More attractive, more diverse, more culinary: retailers are increasingly focusing on food service. Combining food with the retail customer journey is considered the success formula of the future. In times of online shopping any food service offered allows retailers to set themselves apart and boost footfall. This is why retail food service will also be a “hot ticket” at EuroShop 2020, The No.1 Global Retail Trade Fair, in Düsseldorf from 16 to 20 February 2020, where an eighth Dimension was specifically designed for this: the Food Service Equipment experience.
Jumbo City in Amsterdam prepares soups, sushi and sandwiches for its shoppers at an open kitchen. Carrefour brews beer at its Mons outlet. The London mini-supermarket chain Eat 17 brings in local street-food partners. Interspar in Vienna offers take-away food and snacks prepared at its dedicated food service establishment on site. Wherever you turn – food service offers are booming in retail. While supermarkets in the USA, Great Britain and the Benelux countries already discovered culinary services early on, this market is now also gaining momentum in Germany. More and more food retailers and department stores as well as fashion boutiques and bookstores are now integrating food service units into their shops. “In 2019 the sector will generate gross revenue of around EUR 10 billion with retail food services in Germany,” forecasts Olaf Hohmann, in charge of the research on retail catering at the Cologne-based EHI Retail Institute. This corresponds to a roughly 4% increase against 2017.
Food Service Wave across the Board
At EUR 5.2 billion the majority of retail food service sales are generated in food retail in Germany. The rest is accounted for by shopping centres, filling stations, furniture stores and other specialist retail formats. The spectrum of concepts found in food retail is wide and varied ranging from little shops in the check-out area, bakery-cum-coffee shops, sushi and smoothie bars to gourmet stations and restaurants in the middle of the shop floor. One flagship project is the outlet opened by Edeka retailer Zurheide in 2018.
At the lavishly remodelled Crown complex in Düsseldorf’s city centre the retailer has installed eleven food courts seating 380 on two floors. Shoppers can find a Premium Beef Bar, a gourmet restaurant, a vegetarian restaurant and a Champagne bar. Food services are also gaining ground at shopping centres. While the percentage of floor space used for food services still stood at 6% some years ago, it can be as high as up to 20% at the new centres. As is the case with Hamburg’s modernised Europa Passage: its “FoodSky” brings together services as varied as snack bars and star-rated chefs. Operator ECE even goes one step further with “Foodtopia” opened in early September 2019 at the re-built shopping centre MyZeil in Frankfurt. Set against the hustle and bustle of a market hall visitors will find a complete food service floor on the top storey here featuring a mix of international and regional concepts, coffee bars, lunch eateries, bars and fine dining restaurants. This concept differs substantially from the food court standards such as pizza, pasta and Asian snacks offered so far.
Setting Yourself apart from Online and Discount Ranges
Trading up is the order of the day. In these times when online shopping and big-box retailers are gaining strength, physical retailers have to stand their ground. Today, shopping is a mouse click away – and can all be done from the comfort of your own home. Retailers counter this with ideas and investment. Food service plays a key role in many concepts when facing shrinking retail space. This becomes particularly evident with fashion department stores that are particularly affected by online shopping. When done well, food services add to the atmosphere and customer journey and provide shoppers with incentives to stop by. By ECE accounts, good food services today contribute to increasing the length and quality of stay at shopping malls. Some 60% of visitors make use of the food services during their visit. Some 40% even select a shopping centre by the food on offer there. The fact that the use of food services is then often linked with other purchases on site has long been confirmed by the Cologne-based retail researchers in a consumer survey recently conducted with Nuremberg GfK. According to this survey, almost one in two food service customers uses the opportunity to also shop for other everyday goods.
