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LAKELAND, Fla. - In response to customer demand and growing fast-casual competition, Publix Super Markets here will test a new prepared foods lineup comprised of seven different service-oriented stations in one of its newest stores, slated to open April 12 in Lake Mary, Fla.
Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous told Progressive Grocer yesterday that the new program "will be a unique feature of the store, and a test for us going forward."
The seven stations, which Brous called "venues," are:
-- Pacific Wok, with inspired selections such as Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork;
-- The Grill, with Beef Brisket, London Broil, and other freshly prepared meats;
-- The Rotisserie, with the classic, rotisserie chicken, as well as popcorn shrimp, fish fillets, and steak;
-- Chef's Selection, with chefs' original creations, including peel-and-eat shrimp, hummus, and spring rolls;
-- Handcrafter Sandwiches, featuring homemade breads and varieties such as Mozzarella and Basil;
-- Custom Salads, where customers can create their own salads; and
-- Mediterranean Oven, a pizza program.
The program is a test that the chain will closely observe, and consider for future deli programs, Brous said. Publix's traditional deli features such as prepared chicken and sub sandwiches, will still be offered in the store, she added.
The retailer's internal chefs, which have helped create its popular Aprons program, helped create many of the recipes for the new program.
Prices for the items will range on average from $7.99 to $11.
"We're competing with fast-casual restaurants, and we understand that all our customers have different needs," said Brous. "Some of them want to shop the store and cook from scratch, while others want to grab something already prepared and take it home. This merges the best of both worlds."
The store will provide cafe seating for customers who want to eat in the store. However, the company is using durable take-out packaging for customers who choose to take their items home, she said.
-- Jenny McTaggart