As you’d expect, this year’s show had no shortage of tasty morsels to snack on – and there were two clear trends on display: health and pastry. These two food streams, at opposite ends of the dietary spectrum, were in abundance.
Not being a technology event, the number of vendors in attendance at Lunch! was small but mighty. One of those was our partner Yoyo Wallet; it was on hand to show how its award-winning payments and loyalty platform can transform a business – especially when used in conjunction with digital pre-ordering!
When we arrived at the show we were keen to attend two keynote discussions in particular, one from analyst IGD and another from the NPD. Both groups were tackling industry challenges and how food-to-go retailers and QSRs can flourish, however the angles they took were very different.
IGD: The Changing World of Food-to-Go
Gavin Rothwell from IGD promised to share his latest insights on the top trends and innovators to watch globally, in essence highlighting some amazing global innovators and the activities they’re undertaking.
The growing role of partnerships was one of two key themes we picked out from the discussion. Gavin illustrated the forming of relationships between Whole Foods and Amazon, and M&S and Wasabi as ones to watch, before referring to Irish retailers BWG and their new agreement with Freshly Chopped as particularly interesting. Each of these partnerships is playing its own role in transforming the convenience market, providing multi-service offerings beyond traditional grocery concepts at a time when QSRs are pulling ahead in the food-to-go marathon.
The second, related theme, was the fusion of retail and food-to-go, in-store. Some of the world’s most forward-thinking retailers are developing their own in-house offerings; Kroger in the USA as well as Fresh The Good Food Market in Dublin were singled out. Fresh The Good Food Market offers customers a menu which changes daily in order to heighten the attraction of shop cafes/outlets. It even features mini-in-house-brands, such Off Beat Donuts, to attract greater footfall.
NPD: Keys to Surviving in Challenging Trading Times
Across the show floor, Cyril Lavenant from the NPD kicked off his keynote with the gloomier topic of Brexit. He pointed out what we all know, that the foodservice industry is facing very challenging times. Costs are surging and demand (in some areas) declining. He also stated that retail is behind QSRs for food on the go, an interesting point given that, just a few years ago, the hospitality industry turned to retail, developing digital technologies that had proved successful in that arena. It seems now, the tables have turned – a point that ties with IGD’s presentation.
Using graphics Cyril showed that, since January, customer traffic has been slowing down. What does this mean for the high-street QSR? Simply that it is harder to make consumers spend their money and therefore it is essential to differentiate a brand. Guests need to feel that they are getting value for money at a time when they have less disposable income.
The NPD’s summarised suggestions for responding to challenges in the industry were:
While we agree with much of this list we have to take issue with the need to ‘be part of aggregator apps’ – a suggestion like this does not take into account the massive drawbacks of such relationships. Rather this point should be – have a digital presence and website – something that takes into account the wider range of proven opportunities available.
You might think our point is bias, but actually Cyril’s next slide confirmed our argument, saying that click and collect is better suited for QSRs than delivery. The NPD believes that click and collect can reach 6% of the On the Go market by 2022, i.e. 400 million visits, X2.6 vs 2017.
In summary of his talk, Cyril said that:
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.