CRU High-End Organic Supermarket in Belgium
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to share with you some data about the first iteration of CRU (“raw” in French and Wallon), an organic & local supermarket created and designed by Belgian retailer Colruyt and located near Brussels.
I recently came across the recently opened Cru store located in the prosperous and beautiful city of Gent in the Flamish part of Belgium. A good opportunity to discover it in detail.
The store is installed at the heart of the city, in a pedestrian area where the flower market usually takes place.
On the ground floor, Cru features both a confortable terrace and a trendy restaurant. The kind of offer that truly turns Cru into a destination store.
The restaurant has clearly been designed to lure bystanders. An open kitchen and a minimalist interior decor set the tone for a positive gourmet experience.
As an ironic reference to the CRU brand, the restaurant is called CUIT (“baked” in English).
The 1,100-square-meter food supermarket has been installed in the basement.
A soon as you leave the escalator, Cru invites you to grab a scanner or use the brand app before starting to shop. You won’t find traditional checkout lines at Cru, which ultimately brings more value to the shopper experience.
Thanks to low cabinets and shelves and a concentrated assortment of only 850 items, the store showcases a positive feeling of space and comfort to its visitors.
You can easily figure out that Cru targets affluent and demanding customers. If the quality of the food items is clearly visible, it comes with a price. Thus, it is almost impossible for lower and middle classes to afford shopping here on a regular basis. Moreover, Cru is not a one-stop-shop. The brand mainly focuses on food items.
Anyway, shopping at Cru is a real treat. Traditional sections are particularly appealing.
The butcher section features a meat maturation cabinet. Unfortunately, some blood is visible on the floor. In my opinion, Cru should have picked up a darker material to avoid this.
The produce section reflects the ambition of Cru to encourage local and seasonal supplies. Just a few items are available as Mother Nature has intended it.
Cru also offers a flower section.
The wine section has been designed to encourage visitors to test some bottles. A comfortable area is available to enjoy a glass with friends.
The bakery section highlights a small but appealing range of breads which has been baked on the spot.
Visitors have the opportunity to always see how the breads and pastries are prepared and baked thanks to a glass-enclosed workshop near the escalator. A strategic location to get the most out of it.
Italian gastronomy is celebrated through a fine selection of pasta, cheeses and charcuterie.
At the end of your customer journey, you have to scan every item, validate the bill and pay with a credit card at the kiosks.
Even though Colruyt keeps on stating that Cru is still on a test mode, we can easily figure out that the concept is up and running. Of course, given its pretty exclusive price positioning, Cru would probably not be rolled out at large scale. Anyway, the brand is undoubtedly worth a visit.