Costcutter University of Warwick

Managed by Fabio Finocchiaro, the store’s strategic location at the heart of Warwick University campus provides it with a unique advantage. With a student population of nearly 29,000 and thousands of staff members, the campus essentially functions as a “town within a town” with the store at the heart of it.

Even though it faces stiff competition from other dining options, including 17 cafes and restaurants on campus and Tesco and Aldi supermarkets, the store has maintained its popularity for over 25 years, particularly for food to go.

Costcutter University of Warwick Meal Deal

One of main reasons, the store won this award was its innovative approach to meal deals and promotions. Recognising the importance of value for money, especially for price-conscious students, the store offers a range of meal deals throughout the day. From coffee and doughnut breakfast deals to hot food lunchtime offers, the store provides affordable options for every mealtime. Additionally, the introduction of “Cost of Living” deals, offering staple hot meals at unbeatable prices, reflects the store’s responsiveness to economic challenges and customer needs.

Its diverse food to go offerings also impressed the judges. The store’s dedication to providing a wide range of food to go options sets it apart from competitors.

Costcutter University of Warwick Sandwiches

With a third of its space dedicated to food to go, the store offers an extensive selection of international cuisines. From Asian and Korean to Indian and halal options, the store caters to the diverse tastes and dietary preferences of its customers. Moreover, collaborations with suppliers such as Trishaz Treats for vegetarian hot food and Tanpopo for sushi ensure authenticity and quality in its offerings. This commitment to diversity and quality ensures there is “something for everyone,” catering to various budgets and culinary preferences.

The store’s efficient staffing and management play a crucial role in its smooth operation and customer service. The store has a dedicated team of 43 staff, including both permanent and casual employees. During peak times, such as term time when sales can reach up to £200,000 a week, staffing numbers increase to 70 to ensure the store remains clean, well-stocked, and adequately staffed. A busy campus means that some customers may be in a hurry so investments in self-service capabilities, such as doubling self-service tills, enhance efficiency and accommodate high footfall, ensuring customers receive prompt service even during busy periods.

The team has a commitment to continuous innovation and adaptation which is evident in its evolving food to go offerings. By introducing new lines and sourcing from specialist importers and food manufacturers, the store ensures its offerings remain fresh, diverse, and competitive. Recent innovations, such as the introduction of Korean food and the expansion of vegan and vegetarian options, reflect the store’s responsiveness to changing consumer preferences and trends, ensuring it keeps its range as relevant to modern tastes as possible. Investments in new equipment, such as ovens and hot cabinets, support the expansion and merchandising of food to go offerings, enhancing the overall customer experience.

Costcutter University of Warwick Hot Food

The store’s approach to waste management and sustainability reflects its commitment to responsible business practices. By utilising the ‘Too Good to Go’ app and offering daily ‘Magic Bags’ containing unsold food to go items at discounted prices, the store minimises food wastage while providing affordable options to customers. Recent investments in refrigeration doors and an electric van for deliveries further support sustainability efforts and reduce wastage.

As well as reducing wastage, maintaining high standards of hygiene and food safety is paramount for the store. Adhering to Costcutter’s stringent store standards and the University’s strict protocols ensures the store consistently meets and exceeds health and safety requirements.

Costcutter University of Warwick Bakery island

Regular checks on chillers, hourly monitoring of bakery items, and bi-hourly checklists are built into the working day and ensure compliance with hygiene standards. Additionally, the store consistently achieves a 5 out of 5 rating on Food Hygiene inspections, reflecting its unwavering commitment to cleanliness and food safety.

While there is a captive audience due to its location, the store needs to stay at the top of its game when it comes shopper communication. Effective marketing and promotion play a crucial role in driving customer engagement and sales for the food to go category. The team leverage various platforms, including social media, digital screens, and traditional promotional materials. It works with the university marketing team while strategic placement of promotional materials enhance visibility and drive sales, with a particular focus on the store’s diverse offerings, affordability, and convenience, all to give it a competitive edge.

Looking ahead, the store’s team remains committed to innovation and growth, particularly within the food to go category. There are plans to strengthen the vegan and vegetarian offerings, introduce Mexican street food, and hot Kathi rolls, meaning the students of Warwickshire University won’t be going hungry any time soon.