Marks & Spencer has revealed that its evolving 'hot hold' food-to-go offer, including UK favourites such as sausage rolls and rotisserie chicken, is to be extended to 100 stores in the near term; expanding its food-to-go capability in day-parts such as breakfast and in winter time, when cold options have less appeal.
Source: IGD Research
Key opportunity in franchise partner locations
Famous as a lunchtime destination for the quality of its chilled food-to-go offer, M&S first launched its hot cabinet ranges at its head office store a year ago; and this has now been extended to 44 company operated stores. Now the offer is to be rolled-out to franchise stores as well, many of which are sited in prime food-to-go locations such as travel hubs, forecourts and hospitals, often where hot options will offer future scope to compete with specialists in the space.
Overcoming development challenges in packaging and location
In comparison to the chilled offer, 'hot hold' poses a number of challenges with regard to aspects such as packaging, where solutions that retain integrity within the hot cabinet and make the product conveniently portable are central to ensuring appeal for shoppers. Through extended trial M&S now believes it has a concept that will satisfy shopper expectations in terms of product and packaging performance, as well as one that performs in the retail environment by integrating hot cabinets alongside chilled display.