Oh, how we love Trader Joe's. From their snack foods to staple canned goods, TJ's is the place to find all the newest flavors. But will the company ever provide a place to eat in its stores? On an episode of the "Inside Trader Joe's" podcast with CEO Bryan Palbaum and vice-CEO Jon Basalone, the leaders quashed the idea of opening restaurants in its popular grocery stores. "False," Palbaum replied when asked about the possibility.
In-store dining has been a recent trend for grocery stores around the United States. Whole Foods has offered seating for customers purchasing from their prepared foods sections for some time and trendy Ehrwon operates a cafe where you can indulge in their splurge-worthy buffalo cauliflower and smoothies. Even grocery giants Kroger and Wegman's have entered the restaurant market within their stores, providing shoppers with a place to not only eat but to buy ready-to-eat meals to take home.
Trader Joe's Won't Be Your Date Night Dinner Location
Trader Joe's locations are quite a bit smaller than other grocery chains. Trader Joe's stores average 8,000 to 15,000 square feet, compared to a typical Safeway store, which boasts around 46,000 square feet. Trader Joe's packs its stores with so many affordable choices for their customers that it would be hard to imagine where they'd have the space needed for a restaurant or even a seating area.
What about a drive-through? On the same podcast episode, Palbaum and Basalone nixed the idea of drive-through service and self-serve checkouts. Trader Joe's is noted for not following large grocery chain trends; their focus is on knowing who the customers are as they shop in the store and providing friendly interactions with knowledgeable crew members -- and that's too important to sacrifice.
Don't expect to dine in your local Trader Joe's, but don't worry, if you don't enjoy what you brought home to eat, the store is happy to refund you. It's all part of keeping you coming back time after time.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.