A MAJOR grocery chain is getting rid of a customer service feature due to decreased demand.
Shoppers at the supermarket may soon discover a different experience as some workers are being replaced by machines.
Wegmans has begun a pilot test to replace its in-store Buzz Coffee Shops with self-serve coffee machines.
The company, which operates over 110 stores, claims fewer customers have been using the in-house coffee shops as more people work from home.
“Over the last several years, we have seen a significant change to our coffee business, including a decrease in the morning traffic flow to our Buzz Coffee Shops,” said Wegmans in a statement.
Initially, the machines will be piloted at select stores in Rochester, New York.
But if successful, this new method of serving coffee could become a permanent fixture at all Wegmans stores, which are primarily in the northeast.
The brand reassures shoppers that they will still be able to get the same quality caffeine fix they have become accustomed to.
“We are introducing self-serve coffee machines that allow customers to choose from a variety of specialty and brewed coffee drinks, made freshly just for them,” said Wegmans.
“Coffee-brewing technology has come a long way, and our new self-serve coffee machines use our same high-quality coffee beans and offer a similar menu of lattes, cappuccinos, and brewed coffee drinks.”
The U.S. Sun has contacted Wegmans to confirm the price list for its self-serve coffees.
ROBOTS ARE COMING
But Wegmans isn’t the only store that has turned to machines to replace jobs once performed by humans.
BJ’s has introduced 38-inch tall inventory-checker bots to its 237 club locations nationwide.
Named Tally, these devices use “computer vision technology to collect highly accurate shelf data that ensures products are in-stock, shelved appropriately, and accurately priced,” according to the store.
Meanwhile, at BJ’s competitor Costco, shoppers have lately been disappointed to find that free samples are being distributed without human assistants.
While free samples are a big part of the Costco experience for many members, some stores are now simply handing out samples from a large bin without any representatives present.
Fans have slammed the idea as a version of the “Halloween ‘take one’ basket” and have expressed concerns for the free sample employees.
Replacing human workers with automation doesn’t always work out.
Denny’s recently scrapped its use of robot servers after getting mixed feedback from customers.
And fans have disgruntled feelings about the world’s first-ever fully automated McDonald’s.