The war on cash started in a small shop in Osterley. You heard it here first.
Waitrose is about to become the first supermarket in the UK to open up a completely cashless store when a little Waitrose will open its doors in Sky’s new flagship head office in Osterley.
It will be the first Waitrose to open on a workplace campus in almost 20 years and at 1,400 sq ft will become the second smallest store in the retailer’s estate.
Sky’s 3,500 staff will only be able to pay by card or their mobile devices at one of the five self-service checkouts in the store.
Waitrose Director, Convenience, Jackie Wharton, said:
“Opening on the Sky campus is an exciting opportunity for us to respond to how customers wish to shop in this flagship workplace setting. Our convenience model is now more flexible than ever, especially as payment methods and ranges continue to evolve, so we’ll look forward to exploring other opportunities like this in the future.”
Why is Waitrose cashing out?
One has to look to another food provider (albeit a chain of restaurants than supermarkets). It was only last month that the healthy food chain, Tossed, opened what is thought to be the UK’s first completely cash-free restaurant. The company’s founder, Vincent McKevitt, said at the time that the main reason behind the decision was to improve efficiency:
Most operators face speed and capacity issues at lunchtime, but ours are intensified because we make our food fresh-to-order and most guests like to customise their food to suit their health and taste requirements. This unique point-of-sale solution allows our team to focus their energy on our speed of production.
Given that the new Waitrose will be focussing on “evening meals and food to go, including fresh sandwiches, wraps and sushi exclusively” for employees, it is only natural that the supermarket seeks to keep the operation as smooth as possible.
When PaymentEye contacted Waitrose, the supermarket’s spokesperson confirmed as much:
We have been exploring the possibility of a cashless store for some time so the cashless community Sky has created at its head office provides the perfect opportunity for us. It will give us the chance to see how we can get the best out of a limited space where there is greater emphasis on efficiency and convenience.
Not the war on cash on second glance?
Before we all start taking up arms against paper currency, Waitrose did point out that it currently has “no plans to roll this out further. But then again, let’s wait and see what the response from Sky’s employees is.
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