Manchester-based retailer Paul Stone has opened his eighth Spar store and expects food to go to make up a quarter of overall sales in the next year.

The 2,000sq ft store, located on Oxford Road in the city centre, opened on 15 March and cost £380,000 to develop over the course of 18 months. It is the first Spar store in the country to offer food to go services from food-service provider Clayton Park Deli.

Mr Stone told RN he expected sales from the deli to make up 25% of the shop’s overall takings, making it his most successful for food to go. 

“We’re in an area with extremely high footfall and, based on the success of food to go in my other shops, Spar and wholesaler James Hall & Co chose the new store to be the first for Clayton Park’s services.”

He added that the oven supplied by Clayton Park Deli has features designed to help handle peak times such as breakfast and lunch more efficiently.

“This will help food to go sales outperform my other stores by at least 10%,” he said.

Staff can use the oven to heat up products such as protein pots, ciabattas and wraps in an average time of 40 seconds. The deli will have 30 products available, with prices ranging between £2 and £3.50. Other features of the store include a seating area, free wi-fi, exposed brick walls and a wooden ceiling.

“There are a lot of busy professionals and students in the area,” Mr Stone added. “This means speed is the key to the food to go service. You can heat the food straight from frozen which will reduce waiting times.

“Labour costs will also be reduced because we’ll only need a maximum of two employees on the deli, which will help maintain overall margins.”

For more food to go tips, click here