The renovations began rolling out in May: Dozens of Walgreens stores across San Francisco
ripped out their one-hour photo processing desks — no longer needed in the age of digital cameras — and replaced them with chilled cases of sandwiches, chopped fruits, and microwave-and-serve entrees. One Chinatown store's makeover happened in June; the Fourth St. and Market store just rolled out the drugstore chain's “Fresh Eats” program yesterday.
All in all, an estimated 17 stores in San Francisco are currently being stocked with freshly made foods, and according to Dave Devincenzi, district manager of SF's Central District, the company plans to convert another 22 locations in 2012. (SFoodie asked Walgreens' media relations department for confirmation of those numbers, but has not yet heard back.) “In the Bay Area, roughly 60 percent of our stores will have Fresh Eats,” Devincenzi says. “In San Francisco, I think it would probably be higher.”
The product line for the stores varies from the Financial District to the outer neighborhoods. Most of the freshly prepared foods come from a central commissary near Sacramento, Devincenzi says, and one of the counter people SFoodie spoke to confirmed the stock is replenished every day.
The store SFoodie visited on Sansome and Bush had a small case of sushi rolls, yogurt parfaits, salads, and sandwiches, along with a couple of baskets with common fruits like apples and bananas — all things nearby workers would grab for lunch. The Chinatown store added on a few shelves of ready-to-eat meals such as a vegetable-and-barley casserole and stuffed mushrooms. And the Bayview store, part of Walgreens' nationwide “food desert” initiative
, stocks even more vegetables and fresh and frozen meals.