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Wegmans replacing baristas at some stores with automated coffee machines

Beth Adams/WXXI News

Wegmans is experimenting with some changes to the coffee bars located in its supermarkets.

Some of them in the Rochester area will sell specialty coffees with machines rather than Wegmans employees.

The Rochester-based supermarket chain said that it’s in the process of piloting a self-serve coffee model at select stores in Rochester. That would involve machines that allow customers to choose from a variety of specialty and brewed coffee drinks, made fresh for the customer.

Wegmans said that coffee brewing technology has come a long way, and said “our new self-serve coffee machines use our same high-quality coffee beans and offer a similar menu of lattes, cappuccinos, and brewed coffee drinks.”

Supermarket analyst Burt Flickinger of Strategic Resource Group said that he understand the need to be more efficient to help lower prices, but he also thinks this could hurt Wegmans reputation for being service oriented at those coffee bars.

“I think there’s a real demand-risk here that competitors can capitalize on over Wegmans stores and Wegmans in-store caffeinated beverage sales, particularly in the morning on the way to work,” said Flickinger.

When Wegmans opened a store in Reston, Virginia earlier this year, it said the supermarket featured "a self-serve coffee station featuring Wegmans’ signature coffee, hot cocoa, and espresso drinks."

Wegmans said that it will monitor the success of the pilot program going on now in the Rochester area and continue to evaluate the future of its coffee shops as the process moves forward.

Copyright 2023 WXXI News. To see more, visit WXXI News.