As a Rochester, NY native, I have been patiently waiting for this day, the day that Wegmans is recognized as the best grocery chain in the U.S. and thanks to Market Force Information’s annual survey of the industry, that day has come.
Not even in the rankings last year, Wegmans scored a 76% in overall satisfaction surpassing Trader Joe’s for the top spot.
Wegmans is an 88-location grocery store born in Rochester, NY in 1916 by Walter and John Wegman. Today the family-owned chain is run by CEO Danny Wegman and his daughter Colleen who serves as President.
If you ask anyone from Rochester who has migrated elsewhere what they miss the most, it’s almost guaranteed that Wegmans will be 1 of their top 3 answers. So what is it that makes Wegmans so near and dear to the hearts of those who have experienced it?
Wegmans’ Size and Selection
To start off, Wegmans is relatively larger than most grocery stores because of the inclusion of specialty offerings you rarely find anywhere else such as market cafes, coffee bars, pizzerias, sushi bars, made-to-order sandwiches and buffets for customers to choose from. There is also plenty of seating for them to sit down and enjoy their food. Some store seating areas can fit anywhere from 100-300 patrons.
Craft beer fans will enjoy Wegmans for its extensive selection offered. Some locations even have a walk-in beer cooler.
The largest Wegmans stores stock anywhere from 50,000-70,000 product choices which is as least 25% more than the 40,000 products the Food Marketing Institute reports is carried in an average grocery store. The 75,000-140,000 square foot size of an average Wegmans will seem monstrous to those used to shopping at Trader Joe’s.
Another great aspect of Wegmans is that employees are motivated to work hard by the appreciation shown in their benefits coverage and college scholarship offerings. The company pays out around $4.5 million in tuition assistance to its employee each year.
Market Force says, “its focus on employee training to ensure customers have the best experience has been a winning strategy that creates superfans eager for a new location to open near their home.”
Wegmans is also well-known for its exceptional customer service and has created a fan base that spans more than just the regional New York area. With more than 4,000 people contacting Wegmans requesting a store to open in the Maryland and Virginia areas stores are slated to open there later in the year.
More than 7,300 loyal customers contacted Wegmans last year to share their gratitude for a positive shopping experience.
Wegmans overall strategy for growth seems to be working well. With less than a quarter of the stores as Trader Joe’s its $7.9 billion dollar annual sales revenue isn’t that far behind Trader Joe’s $11.3 billion from their 400 stores.
It will be interesting to see as Wegmans continues to grow if it can continue its reign. A feat that superfans like myself are surely hoping for.