Whole Foods “The Roast” draws in new customers

Katie Wood, Author

This past June, Whole Foods, a very popular health grocery store, opened up a new addition- The Roast. The Roast is a “build-it-yourself” bowl restaurant where you can personalize what you’d like to eat. There are many Whole Foods stores scattered throughout the country, but one in particular, the Whole Foods located on Ponce, has made the addition.

There is an assembly line type counter that customers walk down and pick different proteins and toppings for their bowls. In addition to the bowl concept, there are other meals available for ordering off the menu. All of the food has a South American flare, hence the Brazilian theme that customers seem to love.

A major part of the income for Whole Foods is their hot bar, where you can go to pick up already prepared meals of whatever it is that they have prepared for that day, such as various meats, vegetables, and salad. The Roast is a fairly similar concept, drawing concerns of taking business from the hot bar.

“We thought it would take away some of the business from the hot bar , but it actually hasn’t,” William Morris said, a team manager for The Roast. “I think it’s drawing more people into the store. We haven’t seen any drop in the sales.”

The price range for food at The Roast is a little higher than that of the food in the Whole Foods store because of the fact that it is an actual restaurant as opposed to a grocery store.

“People pay around $8.99 a pound for food at the hot bar. It doesn’t take that many people to get all that together. Over at The Roast, things are more labor intensive. You have people manning the fire, manning the line, the bartenders, the dishwashers in the back, and all that kind of stuff, just to serve the people ordering. Therefore the price point is a little bit higher over at The Roast, but what you get is a meal just for you. Over at the hot bar you have to pick out everything yourself,” Morris said.

As for competition in the area, The Roast is definitely not the first of its kind. The bowl concept appears at places like Gusto, Chipotle, Willy’s, and Moes as well. Other restaurants don’t seem to phase The Roast because of its unique Brazilian twist, interior with a billiards table, and interactive ordering through machines. These features make The Roast stand out to all the other places like it and draw in customers.

“I’ve been to The Roast a few times since it opened, and I have to say I was very impressed.There was a unique vibe in the restaurant in a very polished way. The food itself was great,” Kelley Downes, junior at Grady High School, said.

Overall, The Roast has gone beyond expectations of what was anticipated for the first two months being open, receiving many positive reviews from customers and drawing many more shoppers to the store itself.

“The Roast has definitely been very successful, and there is still much room for improvement. It has been a very positive addition to the store,”  Morris said.

Katie Wood
Whole Foods “The Roast” located on Ponce
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