Demand for a wide range of on-the-go lunch options is growing, but do you know how to capitalise on it? RN asked 3 retailers who are already cashing in on the trend to help out.

Anish-ParekhAnish Parekh, Londis Broadoak & Post Office, Ashton-Under-Lyne

Lunch is an important part of the day for us, we have stiff competition but it provides something a little different and gives people a reason to come into our store.

Lesson for your store: Try something new

Anish wasn’t sure his customers would take to his new Asian-style wraps, but they’ve proven very popular.

We run promotions on yogurt pots, snack cheeses, breadsticks and chocolate mousses and they’re all very popular. Recently we introduced Asian-style wraps from a local supplier, which use genuine spices and have an authentic taste, and they’re doing surprisingly well. We’re quite a traditional area but people’s tastes are becoming more adventurous, we started off selling four or five a week and are now doing about 20.

 

Debbie-DyerDebbie Dyer Debbens News, Waterlooville

We used to only sell cheap sandwiches for as little as £1.29, but we found they weren’t an impulse buy.

Lesson for your store: Take customers’ orders

Encouraging people to call ahead and order lunch could drive sales and give you a better sense of what people want.

 

 

Now we have nicer, more expensive, sandwiches, and people will have a look in the chiller and see a BLT and grab it. We do a lot of other food to go, including burgers and hot pies from our kitchen. It changes with the weather, so in the winter we might do curry or a soup with a bread roll and it’ll sell really well. People can call ahead too – we have some builders working nearby and they’ll ring up in the morning so we can have their bacon sandwiches ready for when they go on their break.

 

AmardeepAmardeep ‘Rocky’ Singh, Go Local Extra, Chesterfield

We have a kitchen in our store so people can see us preparing the food, which helps build good customer rapport.

Lesson for your store: Focus on the high margins

A range of fresh lunch food could help balance your store and make up for sectors where margins are tight.

 

We do cold sandwiches – BLTs, cheese, peppered ham, crab and prawn – and chicken wraps too, which we present as healthy options. Also lots of pasties and hot burgers. The margins are phenomenal, we double up our money. We’ve got eight metres of groceries and we can make more from the kitchen in two hours of lunch trade than from a week on groceries. Next we’re looking at introducing a café as the closest competition is a greasy spoon three miles away, so we could do great business on that.

Interviews by Toby Hill