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Is Food To Go this year’s untapped retail growth opportunity?

SWL solutions Food to Fo F2G 360

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Supermarket, convenience and forecourt retailers: should you uplift your instore Food To Go offer this year, or scale it down? 

Whilst the customer mission in each of these is likely to be different, we are seeing a variety of approaches. 

Overall, supermarkets are removing their Food To Go counters or choosing to outsource with partnerships. A noticeable exception seems to be Morrisons, who are maintaining their fresh and hot food counters.

A few examples 

In making changes to their instore Food To Go offer, Sainsbury’s are closing their hot food counters in over thirty stores, and simplifying their bakery offer in even more. This follows the recent closure of their meat, fish, and deli counters. 

Tesco and Asda made similar moves recently, with deli counter closures and reductions. 

Partnerships 

As the grocery landscape changes, we are also seeing a boost in Food To Go partnerships, with new links between retailers and cafés/ takeaways/ restaurants. 

This has of course been a trend for some time now. Shopping in Next? Why not pick up a Costa Coffee? 

Ambitious Costa Coffee have also recently cooked up a new relationship with M&S, enabling M&S products to be purchased in their cafés. 

In Selly Oak, Birmingham, Sainsbury’s recently opened a new, extended Food Hall, accommodating a variety of partnership outlets. After a successful trial they have now pledged to extend this customer offer to other stores.

Alternatives to partnerships

New, instore Food To Go initiatives are not however always partnerships.

C J Lang (SPAR in Scotland) and the SPAR store in Aberystwyth (one of a number of SPAR stores owned by A F Blakemore) are both recent examples of retailers investing in their own, multiple Food To Go proposition. 

At C J Lang they have introduced an extended offer with bakery alongside hotdogs and coffee, milkshakes and more. At A F Blakemore, customers can choose from a range of takeaway options in a Food Hall setting, inspired by street food vendors. 

What is the opportunity?

As we become more post-pandemic mobile and, as hybrid working puts more people back in the workplace, the need for innovation in easy-eat snacks, lunchtime meal-deals and commute-collect/ home delivery dining is swelling. 

C-stores and forecourt retailers are expected to play a key role in this Food To Go recovery.

To give just one example, M&S are aiming to support this, with new, quick-grab food vending machines in some of their C-stores. 

Expertise and support 

For many retailers however, getting their Food To Go offer correct and continually profitable is a challenge. 

When deciding to change, expand or close a Food To Go offer, the key is to only make a change following the capture of accurate and timely performance data, that has been translated into ‘true-north’ decision information. 

Each retailer can then make change, regarding their instore offer, that they know will be positive, measurable, and sustainable. 

This is where retail growth experts, SWL Group can partner and support. As experts in continuous retail productivity improvement our team has first-hand experience in supporting Food To Go in retail environments, over many years. 

Our comprehensive ‘measure – insight – adapt – perform’ Food To Go 360 approach, identifies where your operation can improve. Within this, the focus is always on what you should start, stop, continue, or enhance, to drive productivity. 

To start the conversation about working in partnership with SWL Group and boosting your Food To Go success, simply call us on 07732 007 468/ +44 (0)1527 895020 or email – apb@swlgroup.com

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