Steve Bassett, owner of five Londis stores in the south of England, is responding to demand for food and drink on-the-go by offering his customers a broad range of products.

Steve Bassett

He says: “I think the convenience sector is becoming more and more like foodservice in the way that you have to offer a mix of all different types of food and drink throughout the day.

“This means putting more behind areas like hot food and drinks-to-go because these are the kind of things people want. Take our Westham Road store in Weymouth for example, where we have both Tango Ice Blast and a slush machine.

“Initially, I thought that the performance of Tango would cannibalise sales of slush but that hasn’t happened. They both sell for different price points and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the fact that no one has filled up a slush cup with Tango and tried to get it for a cheaper price.

“Luckily, the drinks are quite different in colour so we can quite easily tell the difference between the two. We also let people add things to their slush.

“They can turn it into a float with a portion of Mr Whippy ice cream or spend an extra 40p on a flake. We also let them serve themselves so it becomes more of an experience for them.

“Next week, we are adding a F’reall milkshake option to the store after seeing what it can do for other retailers. I think F’real definitely have a great opportunity to add more flavours in the future.

“Also, they are offering people a change from other drinks on the market. Our contract for our coffee-to-go machines is coming up soon so we might decide to change that as a result.

“I’m not sure whether it pays to go all out with a barista option but that might mean having to make space for seating which would only work in a store that has parking like our second Weymouth store on Abbotsbury Road. 

“There are certainly a lot of options to consider especially when we have our Otis doughnuts displayed alongside our coffee.

“Our Cook range is something that we could look to change to make room for other things. It doesn’t do too badly for us but it’s not something that delivers the same kind of sales that other retailers I know have achieved.”

Star performers: “We do well out of food-to-go but it is something you have to constantly change and update. I used to say that people shop in a convenience store for the next hour or so but now they are shopping for the next few minutes! ”

Successful NPD

Chicago Town Pizza to Go Cabinet

“We have recently introduced Chicago Town’s Pizza to Go in our Christchurch store. It works well because the kids like to have it after school. The only negative thing I would say is that it’s not self-service like our hot pasties and slush machine.”

Dr. Oetker began rolling out its Chicago Town Pizza to Go concept to all convenience stores earlier this year to help retailers tap into the grab and go market.

The company’s Pizza to Go cabinets allow c-stores and forecourts to prepare and sell 12 inch stuffed crust Chicago Town pizzas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Available in two flavours: loaded cheese; and loaded pepperoni, the products can be sold in quarter, half, and whole pizza servings (rrp £7 per pizza, sold in cases of eight).

Offering stores a 50% margin on each sale, the pizza cabinet is worth £550 + VAT and Chicago Town provides all it retail partners with free installation, free staff training and free POS. Contact for more information.