ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Publix Super Markets Inc. is taking on quick service restaurants with its launch of a new deli program, reports The St. Augustine Record. Customers can order a sub or sandwich online or using a smartphone, then go to the store to pick it up at the "Easy Online Pickup" sign. Sandwich fixings can be selected by weight and thickness, and other preferences are available as they would be during in-person ordering.
The fee-free pilot program launched in August and has since expanded to include 50 stores in Florida and Georgia.
"The overall concept of this pilot is to enhance the customer experience by elevating the level of service given," said Dwaine Stevens, Publix spokesman in Jacksonville, Fla.
The company's venture into online ordering is something new and unique to the industry, John Fleming, director of communications for the Florida Retail Federation, told the news outlet. "A lot of other players in the grocery industry will be watching to see how this works out," Fleming said. "It really is an example of a grocery store competing like a quick-service restaurant."
So far, the program is a success. "It's still early in the pilot but preliminary reports from customers have been good," Stevens said.