behavior in the grocery store. Whole Foods is arguably known for its community feel with super store prices (for organics). With the potential of drunken behavior inside the store, the community feel may quickly be diminished. Whole Foods representatives have not experienced this type of behavior or set back yet. As alcohol starts to enter more establishments, promoting casual drinking while shopping, the future societal impacts are unclear.
For those shopping for local wines and beers though, this comes as great news. With the addition of bars, shoppers can more easily taste wine and beer without having to purchase an entire bottle or pack. They also offer growler jugs for those interested in closing the loop on their bottle purchasing.