Retail Trends: why a good food to go offering is essential for your store

by 13 June 2017

Retail Trends: why a good food to go offering is essential for your store by Ellie Prior

The fast pace of modern consumer lifestyles has led to the significant growth of the ‘food to go’ (FTG) industry. Currently the FTG industry contributes £3.9 billion to the convenience sector, driving 890 million shopping trips to convenience stores every year. As a whole the FTG industry is worth a staggering £16.1billion, and is predicted by IGD to increase to £21.7billion by 2021. Providing a high quality attractive FTG offering will help convenience retailers capitalise on this growing trend, making more profit and surpassing the competition.

Extending and diversifying your product offering is one of the most accessible ways for convenience retailers to compete in the FTG market.  A survey conducted by IGD found that the most popular FTG products were sandwiches, soft drinks, hot drinks, savoury snacks and sweet baked goods; ensuring these are stocked in store is a simple way to join this growing trend.  Sandwiches in particular are an effective product to entice the lunchtime FTG shopper; the most popular time to complete a FTG mission is between 10am and 2pm according to IGD.

Another avenue convenience retailers can take to exploit the growing FTG trend is the addition of hot food and drink offerings in store. Hot food can either be prepared onsite or supplied by in-store food vendors such as Rollover hot dogs, attracting customers for a hot lunch or snack throughout the day.

The use of vending machines such as self-serve customer coffee units from Simply Coffee or Costa Express are an efficient way to offer hot drinks to consumers. Major fuel company Shell have seen the benefit of using Costa Coffee machines in their forecourt shops, recently renewing their contract with Costa for 740 coffee units in 536 stores, selling on average 70 cups of coffee a day.

As well as extending instore offerings, another method is the addition of on-site food service outlets. Euro Garages have used this tactic in their strategy to increase footfall to their estate of 341 sites, favouring food service providers such as Starbucks, Burger King, and Greggs. These food franchises can be a lucrative addition to a site, attracting customers with well-known brands and products.

Use promotions to drive footfall

Once the FTG products have been added to a convenience store’s offering, retailers can use promotions to attract consumers to fulfil their FTG mission at their store.

Meal deal promotions where the customer has the choice of a main item, drink and accompanying snack for a set price can be an effective method to attract customers in need of a meal on the go. With 24% of UK adults buying breakfast to go at least once a week this type of promotion doesn’t just need to be aimed at the lunchtime crowd – especially when coffee can be included in the deal.

Functionality on modern EPOS systems enables this type of promotion to be completed with ease, allowing a fixed price to be allocated with the promotion being fired up once one of each product is selected.

Providing a money off reward voucher when a certain amount of fuel is purchased can transform a fuel customer into a convenience or FTG customer, driving higher footfall to a forecourt shop. Advertising promotions such as a ‘happy hour’ with a certain percentage off all sandwiches or pies etc. during a specific time period can motivate customers to visit; all easily configured on the POS, allowing the flexibility for the promotion to be allocated on a timed basis or manually triggered.

The latest innovations

An exciting development in the industry’s newest EPOS solution is that in the event of an item being included in two different promotions – e.g. 2 Cola for £2, but also in a meal deal, the POS will evaluate which of the two deals is best for the customer and use that deal over the other one. This innovative new functionality means that rather than having to configure the POS so that it always gives one particular promotion over another, or setting it to use both deals, the system can evaluate the ‘best deal’, meaning the customer gets the best possible promotion for their money encouraging satisfaction as well as loyalty, and avoiding potential double discounting and resulting loss for the retailer.

For more information on how TLM can help your business use promotions to attract more food to go consumers, just get in touch!


Author: Ellie Prior, Marketing Intern, TLM Technologies

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