Retailers are increasing the amount of funds they are borrowing to improve their food-to-go ranges.

Alex Afek, managing director of finance provider Got Capital, told RN the average amount retailers are now applying for has doubled to £10,000. “The average value of finance applications last year was £5,000, but retailers now require more staff or have to expand to accommodate trends such as hot food,” he said.

“Independent retailers are looking to buy equipment such as fridges, or to refurbish their stores to cope with products that attract more footfall.”

In comparison, 15% of Century Business Finance’s loan applications from retailers this year were to improve food to go, compared to 5% in 2017.

Managing director Ben Larkins said: “The average funding for food to go remains at £20,000 to £30,000. However, more retailers are looking to put hot food concessions into their stores or replace fixtures in order to keep up appearances. 

“They’re branching out into areas we had never previously seen in convenience stores.”

Seelan Thambirajah, of Premier Gostwick Road in Bedford, invested £5,000 in food to go when he refurbished his store in April. He told RN: “Last year, I spent £1,500, but I wanted to add equipment such as coffee, slush and hot dog machines this year. 

“It was worth it, because my food-to-go margins increased by 5% and sales rose by 15% in 12 weeks.”

The increase follows the ACS’s recent Local Shop Report, which says retailers spend just over £13,630 every year on store improvements.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “These figures show retailers are looking at substantial investment in this area. 

“However, only 7% of funds come from banks, credit unions and other asset financing.”