Target Stores to Test Fast Casual-Style Café Concept

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. will test a new fast-casual café concept at 14 stores starting in October, according to a USA Today report. This move comes in response to customers asking for higher-quality food and more of a fast-casual atmosphere.

The test will place fast-casual chain Freshii at nine stores; Pizza Hut's limited menu of "artisan" pies, including margherita and barbecue chicken, at three stores; and Italian chain D'Amico & Sons in two Minneapolis stores.

The new concept will replace existing Target cafes in the test stores. Approximately 1,700 of Target's nearly 1,800 stores have cafes that offer products like popcorn, pizza, hot dogs, nachos and ICEE drinks.

Around 40 percent of Target customers visit the existing cafes while shopping. The test program is about showing customers that the brand is serious about health and wellness, not about increasing that percentage, according to the report.

"We think this takes us a giant step in the direction of making a much better first impression," said Target Chief Stores Officer Tina Tyler.

Target began developing the new cafe concept soon after CEO Brian Cornell assumed the role in August 2014, according to Tyler. Cornell has made food a priority, including plans to increase Target's offering of natural and organic food products and local brands.

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