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October 11, 2021

Wawa debuts self-checkout station in Northeast Philly as part of post-pandemic plan

The new kiosks, opening at a limited number of stores, don't accept cash and exclude certain purchases

Business Wawa
Wawa Self Checkout Google/Street View

The Wawa at 7912 Roosevelt Blvd. in Northeast Philadelphia is among the stores where the company has installed a self-checkout kiosk. Wawa is planning to introduce these kiosks at more stores.

Wawa shoppers may soon start to see self-checkout kiosks installed at select stores, offering them a way to skip the line for certain purchases that don't require a cashier.

The company quietly has been testing the new kiosks at a limited number of stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Now, one of them has popped up at the Wawa at 7912 Roosevelt Blvd. in Northeast Philadelphia.

The sign for the kiosk says it only accepts card and mobile payments, not cash, and cannot be used for purchases of gas, tobacco products, gift cards and alcohol, which is only sold at one Wawa location in South Philadelphia.

Earlier this year, in another thread on Reddit, a user said that two self-checkout kiosks had been installed at a store in Collegeville, Montgomery County. Others have sprung up at New Jersey stores in Lakewood, Barrington and Marlton.

To date, Wawa has installed about 60 self-checkout kiosks across its territory, which includes more than 900 locations.

"Over the past year and a half, the pandemic has forced us all to adapt in many ways, and the option of a self-checkout test was actually one way we worked to provide a more socially distanced checkout option," Wawa spokesperson Lori Bruce said. "Initially piloted at a few dozen stores, it allowed us to increase speed, move customers through the store faster and provide some customers with the type of quick shopping experience they wanted."

Wawa has received positive feedback from customers and is currently reviewing plans to add the kiosks at an increasing number of stores, Bruce said.

The company downplayed the idea that self-checkout kiosks could impact staffing levels, a concern that has often accompanied shifts to automation in retail environments. Several Wawa locations in New Jersey temporarily closed or reduced hours due to staffing shortages. 

"Our business is growing and evolving quickly, and to ensure we remain fast and convenient we need more people than ever, in more places," Bruce said. "This is just part of the ways we can increase speed of service, especially in support of growing areas like specialty beverages and food service."

In Philadelphia, Wawa once reportedly tried a mobile self-checkout terminal on wheels at the ill-fated Center City location at Broad and Walnut streets, which was shut down during the pandemic. The new self-checkout kiosks are fixed in place.

In recent years, Wawa has tested and introduced a number of features to make the customer experience more smooth, including curbside pick-up at all stores, delivery and the expansion of the company's mobile ordering platform.

"It is always our goal to adapt to changing customer demands, market trends, and because of that, we test new programs often to further improve our offering," Bruce said.

Don't be surprised if you see one of these kiosks during a Wawa run in the near future.