Like grocery stores, department stores are learning how to reorganize their space and strategies to respond to online shopping. And the experts involved with revamping Macy’s Taste Bar cafés make convincing arguments that a carefully curated mix of beverages, snacks, grab-and-go foods, gourmet retail items and candy can hit all the right targets to create an in-store food experience that will keep shoppers coming back.
Taste Bars are just one of many foodservice strategies Macy’s has put in place, according to QSR magazine.
“Currently, 20 Macy’s locations have Taste Bars, and 80 others offer restaurants and coffee through partnerships, including The Cheesecake Factory, Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks, and, in New York, the Patina Restaurant Group for high-end restaurants Stella 34, Rowland’s Bar and Grill, and Chef Street," the magazine stated. "Their Signature Kitchen brand is more of a deli model.”
At less than 2,000 square feet each, Taste Bars fit smaller niches with lounge-like seating, a neighborhood-coffee-shop atmosphere, and customer-driven food selections meant to “rest and refresh” shoppers. Bright-red digital signs serve as beacons for these cafés and can be seen across Macy’s spaces. Warren Wolfe, group vice president for Macy’s foodservice, told QSR that “Taste Bars are serving as a growth vehicle for the chain.” He says Macy’s is hoping to double its overall number of foodservice locations from 100 to 200 during the next three to four years.
Shea Design principal Tanya Spaulding, who helps design Taste Bars, sees menu flexibility as key to creating in-store dining that enhances the shopping experience. In some cases, complimentary coffee is a draw, while in other settings, Macy’s Candy Café serves the ultimate goal of keeping customers in store for another half hour or so.
- Flexible, café-style seating rather than rows of tables and chairs
- Customer surveys to enhance menu planning
- Beverage-heavy menus that help fuel shoppers’ trips