December 5, 2012
Fresh & Easy Is Having A Hard Time, Likely To Exit The SF Market(s)
As a plugged-in reader wrote two months ago:
I LOVE [Fresh & Easy] but they just announced last week that they're stalling almost all of their US store openings due to the chain's inability to gain traction and likely won't open more than a couple more in the next year. I think the proposed ones (such as this and the South Van Ness location, which they still haven't begun work on) are unlikely to ever open.
Today, the British company formally announced plans to either sell off their U.S. stories or shut them all down. Until a decision is made, it’s business as usual for the existing stores, but it’s likely DOA for their unopened San Francisco locations.
∙ A Fresh & Easy Start On Ocean Avenue? [SocketSite]
∙ Fresh & Easy At 1245 South Van Ness Set For Approval This Week [SocketSite]
First Published: December 5, 2012 1:00 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
How bout a TJ down here on so van ness? It's gentrified enough now. But please, no whole-rip-off-foods. Hate that over priced place.
Posted by: 48yo hipster at December 5, 2012 5:23 PM
TJ's would be great. I wonder if corporate would consider it too close to the SOMA store. It would get alot of Castro/Noe Valley Market as well.
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 5, 2012 5:44 PM
100% self check out just checked out.
Posted by: Stucco_Sux at December 5, 2012 6:37 PM
"100% self check out just checked out."
Clever enough to warrant repeating.
Really like F&E format and most of their lines, but this could be a case study in how not to deploy. I found their self checkout to be almost flaw free but the few times there has been a snag there is never anyone close to proximate and that individual didn't have the customer service skills to help ease the customer's blood pressure back down to a workable range.
The grocery market, particularly in the Bay Area right now (with Sprouts just entering as well), is hyper-competitive. There is no room for error. They really should have come in with a mix of staffed checkout and self checkout.
When given a choice, North American consumers almost always vote for choice.
Posted by: GoodBuyBadTimes at December 5, 2012 6:54 PM
With each failing store at S. Van Ness, I have sent a message via the TJs website on why there should be a TJs there. There's even a pretty big parking lot, not to mention it's in one of the more densely populated parts of the city. Maybe it's time for an online petition!
Posted by: Dan at December 5, 2012 10:03 PM
From my experience, a big sufficient parking lot does not seem to be part of TJ's business model...
Posted by: lol at December 6, 2012 7:48 AM
Would be a shame if they closed the Richmond District store. It's the only alternative to Safeway since all the other grocery stores in the neighborhood have closed and the Masonic TJ's is an ordeal, no matter what time of day you go. The F&E there has lots of parking and very helpful staff. Also makes a point to partner with all the local schools and organizations to assist with fundraising.
Posted by: jaybee at December 6, 2012 7:52 AM
The TJ in South San Francisco, right next to Costco has one of the worst designed parking lots I have ever seen. Just horrible. It is much easier to walk over from Costco's Parking lot.
Posted by: inclinejj at December 6, 2012 8:26 AM
Stonestown mall has plenty of parking.
Posted by: sparky*b at December 6, 2012 8:47 AM
Daly: packed. You might park on the mirror surface parking next to Starbucks.
North Beach: packed
Masonic: a total joke. I have learned to park on Geary next to the closed Japanese furniture place.
The new Hyde @ California: packed the 2 times I went there
2 Santa Barbara locations I know: packed
Posted by: lol at December 6, 2012 9:23 AM
The self checkout is a big problem imo. Too many issues and too few staff to deal with them. Just a hassle. I probably would have given up on them a while back except for the fact that they sell some British items I crave for.
Posted by: amen corner at December 6, 2012 9:47 AM
*All* self-checkout is an increased hassle for the customer in order for the store to save on staff costs. I always refuse to use it.
I was just thinking yesterday we need a TJ's along *some* MUNI line.
Posted by: eh at December 6, 2012 9:54 AM
There's a TJ's right next to the Stonestown stop on the MUNI M line.
The saddest aspect of the potential closing of all Bay Area F&E stores is the one on 3rd Ave in BayView. That's more or less the only real grocery store for a mile or more in every direction. A friend of mine who lives nearby uses it all the time.
Posted by: 4h clubber at December 6, 2012 10:21 AM
If you have to close down in a region that cannot add TJ's stores fast enough, then you should probably adjust your business model...
The Aldi company has understood how to adapt their store-brand discount concept to the US customer. F&E's name for instance is a bit silly. It's as fresh as Safeway, and the automated check-out is sure not really easy on the customer.
Posted by: lol at December 6, 2012 10:49 AM
You would think people in tech savvy SF can handle bar scanner tech that has been around since GHW Bush.
Posted by: wc1 at December 6, 2012 12:08 PM
Bar scanner tech is not the issue, but the main drag is the not very intuitive step-by-step process and the safeguards they put in place.
Most people are not willing to have to think about what they did wrong in their check-out which happens very often. Fail the check out 2 or 3 times and you don't want to come back to that lane. If this is the only option, is this store really cheaper than Safeway's and worth the effort? Nope. Bye bye Fresh and Easy.
Posted by: lol at December 6, 2012 12:47 PM
TJ on South Van Ness, Yes please!!
Posted by: Snark17 at December 6, 2012 1:34 PM
TJ's for all three SF locations. I think even Bayview would support a trimmed down TJ store as would the Portola one. People owning half million dollar houses have money to spend on better grocery options.
Posted by: bayview john at December 6, 2012 3:26 PM
It's official, Fresh & Easy is out of the US market.
Posted by: lol at April 17, 2013 10:39 AM
Posted by: SocketSite at April 17, 2013 11:29 AM