Everyone will have noticed the supermarkets have been opening a huge number of local stores (Morrison excluded) mainly in the recognition that the people did not want to drive and shop; requiring greater convenience to buy their food more frequently often in walking distance of where they live, with the certainty of the brand’s prices and quality.
The internet and access to 4G is driving this change, and the supermarkets have been developing sophisticated internet home delivery options (Morrision included). bringing convenience of shopping to not just the home but the workplace. Food service is following the retail market in offering convenience with the restaurant chains developing home delivery options. There has been a huge growth in companies developing takeaway platforms such as Just Eat and HungryHouse and Pizza Express has announced 150 stores will offer a home delivery option. The latest AlixPartners / Peach report that some 1,770 new restaurants opened in the last 12 months; this amounts to some 7% growth, leading to the thought there will be saturation in certain markets
With the growth in home delivery where does this leave University caterers; who traditionally have offer a delivered hospitality service, which has become increasingly sophisticated utilising technology, combined with a reduction in T&C’s and shorter order times and improved product quality; however with internal budgets becoming under the pressure the challenge is on to find new sales opportunities.
There is also evidence that consumers are spending less time going out and switching spend from meals to snacks (‘grab and go’ and breakfast the only segments seeing real growth, which is good news for university caterers. The physical siting these outlets is critical, and ensuring that there are enough tills to break the queues and provide the necessary convenience.
There will be increasing demand for convenience and delivered takeaway products from not just the traditional customer groups, and technology will no doubt help in the logistics; but this business may not be incremental business, which financially is going to be challenging for any business, with essentially the ££ being spread across campus but at an increased cost. This is what the supermarkets and increasingly the restaurant chains will find, and there could be lessons for university food service caterers!
Director - Turpin Smale Catering Consultants
Mobile 07836 550356