Big restaurant groups take a slice of the lunch grab & go market
by Tony Chambers
The start of 2016 has seen 2 large high street café restaurant groups develop offshoot grab & go formats to sit alongside their core offer. Both are looking to provide authentic restaurant quality food for the quick service casual dining on the move market, with latest research confirming consumers are becoming increasingly adventurous in the search for something new to try.
Eat With Your Eyes are currently working with Café Rouge in launching Rapide by Café Rouge. This food to go concept will sit alongside Café Rouge’s bistro/brasserie dining offer, providing a dual choice of offers for customers and competing with the breakfast and lunch to go high street brands. With it’s Real French Food to Go promise, it offers something different and of high quality to this convenience market.
Café Rouge have brought in executive chef Martin Caws to build it’s Real French Food To Go offer – Martin comes from a Michelin star restaurant background, having previously headed up the kitchen at Mirabelle after learning the trade at two Michelin star restaurant Pied a Terre and three Michelin star restaurant The Oak Room. Rapide has launched at Euston with progress well in place for further site rollouts in Central London.
Via Carluccio’s is following the same model, creating an off-shoot of its Italian restaurant offer with the strapline ‘Real Italian To Go’. The pilot site will open on Tottenham Court Road at the end of February 2016, with it’s food on the move menu based strongly on Antonio Carluccio’s recipes, delivered in the now familiar format you will get at Leon for example – with breakfast and lunch hot pot style dishes such as borlottii bean pots topped with a poached egg. Italian filled focaccia sandwiches provide an authentic quality alternative to Pret and Eat. Carluccio’s see this as a natural scalable extension of their restaurant brand, delivering the same quality authentic Italian values with carefully sourced produce, and providing further choice for the quick service market.
It will be fascinating to see if this trend for wider global cuisine choices for the convenience on the move market expands further as the year progresses. And it’s interesting this is coinciding with fast casual grab & go /coffee shop brands also moving in the opposite direction – towards evening dining. For example Benito’s Hat has launched an assisted service style in Bromley just before Christmas which has reportedly resulted in a 40% increase in its evening food sales – cocktail sales were also increased in the process by 38%. This follows hot on the heels of Starbucks high profile Starbucks Evenings format, adding evening food and alcohol to extend the day part opportunities to its loyal customers…
“After 4 p.m, you’ll experience a more mellow, less hurried atmosphere perfect for winding down and having casual conversations.”