Five lessons from Ireland: How Spar retailer Thomas Ennis aims to be the best in fresh

At the ACS Summit, Spar retailer Thomas Ennis explained how he became the best in fresh and how other independent conveneince retailers can raise the bar

When Dublin retailer Thomas Ennis started out in 2005, he started with a vision to have the best fresh food and drink in the market.

Working with Spar, he now runs 12 city centre and forecourt stores and his business turns over €20m (£16.8m) a year.

At the ACS Summit last week, he revealed five ways you can make more from food to go and quality, fresh food:

  1. Bring in baristas. “I’m not a fan of machine coffee. All my stores have barista-made coffee and on that one product we do €52,000 (£44,000) a week. If you want to be known for good food, you need a good hipster barista,” he said.
  2. Don’t go in cheap. “I don’t buy cheap stuff. It has to be high-end, quality product because consumers can’t be fooled. They know what good food should taste like.”
  3. Know your margin. “It shocks me how many retailers don’t know this. If you’re self-employed you have to know everything.”
  4. Get on the floor. “We have our meetings and talk to our suppliers on the shop floor. This helps us find ways we can be better.”
  5. Do what you love. “We opened up a shop called Spar Gourmet in 2011. I reached a margin of 42% in that shop and our others run at 30%+. Everything I do is about food because I love it and because you make more money.”

For lessons from America from the ACS, click here


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