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Fairway vs. Wegmans | A Detailed Comparison Guide

By Ferdi Vol
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Fairway and Wegmans both are among the top grocery chains in America. Such lofty status means that they both have a significantly large customer base. So many people have different opinions about which one of them is ultimately better. In that regard, this side-by-side comparison of Fairway vs. Wegmans should help clarify the matter.

Fairway and Wegmans; both are behemoths in this field. Both have a similar quality level in terms of service and products. However, in terms of financial resources, Wegmans has a clear advantage. That helps tip the scale slightly in its favor.

Customers are more interested in the quality of service, richness of stock, and the price difference. Internal financial struggle means little in improving customer appeal. I’ll mainly focus on these aspects to give a complete picture of the differences between them. So, let’s get right into it.

Fairway vs. Wegmans

Rich stock and price range are important determining factors when it comes to deciding which is the better grocery store. Yet, one cannot disregard service and accessibility either. Wegmans and Fairway both have high accomplishments in these fields, which isn’t surprising considering their fame.

I’ll now give a clear picture of these elements about both Wegmans and Fairway so that you can compare them easily:

Service Quality:

The resounding fame of Wegmans and Fairway is undeniable; a large portion of it is thanks to the overall customer service.

Wegmans aims to provide a family-friendly environment for the customers. There’s a lot of additional features such as richly stocked food courts that add a lot of convenience for the shoppers. The staff is courteous and very helpful to the customers. They offer their best to help make your experience as smooth as they can.

Fairway Market is not lagging in terms of services by any means. They also try to make the customer experience as best as they can. Fairway favors local food banks and engages in community service activities. As a result, they are quite popular among local folks.

Price Difference:

A Lot of us decide if a shop is good or bad based on the average prices, so it is undoubtedly a determining factor. However, Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. We are generally looking for decent products at reasonable prices.

Wegmans: Wegmans has a large selection of necessary items. The price is higher than in places like wholefoods and Walmart. However, they stock a lot of local items. Things like canned beans, jam, cheese, and meat are somewhat cheaper than other places.

The prices at Wegmans may look high at first glance. But after looking around a bit, you will notice that it’s not the case. Wegmans keeps a lot of house brand items, and the price is similar to national brand items. The national brand items are priced a bit higher. That makes it easier for local brands to compete.

The competitive suppliers keep the prices at around a reasonable level, so Wegman is not more costly than other places. However, that does not mean it is cheaper either. There’s a delicate balance.

Fairway: Fairway is a regional establishment, meaning it values local goods more than the national brands. It also focuses on keeping specialty goods that you probably won’t find anywhere else. However, exotic goods naturally come at a higher price.

Because of this many people think Fairway is a more expensive place than others. Most of the common things in the shops are pretty reasonably priced, to stay in the competition. It’s only the exotic products like halal meat and expensive imported dairy products, fruits, and such that cost more.

Comparatively speaking Fairway prices are very reasonable because you can’t find a lot of these items anywhere else. When there’s no competitor, naturally the price will be a bit higher.

House brand products are cheaper than Wegmans if you can catch them on sale. Fairway is mainly centered on exotic products, but it still has a larger selection of common brand items than Wegmans.

Produce Quality:

Now that we have the prices out of the way, let’s talk about the quality. Quality is undoubtedly a deciding factor when comparing stores. Both Fairway and Wegmans offer fresh products. Their entire selection from exotic to everyday items is of very high quality.

However, it is tough to distinguish which of them has the better quality. That’s because both specialize in different items. While Fairway Market offers seasonal and exotic goods, Wegmans offers local produce.

Since Fairway Market mainly deals in specialty goods, the freshness is not as high as the local variety. Because a large number of these goods are imported products. That said, let’s move on to the more specific inventory of these two,

Wegmans: Wegmans usually stock a large array of everything. That isn’t even an exaggeration. Their collection is so large that you could find pretty much everything that’s not too exotic or rare.

From ready-to-cook meal packs to an in-house butchery, you can find everything in Wegmans. Most of these things are procured from the regional producers and farms.

There’s a whole section dedicated to candies and other sweets, and one for a well-equipped salad bar. There is a bakery where they ensure the maximum quality. In terms of meat, Wegmans offers meat procured from the local region. They have an in-house butcher too.

Most of the meat you see on Wegmans comes from grass-fed cattle. That’s a huge plus in terms of health safety. The suppliers are all verified by the appropriate authority. The quality of their stock is quite high.

Fairway: Fairway is known for its specialty items, especially exotic fruit, cheese, and meat. There’s also isles upon isles of seasonal fruits that are locally sourced. It’s not an exaggeration to say that they stock the largest amount of hard-to-get ingredients for the local populace.

Fairway produce is very fresh, and they add specialty items every day. Fairway has a large selection of exotic cheese, but it also stocks a significant amount of locally produced cheese. If you head over to the cheese section, you can find almost every kind of cheese you want.

