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Comparing Highland Farm to Longo's

s
sepandee Mar 28, 2008 11:34 AM

If you had to compare Highland Farm to Longo's, how would you rate each? Take into consideration
1) Price
2) Range of produce, meat, international food, organic
3) Re-stocking
4) Cleanness of the store, lineup at the cashier, customer service, etc., and generally, the whole experience altogether.
5) price
6) price

  1. k
    KitchenVoodoo Oct 10, 2008 04:33 PM

    I work near the Highland Farms on Dufferin south of Steeles and I love the vegetables - viola eggplant for one, and this is just me but I LOVE that they don't play muzak. I like the silence after a hard day's work! And the place is so clean and well ordered, and has great ethnic stuff.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KitchenVoodoo
      jayt90 Oct 11, 2008 08:48 AM

      I've been able to compare Highland Farms at Ellesmere and Kennedy to Longo'st, at York Mills and Leslie. The Longo's is too pricey, too upscale for me. Parking is a real chore. They offer a lot of prepared food , who knows what short cuts they use, for people in a hurry, unconcerned about cost, and used to the congestion and traffic. The Highland Farm store is a pleasure to visit, high quality, friendly staff, lots of ethnic diversions, and even some fresh items from their farm in Ajax. And I like their Mediterranean specialties: fits right into the area, with Arz , Nasr, and Diana's nearby.

    2. duckdown Oct 7, 2008 05:20 PM

      I would gladly take Fortino's over Longo's even

      My local one even has a wood burning oven that they do pizza, bagels, and sandwiches in.. yum

      1. s
        Spiboy Oct 7, 2008 03:08 PM

        Was a big fan of Longo's until last week when we purchased 2 " organic " strip loins on sale.

        Both RANCID... ended up thowing them out ...Longos relpy... Oh welll you should have brought them back....so much fro 15 years of cutomer loyalty...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Spiboy
          jayt90 Oct 7, 2008 05:16 PM

          Did you expect them to replace without seeing? I think they deserve your loyalty because they wanted the bad meat back. Even if they never examined it, (health reasons), they would replace a returned item. Most classy markets will do this. Some will not take back 'last day of sale' items, but apparently Longo's wanted yours back.

          1. re: jayt90
            s
            Spiboy Oct 7, 2008 07:07 PM

            well considering the butcher knows me and given the fact I spend $250 min a at the Leslie store /week ... ....well yes... no big deal I will just go the Lowblaws at Bayview village and pick up my certified angus beef in the future... the bottom line they were to unloading steak not fit for dog food on customers...

            1. re: Spiboy
              k
              kwong Oct 9, 2008 03:34 PM

              Sometimes, mistakes are made and/or accidents happen. Was that the first time in 15 years that you got rancid meat from them?

        2. duckdown Mar 31, 2008 12:02 PM

          i'm a big fan of highland farms vs. the other supermarkets; and I visit the one on Hwy 10 as well.

          I have no complaints -- the butcher section is MASSIVE, and they're willing to do all kinds of things for you like trim the fat off a piece of steak or remove membranes from the back of the ribs..

          although it is quite expensive.

          1. v
            Vickers Mar 31, 2008 07:53 AM

            There's a Longo's near work, and I do love their prepared food section. Excellent for a quick hot lunch.

            I love Highland Farms. There are five supermarkets closer to me, but do find that I have a better variety there. I also love the fact that when I'm at food festivals and I find new products, they are always available at Highland Farms...

            Highland won me over when on one frantic day I had my best friend in labour, a family member coming home from the hospital and typical month end stuff at work. Scattered and frantic I ran into Highland Farms to pick up some groceries for the family member coming home from the hospital, got to the cash and realized I had left my wallet at work. They very nicely bagged everything, put stuff that needed to be refrigerated in a back cooler, and held everything for me until I could get back there. No fuss, no attitude -- just really great customer service!

            1. Lazar Mar 30, 2008 08:53 AM

              I have to add my 2¢ to this one. I live in Toronto but work in Woodbridge. My office is located very close to a Longo's and a Highland Farms. Between the 2, Highland farms is a clear winner.

              Longo's is nice, but is definitely much more expensive. Their deli/meat/seafood section is nothing to right home about. Highland farms deli is incredible, much larger selection than most grocery stores. They have an extensive meat and seafood counter, but I do agree with some of the comments in that those goods are not the best. For meat (other than ground beef or pork) I will usually go to a independent butcher, or Bruno's or the St.Lawrence Market.

              As far as produce, quality appears equal, but price and selection definitely favours Highland Farms.

              Cleaniness is about equal, lineup can be bad at both depending on the day and time. Customer service is also about the same. Both store have never had empty shelves...I have always been able to find the goods I was looking for (unfortunately, this cannot be said for the Loblaw's chain)

              Now I do enjoy both Longo's and Highland Farms. And I am also one of those rare individuals that doesn't mind visiting more than one store for my groceries. That said, I also visit the Wal-mart Superstore in da 'bridge, as well as Starsky's. Walmart mostly for price (quality is always great) and Starksy's for my Balkan staples (rye, perogies, csabais, etc). And if you are like me, then it is also worth reading through the Longo's/Highland Farms weekly flyers. Sometimes times they have specials that you just can't match anywhere else (e.g. Longo's sometimes has Ben & Jerry's ice cream at $3.99...no one else does that)

              Ok, I have prattled on long enough...

              1. torontovore Mar 29, 2008 11:20 AM

                There is no comparison. Highland is by far the better. Excellent produce quality and selection. Fresh and clean store. Lot's of checkouts. Amazing bakery selection.

                But I do dislike the shopping carts that require 25 cents to release them. I often forget to bring change and then I have the annoying task of finding a quarter. And more than once when leaving and returning the cart, the retrieved coin falls on the floor and rolls away under the lines of carts. I really don't understand the advantage of inconveniencing customers in this way.

                1. n
                  Nyleve Mar 29, 2008 10:24 AM

                  Highland Farms has the single best produce clearance area I've ever seen. The produce is just ever so slightly lesser quality than what they have out on the floor - but for a fraction of the price. Not everything is worth buying, of course, but once in a while you can get a gorgeous melon, gigantic bag of peppers, or a dozen artichokes for practically nothing. It's my first stop whenever I'm in the store.

                  1. j
                    Jay98 Mar 29, 2008 08:14 AM

                    When we lived on Ellesmere, we loved shopping at Highland Farms. Their prices, meat & vegetables were superior to anything we have in the Beaches area.

                    Longo has very nice stuff, but very expensive.

                    1. jayt90 Mar 28, 2008 02:43 PM

                      Highland wins in all respects for me. Never any bitchiness or line ups at the Lawrence East store. I combine a visit there with a trip to Soon Lee (a walk on the wild side!) every week or two. My only complaint about Highland is poor seafood, and 3/4 inch steaks or chops, which they won't adjust, so I buy roasts or poultry only.

                      Longo's is too far, too busy, too pricey, and I don't need their upscale prepared items.

                      1. s
                        Scary Bill Mar 28, 2008 02:15 PM

                        Highland in every respect except for a tie in occasional stupidity, bitchyness and feigned concern which is really a personal thing.

                        I have a particular thorn in my side about Longos resulting from a very expensive ~ $65 ~ average sized turducken breast purchased in December 2006 which was laughably assembled and incredibly deficient in proper ingredients. We delivered a polite letter of complaint by hand and never received a response of any sort. I have since noted that any of their prepared meat products like chicken cordon bleu-and excepting run of the mill things like sausages- are way too expensive for what they are. You will do ok though if you shop their specials, like this week pork tenderloin is $2,99lb.

                        Oh, and one final complaint/confession-it is our default grocery store for light shopping because it is just a couple of blocks away.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Scary Bill
                          w
                          wordsworth Mar 29, 2008 03:48 PM

                          Disagree completely. They are entirely different types of stores. Highland farms is a mega supermarket that carries everything. Longo's is a cross between a supermarket and a small, gourmet oriented place. It doesn't aim to have everything. Highland farms is fine once in a while, but I much prefer the ease and convenience of shopping in Longo's. As far as price is concerned, Highland Farms is easily the most expensive big supermarket in Toronto

                          1. re: wordsworth
                            s
                            Scary Bill Mar 30, 2008 07:58 AM

                            You must be a Longo.

                            And you have never shopped at Loblaws either, as it clearly is the most expensive of the large chains, if one does not consider Bruno's or Pusateri's as larger chains-and they are true gourmet large grocers unlike Longos, which has a bit of an Italian flair-but not as much as Highland, as I can almost always find cardoons in season at Highland, rarely at Longos.

                            Highland carries far more gourmet items, such as ethnic foods, speciallty oils. vinegars, a larger selection of prepared meats and cheeses, olives, etc, etc. I could go on but I can tell, just like me, you cannot be convinced otherwise.

                            Such is a democracy.

                            1. re: Scary Bill
                              e
                              embee Mar 30, 2008 08:38 AM

                              Actually, I have found both Dominion and Sobey's to be significantly more expensive than Loblaw's on stuff I typically buy. I have also found the produce and meat sold at Sobey's to be inferior.

                              I recently found myself at the Longo's at Hwy 7 and Woodbine. While there's no way I would travel any distance to shop there (assuming my experience was typical - an assumption I can't actually make), they seemed to have adequate staff and full shelves. By Toronto standards, that's pretty good. Longo's is NOT a "gourmet" oriented place. However, they do a much better job than others with prepared meals.

                              I don't get to Highland very often. When I lived in Greektown 25 years ago, Highland had a store at Danforth and Arundel (three minutes from my front door). The store was so awful in every way that I couldn't stand to go in. I would pay a convenience store premium to avoid the place. They have come a long way since then and I wish they had a store in my area. But they aren't a "gourmet" operation either. I always perceived them as trying to run a more upmarket Knob Hill. I don't feel that Highland and Longo's are even trying to run comparable stores. Highland has much more overall selection than Longo's and much less service. Highland's huge service departments seem to stock lower quality fresh foods. Paradoxically, they seem unwilling to provide much in the way of real personal service at their service counters.

                              1. re: embee
                                s
                                Scary Bill Mar 31, 2008 07:43 AM

                                Embee, try the Highland on Hwy 10 a couple of blocks south of the 401 and you'll see how I have formed my opinion.

                                The only area where Highlan-as well as Longo's) generally does not meet my expectations is in their seafood dept. Though Highland stocks a wide variety of seafood, we will typically go to a Chinese store, Costco, or SLM or a wholesaler whose name I cannot recall at the moment just off North Queen west of Kipling.

                                1. re: Scary Bill
                                  jayt90 Mar 31, 2008 09:11 AM

                                  I find myself agreeing with Scary Bill and embee, but not wordsworth. My nearest HF is at Lawrence east of Morningside, and it is small compared to most others. Seafood is poorly handled, even on special, so I go to Diana's, Sobey's (a few are good, and this week they have first of season Pacific halibut featured) and Costco, a store that takes back old, smelly fish with a smile .
                                  Highland's counter service is not particularly friendly, and they remind me New York deli counters, people who do their job, but avoid a friendly interaction much of the time. As I mentioned above, they won't cut a thick steak when requested. Their check out service is good, and I had the same, pleasant experience as Scary Bill, when their debit was down, and I went for cash back at a Beer Store. They turned an inconvenience into a positive experience.
                                  Fiesta is too far for me, but HF is a good second choice. Little things like bunches of Greek origano, Bulgarian feta in the can, taramasalata, mortadella always on sale, and buckets of cherries in season will keep me coming back.

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