Sainsbury's to close 200 in-store cafés as new plans announced

Sainsbury’s has announced a shake-up of its in-store cafés which includes its Alnwick branch.
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The supermarket giant is planning to close 200 of its in-store cafés next month as part of a plan to transform its eat-in, takeaway and home delivery food and drink offer.

To replace the cafes, Sainsbury's has proposed to open 30 new restaurant hubs in stores over the next year in partnership with Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), which owns the likes of Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Carluccio's.

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It intends to accelerate the roll-out in future years if the format continues to be popular with customers.

Sainsbury's in Alnwick.Sainsbury's in Alnwick.
Sainsbury's in Alnwick.

At the same time, Sainsbury’s will also open a further 30 Starbucks coffee shops in its supermarkets in the next 12 months.

Working with BRG and Starbucks, Sainsbury’s plans to transform the eat-in, takeaway and home delivered hot food and drink offer in 250 of its supermarkets over the next three years.

Around 2,000 staff are likely to be impacted because of the changes.

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Colleagues affected will be prioritised for vacant roles in Sainsbury’s stores and will be encouraged to explore alternative roles within the wider business.

Sainsbury’s will keep 67 cafes open while reviewing its rollout plans but Alnwick is not included.

Sainsbury’s has also announced plans to close less popular hot food counters in 34 stores and simplify the way it runs its bakeries in 54 stores. These colleagues will enter into consultation, with the aim of redeploying those affected to other areas of their store where possible.

Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “We know that customers like the convenience of being able to have a drink, a snack or a meal while they’re doing their shopping – and that they love the range of food and brands on offer at The Restaurant Hub and from Starbucks.

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"Whether customers are shopping for food, for Tu clothing, Habitat homewares or at Argos, the offer at The Restaurant Hub means they can also have breakfast, lunch or dinner in the store – or take a hot meal home with them.

"Through our trials with Boparan Restaurant Group and Starbucks we have learnt that we can offer customers a much better eat-in and takeaway experience working with partners.

"We are totally focused on improving what we can deliver for our customers and at the same time, working hard to make our business simpler. We are really excited about this new customer offer we will be rolling out over the next two to three years across many of our stores.

“As we go through this period of transition, we have taken the difficult decision to close 200 of our cafes next month. We have spoken to all colleagues affected by these changes today and are absolutely committed to supporting them in any way we can during this uncertain time. Of course, we understand this is very unsettling for our colleagues, but we must keep adapting our business to make sure we are offering customers the best possible food and drink at affordable prices.”

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