business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reported last week that Sedano’s, the 34-store, Florida-based Hispanic grocery store chain, has signed a deal with a company called Takeoff Technologies to build “the world's first robotic supermarket.” Essentially, the ”robotic supermarket” is a dedicated fulfillment center that will serve the online needs of 14 Sedano’s stores in the Miami market, and offer pickup services at those stores.

This prompted MNB reader Tom Murphy to write:

For years I have believed that piece picking grocery orders in stores would never work. The product on the store shelves (save a little checkout labor) is already fully burdened with operating costs…therefore, any labor from wandering the aisle (much greater than checkout labor) would kill margins. Kroger has undertaken an approach for regional, automated fulfillment centers that I expect will handle both “commissary like” order selection for either home delivery or local store pickup.

With all of the vacant space in malls and in various city venues across the country, Sedano’s model will likely get closer to a sustainable model for order assembly, store pickup and possibly home delivery. They are thinking outside the box (and inside there own shuttered store box)…kudos to them!

KC's View: