Longo's at Bathurst and Rutherford
We shopped at this new supermarket for the first time today, and that's exactly what is-a Super Market.
Huge, clean, and bright. A tremendous variety of prepared foods-everything looked fresh and delicious. Beautiful -looking fresh fruit and produce of every conceivable variety. Very helpful Staff. Prices are moderate to pricey.
I think this Longo's goes head to head with Pusiteri's (the parking is much better) -and beats McEwan's-Don Mills by a country mile.
Overall, I'd put Longos in a tie with Sobeys as the second best chain that serves this market. I live within walking distance of the newly renovated and expanded store at Bayview and Laureleaf, but for my regular shopping, I prefer Highland Farms. (While the store on Dufferin south of Steeles is 20 minutes away, it is only 5-10 minutes off my typical travel pattern.) My second closest major store is Loblaws, Bayview & 7. Other than the Kosher Sobeys - with a completely different range of products - at Clark and Dufferin, I don't have a Sobeys very near, with the closest being across from the Longos at Bathurst and Rutherford. I enjoy shopping there when I see enough incentive based on the items in the weekly flyer. I'm not sure where the closest Metro store would be.
Produce: As good as Longos is - and it is in a completely different league than Loblaws - Highland Farms wins easily with far greater selection and generally better prices. I'd put Sobeys close to the Longos I know.
Meats, Deli and Cheese: Ditto the produce comment. If you want boxed frozen meats, reverse the order, with Loblaws at the top and Highland at the bottom of the four. While smaller than Highland's I like the deli counter at Sobeys a bit better than Longos.
Bakery & Confections: I have been terribly disappointed in Longos since the renovation. Their selection seems to have regressed to about the level of Loblaws. Highland's bakery department is larger than most stand-alone bakery stores with an impressive range of products catering to a wide variety of cultures. While they are not making chocolates in store, the are carrying Leonides chocolates, which the chocoholics in my household swear by. Sobey's bakery department rates about the same as Longo's & Loblaws.
Groceries and non-food items: Longos seems more expensive than Loblaws, and Highland less than Longos, but I will often make a second stop at No Frills on Centre Street (which also as a decent produce section with very good prices) for packaged goods if the list is long enough to justify the extra stop. Highland's selection is the best, with Sobeys second, but that may be a function of the Bayview Longos somewhat-smaller store size. (Loblaws dwindling selection has been well-discussed in this forum.)
Prepared foods: Longos has recently expanded its selection of prepared foods, and I would probably rate them at the top. Highland recently hired a full-time chef and the quality and selection has improved. Sobeys and Loblaws range is mostly sandwiches, wraps and chicken and lags the others.
Service, helpfulness of the staff, checkout, etc.: My local Longos used to be great, before the renovation/expansion, now I would rate it good. At Loblaws it is difficult to even find a clerk in the aisles to ask questions and when you do, there is an excellent change that they don't have a clue; even No Frills has better customer service than Loblaws. I would put Sobeys on a par with Longos now. At Highland, there are helpful staff everywhere, but the biggest issue might be language as Highland employs a lot of recent immigrants who are still working on their English language skills. Highland also has about 20+ checkouts with 2/3 express lines, but no self-checkout option.
Parking: Two thumbs down to Loblaws and Longos: one for the fact that the carts are not coin-deposit to encourage people to returns them and one for the inconsiderate shoppers that leave then strewn all over the parking lots and for the haphazard way they park. Longos at least attempts to retrieve them quickly. Highland has coin-deposit carts and the parking lot is kept neat and orderly. This may not seem like a major point, but a scratch on the car and resulting repair bill adds significantly to the cost of the groceries.
Someone - I believe it was embee - commented that Longos has expanded to the point where they can no longer have a family member in each store. I think he is correct and this may have resulted in Longos completing less on service and the customer experience and more on selection. It probably helps that the Highland that I shop at contains the chain's head office and the General Manager is often seen walking the floor.
Here are a couple of price comparisons with (?) indicating that I'm not that confident that I remembered correctly:
4 Litre milk bags: Highland 3.97, Longos 4.89
Butter, 1 lb, Food Basics 2.97, Highland, 3.49, Longos ~4.00
I agree with your assessment. Longo's is low on my perimeter (Leslie and York Mills parking lot hell) when Highland Farms on Ellesmere is close by.
I get the impression Longo's is anti-foodie, with expensive food preparations, trays, and deli offerings.
McEwan, Bruno, and Pusateri much the same.
Highland Farms speaks to the home cook.
I work nearby. It's very convenient to go in at lunch, and have a choice of hot entrees, cold ones and salads, pizza or sandwiches, all of which are prepared very quickly (or you serve yourself from the buffet), and not unreasonably priced.
For groceries, it is beautiful, but it's quite expensive compared to no frills or Price Chopper. I'll continue to buy my basics there, and go to Longo's when I want something for a special occasion.