BARRINGTON, Ill. (FNS) -- Jewel Food Stores has added a service gourmet coffee cafe in its remodeled 60,000-square-foot Jewel-Osco combination store here, which reopened April 13.
The 480-square-foot cafe, placed in the front of the store, was developed with Nicholas A. Papanicholas & Sons, a regional gourmet coffee bean company based in Batavia, Ill., and Cafe Concepts, a Westmont, Ill., restaurant operator.
My Own Cafe -- a name taken from the Papanicholas slogan on its bagged coffee, "my own brand" -- will offer brewed coffee, both regular and flavored, plus a variety of the specialty coffee and espresso-based drinks such as cappuccino and lattes made popular by coffee cafe operators like Starbucks.
There is no seating in the Jewel cafe, according to Jewel spokesperson Dianne Maffia.
The cafe includes a section selling Papanicholas bagged beans and coffee accessories such as grinders and espresso makers.
Both Maffia and Vaughn Papanicholas, vice president of production for the family business, said this suburban Chicago location was a test of the coffee cafe concept, with expansion plans hinging on the results.
"We understand the interest customers have in gourmet coffee and see this as a nice service," said Maffia.
Papanicholas has been running a free sampling program for its bagged coffees in 23 Chicago-area Jewel stores as well some independent supermarkets in the Houston area. "Where we've tracked the results, the sampling has increased sales dramatically," said Papanicholas.
His firm distributes coffee to Dominick's, Treasure Island and Chicago independents, plus supermarkets in Minneapolis, St. Louis, San Antonio and Houston.
The Jewel location is Papanicholas's first attempt at a coffee cafe, though he noted the firm is looking at the possibility of freestanding cafes as well.
Cafe Concepts is working with the coffee company to develop the My Own Cafe concept and will run the Jewel location, said Papanicholas. "We know how to make a good cup of coffee, but we don't know the restaurant business."
The gourmet coffee cafe is one of the fastest-growing segments of the restaurant industry. The Specialty Coffee Association of America, Long Beach, Calif., put the number of specialty coffee beverage retailers, including cafes, kiosks and espresso carts, at 2,750 at the end of 1994.