April 01, 2013 Antelias Mount Lebanon Lebanon Middle East

Tomate Cerise: Is it the New IT Place? (Closed)

Advertising is often deceiving, and don't we know it! Seeing all the advertisements on the streets leading to Tomate Cerise, I was enticed to check it out. The large billboard on the Antelias highway shows a mouthwatering collection of colorful fruits and vegetables... I thought, this could be the new "it place".


The new trend nowadays is opening high-end vegetables and fruits markets serving premium products to a VIP clientele. The first to start it AKIKI in Antelias who offers one of kind products, cleaned and prepared for you to devour instantly. In addition to that, they have a choice of freshly squeezed fruits, pealed vegetables, ready to take fruit baskets and much more. Following that, many have tried to copy the idea.


On my way home, I took a quick turn left on the highway as the advertisement led me and I easily reached Tomate Cerise. A huge betton architecture welcomes you. Very impressive first impression. As soon as I walked in and looked around, that was when my bubbles started bursting one at a time... The place felt cold unwelcoming and not so colorful although the vegetables are supposed to naturally add color to the place...

It's too big yet too empty...


The place boasts many sections. A good thing you would think. A section to buy fresh bread, a juice counter to enjoy freshly squeezed cocktails... But I am afraid, none of these section call for your attention at all.

An example, the bread counter looks empty... the juice counter doesn't look like its on working mode - the staff stands there, no smiles, no welcoming no nothing...


The sections:

  • Produits BIO
  • Salades
  • Epices et Fruits Sec
  • Conserves Maison
  • Ready-to-Cook Frais
  • Boulangerie
  • Jus  Frais
  • Coffee Shop
  • Ready-to-Cook Refrigeres
  • Paniers sur commande


My interpretation:

  • Vegetable Stalls
  • Organic/Bio Corner
  • Home made herbs and packaged nuts and dried fruits
  • Condiments, fresh juices, syrups... packaged in-house
  • Bakery/Coffee Shop/Fresh Juices and cocktails bar
  • Ready in-house peeled and mixed vegetable fridge


The minus:

  • The black ceiling is scary
  • The owners and managers were not very welcoming. No one took the time to explain the concept. Even though I asked, the answer was:"Sorry, take an appointment, we are busy now".
  • The kitchen is open for everyone to see, and what we see doesn't look clean and appealing. Its messy and untidy
  • The place looks empty, the way the vegetables and fruits are stacked and presented don't look fresh, appetizing nor rich
  • The vegetables racks are half empty
  • The mix between using English and French on the signs - I am not sure if this is a style, but I didn't like it...
  • A high-end place needs to be handled in a high-end way: Writings and prices should be printed not written in a cheap black marker
  • Putting a sticker label on a dull bottle, doesn't look appealing. The bottles feel naked and that's not what I would consider packaging.


The unacceptable for such a premium place:

  • The fresh juice bottles are not appetizing. Their choice is minimal and as the picture show it, the bottles are not even filled until the top
  • Many of the stacks are empty
  • The same vegetable is available in two different sections of the shop and having different prices. Maybe each is different, but it should be clearly explained to the customers
  • The same vegetables have to be grouped together. There are carrots everywhere, potatoes everywhere and all with different prices. A very bad sales strategy


The needed changes:

  • Get a better staff. A mature staff that understands something about vegetables and fruits
  • Is it a Vegetables market? A mini market? A cafee? A bakery? Focus on what you really are. Focus on vegetables and fruits and remove all the unnecessary products that are here just to make more money out of the business
  • More lights are needed
  • More products is to be displayed especially the empty watermelon trolly
  • The bakery display is pathetic, it's like you're selling yesterday's left overs
  • Print the prices and write a description of every vegetable and why there are two different prices
  • Spraying water on the apples to make them look fresh is a failure
  • A manager should be on watch, ready with a smile, welcoming any question: I didn't see that


They say: "Tomate Cerise, Un jardin, meme tout petit, est la porte du paradis..." euh!...

To be able to compete with the others while entering the premium market, a lot more has to be done. I didn't understand this place before knowing if I like it or not. For now, I'll stick to the local merchant next to my place.





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