Jas Bhattle’s latest store is part of a new development in Piccadilly Place, central Manchester. Open since March and trading under the Simply Fresh symbol, the new store has a potential catchment of 4,000 people from nearby residences and office blocks. The location also brings challenges in terms of intense competition, so Jas and the Simply Fresh team have been working hard to create a point of difference with food to go, centred around his Piccadilly Kitchen hot and cold foodservice unit.
Food to Go
Hot and cold food to go is the key driver of traffic to the store, with the Piccadilly Kitchen counter offering items with a healthy but substantial proposition. Best-sellers are the chicken pesto wrap and the chilli beef rice box.
Products that need pre-cooking are prepared in advance in a restaurant owned by Jas.
The original shop plan included barista-style coffee, but a simpler bean-to-cup product for £1 proved more effective. “Coffee is cut-throat in Manchester,” says Jas.
Meal deals are also popular, with a sandwich or pasta pot, plus a soft drink and snack (crisps, chocolate or fruit) for £3.50. “Good value is important,” says Jas. “Just because someone is an office worker, it does not mean they are affluent.”
Jas admits that they are still “on a learning curve” in the location, and that the future focus is likely to be all about food to go.
Grocery performs adequately, but the returns from the allocated space are much higher for food to go than for traditional lines.
Instant consumption products are the most successful, with snacking and drinks performing really well, along with breakfast and lunchtime items.
The bright and lively craft beer range is among the best in the centre of Manchester.