Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fresh & Easy

There has been lots of hub-bub about the new Fresh & Easy stores in Southern California. There's a branch in Eagle Rock. Since Larry and I were in the neighborhood over the weekend, we decided to stop by. I had read about the store on many L.A. food blogs. I wanted to check out the place for myself.
Larry and I arrived on Saturday at 6pm, during the pre-dinner rush. The store was busy, but the shelves were empty! We talked to one of the Fresh & Easy employees hovering around. He said that they prepare fresh food once a day. Once it's gone, it's gone. Well, that's not gonna fly here in L.A. We need those shelves re-stocked constantly. Your first impression, when walking into a grocery store is very important. I got the impression of a poorly stocked, third-world market at the Fresh & Easy.

The food that we did see looked fine. The prices were O.K. The Fresh & Easy brand is on many food items. The store also carries common brands in cereal, toiletries, juice and other items. When I walk into a grocery store, I want to see the shelves fully-stocked and I want to have a variety of choices. Considering what I saw at the Eagle Rock/Glassell Park Store, I wasn't impressed. I'll see you at Trader Joe's and Von's.
Fresh 'n Easy
4211 Eagle Rock Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90065
(323) 255-1113

ADDENDUM - NOVEMBER 15, 2007: Thanks, Kevin, for referencing this post on your blog. I was also linked to Curbed LA. This has generated many comments on the new Fresh & Easy Stores. Thanks for the comments. I sent the F&E Corporate website my comments. They replied, "Thanks for your comments, we do appreciate your feedback. We are delighted at the incredible response from customers to our newly opened stores. As you can see, our fresh produce and wholesome prepared foods have proven to be very popular with everyone. In fact, these items are being cleared off of the shelves as fast as we can stock them. So, we are working very hard to bring in more items for everyone. We thank you for your patience as we get up and running and do look forward to seeing you soon! Best, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market."
I will certainly be visiting Fresh & Easy again to see if they have ironed out the kinks in their operation. I only wish they would open a store in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles. There have been rumors that a downtown F&E was to open at Adams and Central....still waiting.



At 2:44 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:45 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 3:48 PM PST, Blogger LizKnits said...

LOL... imagine that, a store with nothing to sell! Seems like a great money maker.

Hey I wish I could meet up with you at Unraveled this weekend for the sale and some knitting but unfortunately I'm going to be in Philadelphia (no bargains for me... drats). Hopefully some other time... maybe the next Saturday SnB.

At 6:05 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there this afternoon as well and the shelves were much more empty than you would expect to see at a regular market. But what was there looked good, as did the prices. The checkout system is very cool, tho.

At 6:50 PM PST, Blogger Ty Jones said...

Maybe the current America model of shelves packed with poor quality or unhealthy food needs to be looked at.

Maybe this a new model. Sounds OK to me.

At 7:28 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm... I don't like looking at empty shelves, it makes me feel depressed and like the food that's left is not the best food. There's something psychological about seeing full shelves. I sort of feel the same about any store I go into, yarn store, shoe store, whatever.

Sorry I missed the weekend weho group! I would love to meet other spinners in LA.

At 8:34 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:15 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the American Model is too wasteful? How much prepared food goes to the garbage just to make the store look nice? Less is more!!!

At 2:32 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like they just aren't prepared.

i went in there last week and it was like shopping in THX 1138. WHITE WHITE WHITE. that and all their house brands reminded me of the generic brand "beer" from the 89s - remember, with the blue stripe?

At 10:26 PM PST, Blogger Jenny Lerew said...

Hopped over via a link from LA Observed.
Coincidentally I'd just had a 1st person review of the ER Fresh&Easy from a Tesco-loving expat Silverlake friend--that, and your post both convinced me to try the Arcadia location after work this evening(I'm in Pasadena).

It's great! While I see your point about the bleakness of empty shelves, I also have had a queasy feeling about the surfeit of waste and excess suggested by the overflowing inventory at the likes of Pavilions, Whole Foods and yes, even funky ol' Trader Joe's(though TJs is by far the best-run of the 3). While there were some cleaned out shelves at F&E Arcadia, I noticed that they were limited to certain prepared takeaway sandwiches, a few prepared entrees, snack packs and the like--yet at 7pm there were plenty of delicious-looking things still available. I bought a generous takeaway salad--spinach, greens, thinly-sliced roast beef and a creamy dressing; some greek imported yogurt at a 5th of the cost of similar types at Bristol Farms; loads of great cheeses; some interesting UK-imported organic bath products; some well made, delicious trifle desserts, all indeed "fresh"-and our eventual main dinner entree tonight which was an indian butter chicken on biryani rice. It was way better than average for such things--easily leagues better than the high end deli style stuff at the Burbank Pavilions(forget what that experiment's called--Eaturna?--but it's expensive).

The main thing was how inexpensive everything was, for what it was. I also appreciated the simple, recyclable packaging. It seemed very design-friendly, not "Smart & Final cheap" to me. A big thumbs up all round.

At 7:17 AM PST, Blogger Unknown said...

Give Fresh & Easy a break... Tesco is new to the American game and still have some kinks to work out.

I say give them a second chance.

P.S. - you won't see me at Vons over-paying for groceries.

At 10:16 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My problem with Fresh and Easy is that on those virtually empty shelves are items expiring that same day. FRESH my ass!

Once or twice I've seen those fresh curry bowls with an expiration 4 days later, but that's rare. I have a sneaking suspicion they are not restocking until all the old stuff is sold.

Like you, I'll see everyone Trader Joes or Food 4 Less (where they can at least ring me up at a lower price)

At 10:05 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a friend who used to work for F&E and she said that the common term used around the ofice was,"In the UK, we would never ___" and the blank would be filled with some type of derogatory statement about "we" Americans and our way of life and business. . I am sad that they got off to such a poor start. One of the directors who said he prefers to be understaffed, because the workers would never be bored. They had "volunteers" from the office in El Segundo go to the production facility in Riverside to help them catch up with all of their empty shelves. Shameful that all that hard work got off to such a poorly managed, sputtering start.

At 9:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh noes! The shelves of the freshly prepared foods were emtying out... a 6PM on a Saturday? Duh?

Some of you folks need to get over your mental hangups? Depressing? THX-1138? Good Lord, what happens when life hits you with a REAL problem?

Fresh & Easy is great.

Anonymous said, "My problem with Fresh and Easy is that on those virtually empty shelves are items expiring that same day."

They are PREPARED that same day! OMG, could you people be any dumber?! What is so difficult to understand about all this? It's like you're a bunch of preteens mindlessly picking on the new kid. Holy cow!

At 1:06 AM PST, Blogger tfinvold said...

I work at the fresh in easy in point loma and the level of business is one the top 5 stores in the company and our s helves are never that empty I dont know where that location is that the picture was taken, usually what's super empty is markdowns bt that's normal, we're pretty good about getting stuff stocked well, we rarely have entire rows of shelves cleared out, I don't think ive seen more than one four section of a shelf cleared out, and usually it was for a reason, not just customer purchasing.

At 3:49 PM PST, Anonymous Diana C said...

i dont know what store this is, but I LOVE the Fresh n' EAsy by my are in La Mirada. I've never seen the shells empty, theay alwasy have plenty of items and the prices on some of there items are better than some of the bigger grocerie stores, expecially in the dairy items. I like there assortment of items. There brand is good and they make the best frwsh made pizza's and dinners to go. They have a customer with me and maybe its that eagle rock store that needs to be shaped up.


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