Waitrose ‘Kitchen’ concept propels it into restaurant-style dining

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18:  Waitrose shopping trolleys are stacked outside a branch of the supermarket on November 18, 2015 in Bristol, England. As the crucial Christmas retail period approaches, all the major supermarkets are becoming increasingly competitive to retain and increase their share of the market.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Waitrose customers will soon be able to enjoy a restaurant-style dining experience in the evenings.

The retailer is launching its first official ‘Supper Club’ at its new store in Haywards Heath where customers will be able to have a restaurant-quality meal created by chefs from its three Cookery Schools.

Customers will be able to choose from an exclusive three-course menu, including nibbles and drinks, for £35.

Waitrose will transform the mezzanine level store café for eight evenings throughout April (19th; 20th; 27th and 28th) and May (3rd; 4th, 11th and 12th) and is taking bookings now for the 50 places available each evening.

Music and ambient lighting will feature while people dine and tables will be laid out for both couples and larger groups.

This is the first time the concept has been launched at a new store after it was trialled for a short period last year in its Newbury and Salisbury stores.

Manager of the Waitrose Cookery Schools, Karen Himsworth, said: “This aims to deliver the next level of in store dining at Waitrose, building upon concepts like our sushi bars and wine bars. We want to make our stores a food destination in the evenings as well as in the day.

“We realise a supermarket might not spring to mind when people are thinking about dining out in the evening, but we want that to change. Our aim is to create an atmosphere that is inviting whether you are having a meal for two or out with a group of friends.”

Himsworth said the chain “will look at next steps” after the initial eight dates have finished, but confirmed its aspiration is for the concept to continue at Haywards Heath and to explore how it might introduce at in other branches across the estate.

Waitrose Haywards Heath is only the fourth Waitrose to include its new ‘Kitchen’ concept, which offers customers a wide choice of food including breakfast, lunch and dinner options that are freshly prepared throughout the day to take away or eat in store.

It is also just one of eight Waitrose branches to include a wine bar where customers have the opportunity to enjoy a beer or wine by the glass along with deli platters and tapas.

A sushi bar manned by sushi chefs, who will prepare fresh products in front of customers throughout the day, features too.

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