Robots? Yes. Tattoos? Not so much. The facts and fictions surrounding Whole Foods’ new 365 stores have been swirling, but a clearer picture is starting to emerge. And I, for one, am pretty happy I won’t have to worry about hearing people whimper as they get new ink while I’m selecting my kombucha for the week.
So what can we really expect?
1. Smaller stores
First of all, the stores are smaller. Where a traditional Whole Foods stocks 35,000 to 52,000 products, the new stores will top out at around 7,000.
2. Fewer personalized services
To keep operating costs low, they’re also scrapping some of the more personalized services regular Whole Foods stores offer. They’re nixing the butcher, meaning all the meat will be prepackaged. And instead of artfully arranged towers of fruit and veggies, all the produce will be sold right out of the containers they come to the store in.
But they’re adding some fun new touches too.
First off, there’s teaBot, an automated tea barista of sorts that brews cups of custom blends of loose-leaf tea.
4. Wine app
Then there’s Banquet, a custom app created specifically for Whole Foods 365 to help customers select wine in lieu of a traditional sommelier.
5. Outposts of local joints
And, of course, there are some frills. The first location in Silver Lake, California, will contain an outpost of New York vegan restaurant By Chloe as well as an Allegro Coffee Roasters on-site.
So there it is. Tattoos? No. Robots? Yes! It turns out sometimes rumors can be true. And I can’t wait to check them out for myself.