Fresh & Easy is rolling out a dramatic new look in Las Vegas, where stores have been gutted and remodeled to include restaurant-quality ready meals at food stations similar to Whole Foods Market.

Seven stores in the Las Vegas area are piloting the new look, which includes a hot food bar with soups, a fire-oven pizza station, a coffee bar and made-to-order sandwiches. Prices range from $4.99 to $6.99 for sandwiches made using La Brea Bakery bread and $5.99 to $10.99 for 7-inch to 14-inch hand-stretched pizzas. 

“Think natural like a Whole Foods, unique as a Trader Joe’s, convenient as a 7-Eleven with the hot food of a Panera,” spokesman Brendan Wonnacott told the Register on Thursday.

The first remodeled store was unveiled two weeks ago in Las Vegas at Desert Inn & Fort Apache. This weekend, more stores are adopting the changes. By the end of December, 17 stores in the Vegas area will be overhauled, Wonnacott said.

Is the new look expected to be adopted by the entire 167-unit chain, including in Orange County?

“Right now we are using Las Vegas as a test market to implement new ideas and concepts,” Wonnacott said. “It’s too early to speculate what the results from this launch will be, but we are excited to bring our Las Vegas customers something completely unique and new.”

The overhaul included ripping out most of the aisles to accommodate the new prepared meal stations. Other changes include adding a smoothie machine, a self-serve beverage bar for draft sodas, Kombucha and fresh-pressed orange juice. Like Whole Foods, the new Fresh & Easy stores have added sections dedicated to homeopathic and natural remedies as well as natural baby products.

The Vegas test is part of several merchandise changes Fresh & Easy has made under Los Angeles-based The Yucaipa Cos., which bought the chain last year from British retailer Tesco. Led by former 7-Eleven executive James Keyes, stores have gradually changed their cookie-cutter look. Stores have expanded hours, eliminated profit-hurting store coupons, introduced Wild Oats natural and organic foods and added a wide variety of craft beer.

Source: O.C. Register