While on the topic of cheese, it’s worth noting that they make Fresh Mozzarella on site.  They also sell popular Varieties like Parmigiano Reggiano for very reasonable prices.

The selection of meat is in no way inferior to Wegmans. They even have their dry-aging set-up in there. Their Prime dry-aged beef is fairly popular among the buyers.

If you aren’t interested in dairy, there’s also a fully stocked seafood section. It is filled with fresh seafood all the time. They are very particular about their quality so you can be sure that it is fresh.

The section for coffee is particularly noteworthy because you can get them roasted on-site. There’s also a giant section dedicated to fresh beer and wine.

Branches and Storefronts:

So far, they have been pretty much neck and neck in; terms of service, quality, and price range. Now there will be some significant disparities between Fairway and Wegmans.

Fairway is a small chain-grocery from around New York. There are only five stores in total. It is still huge for a local chain store. A lot of people have been shopping here for a long time now. However, it can’t compare to the scale of Wegmans.

To put things into perspective, Wegmans has over a hundred stores scattered in various regions. Compared to that, Fairway is almost nothing in terms of capital.

Accessibility:

Both Wegmans and Fairway shops are in easily accessible places. The interiors are also designed to ensure fluid movement. Everything is sorted out by item type and placed in appropriate sections so that you can easily find them.

However, Wegmans is larger and has more space inside. Even though it has overflowing shelves it doesn’t feel cramped. Even on busy days, the traffic does not seem overwhelmingly cramped.

On the other hand, Fairway has so many things in stock that it feels a bit daunting. Not to mention their overall space isn’t that large so it feels a bit cramped. But it usually does not cause any problems.

Workforce:

Since there’s a disparity in the number of stores, there’s naturally a significant difference in their workforce.

Fairway is a relatively small chain and has not strayed far from its humble roots. Over two thousand employees are working for Fairway Market at the moment. It may seem like a large number, but it’s not that significant compared to other behemoths.

Wegmans, on the other hand, has easily over fifty thousand employees working for it. There are over a hundred stores to maintain, so this number isn’t that large relatively speaking.

Where Should You Go For Your Groceries?

This one is a tricky point to talk about. Wegmans and Fairway Market both have similar reputations in terms of service. Fairway stocks more hard-to-find items, while Wegmans has every regular item you could think of.

There is also the location of these stores. Wegmans covers a larger region while Fairway only has around four stores. In terms of prices, Wegmans is better because it’s cheaper than most other groceries. Wegmans also started offering digital coupons, which can help you save a ton of money.

The local stock items are cheaper than the national brand ones, so you can add more savings by going for those. The downside to Wegmans is that you won’t find many rare or exotic items in there.

The Fairway, on the other hand, is a specialty shop. It has both regional specialty items and foreign specialty items. If you have a penchant for exotic things then Fairway is a better choice than Wegmans. The exotic products cost more, but all the regular things are still reasonably priced.

Which One Should You Invest In?

If you are looking to invest in either of these businesses, then the better choice would be Wegmans. Since it’s a larger force and has over 60% more overall value than the current Fairway.

On top of that, Fairway is not in a financially stable position right now. Recently it filed for chapter 11 to save the business. It’s a shame because it has a fairly large and loyal customer base.

Fairway vs. Wegmans Employment Opportunities

Wegmans and Fairway markets have vastly different capitals. Wegmans’ larger scale means it has more employment options as well as benefits.

Wegmans offers its employees flexible work hours, and very decent health benefits. Also, the name Wegmans is a stronger name than Fairway in the current market. There’s also dental coverage, 401k retirement package, and paid time off. Overall it offers a very good deal.

They have a good management system and a friendly atmosphere too. That enhances the work environment making the job a lot less tedious than it is. They give ample attention to the employee’s security.

Fairway also tries its best to offer the employee as much as they can. The work environment is comfortable, and the management is good. The work schedule is flexible, and the people are friendly enough. However, it does not offer any health benefits. They offer the employees 20% off on their purchases, but it’s still inferior, compared to Wegmans.

Wegmans and Fairway are almost on equal terms when it comes to the quality of their produce. They are fairly similar in terms of reasonable pricing. However, Fairway is more focused on regional specialty items, and Wegmans is a jack of all trades. The Wegmans vs. Fairway rivalry has been going on for a while now, but Fairway seems to be on the decline in recent years.

Wegmans and Fairway Market are vastly different in terms of capital. Wegman has a larger workforce and about twenty times more stores than Fairway Market. Even when Fairway Market was at its peak, it only had fifteen stores in total. The fact that it can still compete with a behemoth like Wegmans now is a testament to its quality and ability to please its customers.

By Ferdi Vol
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About the Grocery Store Academy
The Grocery Store Academy is a blog about everything that has to do with grocery stores. This is your #1 spot to find the right information for your needs.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has worked several years in a grocery store and has a passion for good food. He's happy to share his passion with you!
About Ferdi Vol
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