Canadian grocer Longo Brothers Fruit Market next week plans to debut a store format focusing on meals and snacks.
Called Pronto Eats, the 1,000-square-foot, convenience-based grocery store is set to open Aug. 26 inside the Hudson’s Bay Centre shopping mall and office development in downtown Toronto. Longo’s said the outlet will carry a wide variety of ready-to-eat and semi-prepared meal and snack options, along with a specialized Longo’s Café service.
Longo’s said Pronto Eats caters to busy workers and commuters by offering a range of choices for each of the 35 meal and snacking occasions per week. The store also will offer delivery and free pickup through the retailer’s Grocery Gateway online service.
Located at Yonge and Bloor Streets, Pronto Eats is in the heart of Toronto’s PATH underground pedestrian complex, which has 30 kilometers of shopping and entertainment and connects more than 50 buildings and office towers, Longo’s noted.
“For those who work inside or nearby, the PATH is a place where time, quality and convenience intersect, and this is at the core of what Pronto Eats plans to deliver,” Rosanne Longo, consumer spokesperson and brand ambassador at Longo’s, said in a statement.
In addition, Pronto Eats will mark Longo’s first cashless store, allowing customers to skip the checkout line by paying for their items via the Ritual food app on their smartphones.
“While the size of the store is a smaller scale than what our guests are used to, the fundamentals of the business remain unchanged. No matter the concept, location or size of the store, we are committed to carrying only the highest quality of food and merchandise, matched with excellent guest service,” Longo added.
For the Pronto Eats grand opening event, the first 250 customers will receive a Longo’s Mystery Card in values of $5 to $500 for use toward their purchase at the new store.
Pronto Eats was piloted earlier this summer at Longo’s Maple Leaf Square store, emerging from the retailer’s Meals Made Easy concept.
In the Meals Made Easy program, a centrally located kiosk merchandises the fresh ingredients needed for a meal. Shoppers hand-select their produce, meats, starches and garnishes to create a specific meal or follow a certain recipe. Recipes and step-by-step cooking guides are available at the kiosk and online.
“Our pilot test was designed to evaluate approachability and the depth of demand for this style of convenience,” Longo explained. “The response from our guests was overwhelmingly positive, and we are thrilled to now bring this concept to life in an ideal location for our demographic and brand.”
Plans call for Longo’s to expand the meals concept to all of its 34 stores in Ontario by next spring.
Vaughan, Ontario-based Longo’s said it also aims to open new stores in East Gwillimbury and in Toronto’s Liberty Village section in the coming months. Most recently, the retailer opened a 40,000-square-foot store at Yonge Sheppard Centre in North York, Ontario. The location features a Living Well section focused on health-related products, an in-house dietitian, a fresh juice bar, a Starbucks coffee shop, and Longo’s trademark Loft Cooking School and Corks Beer and Wine Bar, which also is offered at the chain’s Maple Leaf Square and Leaside stores.
“Each of our upcoming stores involved us turning our attention to consumer demands and investing money where it really matters most to our guests,” Longo said.
*Editor's Note: Article updated with new store photos.