Global food-to-go: 60 second update

Date : 14 September 2016

The latest wave of innovations and expansion from the vibrant world of food-to-go.

Shake Shack's international expansion continues

US cult burger chain Shake Shack's first store in South Korea open to huge acclaim in Seoul in July, building on what's been a busy two years for Shake Shack internationally.  Its expansion outside the US has been driven through licensing agreements with local operators, enabling rapid growth into markets such as Japan, Russia and Turkey. With c.100 "shacks" now trading, total turnover is set to reach c.US$250m in the current year. Same store sales growth is very healthy at just under 10% in Q1 2016 and the business remains primed for further growth.

Costa Express hits 6,000 machines

Costa Coffee has been expanding across many fronts, both in its domestic UK market and also internationally, with either company-owned or franchised stores now in c. 30 countries. Aside from stores, the Costa Express division, implanting high quality, Costa branded, machines at non-store, mainly retail, locations, has been growing fast. From a little over 5,000 installations at the start of March, the business has now reached 6,000, with expansion continuing at pace. Key locations include forecourts and convenience stores, and while the bulk of installations remain in the UK, there are now over 500 installations across nine non-UK markets, with Canada the most recent entry through an agreement with Shell. 

Itsu to expand to the US

The healthy Asian inspired food-to-go brand, a common feature across London, will enter the US as the next stage of its growth plan in 2017. Owned by Pret a Manger founder Julian Metcalfe, this comes off the back of strong trading last year, in which sales grew by over 20% to reach £82.6m.

Potbelly prepares for first Canada store

The US toasted sandwich chain Potbelly has enjoyed rapid growth over recent years, and now boasts over 400 outlets across the US, the Middle East as well as a single store in London's Westfield Stratford shopping centre. Next month it will enter another market, with a store in Toronto marking its first Canadian venture. A second store will follow in January 2017.

Greggs adds healthier pasty range in the UK

There's been a lot of recent range development at Greggs, and its latest introduction, a low calorie pasty, made with sourdough, was introduced this week. Greggs has been stretching its focus in recent years to develop appeal among a broader customer base, and this is just the latest move in this direction.  Introduced as part of its Balanced Choices sub-brand, the range developments sit alongside a strategy to grow into more locations, prioritising travel, leisure and work-centred catchments, as it moves beyond high streets. 

Sainsbury's introduces Sushi Gourmet concession

A long standing feature of many hypermarkets in France and Spain, Sushi Gourmet will open a concession in Sainsbury's Nine Elms store in South London later this month. In-store sushi counters remain relatively underdeveloped in the UK compared with, for example, France, though Waitrose has been adding counters in selected stores and plans for up to 50 in-store sushi counters across its store network. 

Keuken: fresh food hits vending in London

This week brings a new addition to the vibrant London food-to-go landscape, as Keuken opens its first store, on Eldon Street. The concept is cashless and entirely self-serve - customers access the product via self-serve pods, which are filled directly from the kitchen at the rear of the store. Through this approach, Keuken aims to deliver a quicker customer turnaround and, through lower staffing costs, competitive pricing. The range includes sandwiches, wraps and salads.   

Next steps in building your knowledge of the food-to-go opportunity

1. To build your base knowledge and awareness: See our profile of Costa Coffee and our assessment of the UK food-to-go marketSign up here to our monthly food-to-go update. 

2. To deepen your knowledge of the market and grow your network: Book onto our Food-to-Go Conference to hear from Pret a Manger, BP, SPAR and more, and taking place on November 22nd.

3. To see innovation and trends in action, and deepen your practical knowledge of food-to-go operators: Sign up to our Food-to-Go Retail Safari in London on November 23rd.

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