Booker has now opened its first implant within a Tesco store so we popped in to check it out. Located in the Tesco Extra hypermarket at Bar Hill, Cambridge, the Chef Central unit occupies approximately 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) partitioned off in one of the front corners of the store.
Source: IGD Research
Effectively a separate trading unit, it has its own entrance, welcome desk and tills, and stocks products drawn from the established Booker ranges, primarily targeted to the small-scale, independent catering business customer. While Chef Central is an established sub-fascia within many Booker cash & carry depots, this is the first time it has been deployed as a standalone format. If successful, it could be rolled into numbers of other Tesco hypermarkets to drive incremental sales from under-used space.
Top-up range for catering needs
With a range primarily comprising ambient bulk packs and catering formats the Chef Central unit provides an edited selection of Booker's frequently purchased products across key categories used by professional caterers. These include back-of-house (i.e. kitchen) staples, such as bouillons and stocks, as well as front of house staples such as portion packs for sauces. Key non-food consumables central to caterers' needs, such as takeaway packaging and cleaning products (including the ubiquitous 'blue roll') also have a significant presence.
Source: IGD Research
Limited chilled and frozen
In contrast chilled and frozen ranges have only a restricted representation (and fresh produce none), indicating it would be hard for many catering customers to do a 'full shop' at this location. However, bearing in mind the presence of the extensive Tesco offer so close by, there is clearly scope for a caterer to cross-purchase between the two to meet limited volume needs. Historically it has been recognised from Clubcard data that some of the biggest spenders amongst Tesco customers are likely to be those shopping for small scale professional catering business.
Open to the general public
While enabling registered Booker customers to shop as business customers within the store, the Chef Central unit is also open access for shopping by the general public too. Drawing on the inspiration of the well-known Costco best sellers, the store prominently displays cases of single serve bottled water and bulk packs of toilet roll, offering a strong value purchase for large scale domestic needs. While offering a limited range in licensed drinks the value provided by commercial case sizes also offers clear value for shoppers looking to entertain at home. Aiming to dissuade too many small value transactions, the store advertises a required minimum spend of £30, though this is a flexible threshold.
IGD Tesco Business Update 2018
23 May, London
Hear from Dave Lewis, Group CEO, Jason Tarry, Chief Product Officer, and Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer, along with their leadership team who will provide a business and commercial update.
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