Eating Out is gaining in Popularity
Altered societal conditions also help the trend towards more food service offers. Fixed meal times are disappearing, fewer and fewer households cook themselves. Working people with little time at their disposal increasingly eat out of home replacing fixed meals by snacks. Convenience food is a mega trend: demand for convenient, ready-to-eat meals as well as the growing focus on health and well-being are key drivers for novel service offers. In open-plan kitchens supermarket chefs personally prepare meals, salads, soups and sandwiches thereby also catering to consumer preferences for fresher and craft foods. Ready-to-eat take-away products – be it snacks “to go” or ready-to-cook meals that only take a short time to prepare back home – are among the biggest revenue generators in retail food service. According to the EHI study, food retail generates to the tune of 58% of its food service sales – approx. EUR 3 billion – with convenience food in the check-out area. Only 4% of turnover is accounted for by food consumed on site.
Challenges: Plenty of Work, High Staffing Levels
An engagement in food services is not a sure-fire success. This business comes with considerable challenges for retailers who focus on experience, catering and in-house production. The requirements and tasks are rising, not forgetting the investment in food service kitchens and design. Where functional furnishings sufficed in the past, a great deal of emphasis is today placed on lifestyle and beautifully designed interiors because the quality of stay is key. Furthermore, processes need to be professionalised and run by expert employees. Finding the staff is one of the biggest problems in the industry. Digitalised processes are also a major topic.
Technology for Easy Preparation and Efficient Processes
The manufacturers of food service equipment are now rising to these growing demands with matching solutions. Such as baking in front of shoppers: “The equipment used by bakeries in supermarkets has changed fundamentally over the past few years. Initially, there was a single oven with standard functions and a small rack of shelves holding 5-10 different products. Today, the bakery niches form an integral part of the market. There are 6 ovens lined up and the shelves filled with a wide variety of pastries and snacks,” says Madeleine Franz von Wiesheu describing the change. The company specialising in shop baking ovens will present equipment at EuroShop whose functions are designed to ease processes and reduce employees’ workload. There will be a new hot air oven on display with fully automatic self-cleaning and an automatic charging system. Manufacturer Rational specialises in innovative cooking techniques and focuses on multi-functional cooking systems designed to increase productivity in supermarket kitchens, coffee shops and filling stations. “At EuroShop we will pick up on new trends and demonstrate how healthy snacks can also be prepared easily by non-expert staff,” explains Carina Rister of Rational AG. Furthermore, they are launching a new networking solution that also allows hygiene processes to be managed. Zummo wants to prove at the trade fair that retailers can offer their nutrition-conscious shoppers healthy extras even on a small footprint. This Spanish supplier is showcasing a comprehensive range of juice squeezers for juice bars including solutions for self-service counters and vending applications.
The Future: More Sustainability, More Convenience
What other hot topics are on the horizon? More organic products, more sustainability, more E-commerce and, above all, more convenience are mega trends that will leave an even stronger mark on retail worldwide. Food plays an enormously important role in consumers’ lives. Although consumers tend to cook properly more rarely, their demands on the food front are rising. Eating habits are getting ever more personalised and more and more people take an interest in the foodstuffs they are consuming. They want to know where their food comes from, how it is processed and prepared. This gives retailers an opportunity for added activities: on “indulgence evenings” retailers can inform their shoppers about nutritional facts, invite producers to explain cultivation and production methods or bring in top chefs to organise gourmet evenings and cooking workshops. Experts agree: in the long run “shopping venues” will have mixed-use spaces. Department stores and supermarkets will no longer just serve a supply function but become social meeting points where not only food lovers enjoy spending some time.
At its new Food Service Equipment Dimension in Hall 14 of the Düsseldorf exhibition centre EuroShop will show how the right food service equipment and smart planning in retail – from special convenience and take-away concepts to attractive themed restaurants or even entire food worlds – can create new customer journeys and sustainable customer loyalty.
EuroShop 2020 occupies some 127,000 m² net over 16 exhibition halls and is open to trade visitors from Sunday, 16 to Thursday, 20 February 2020, from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm daily. 1-day tickets cost EUR 80 (EUR 60 sold online in advance/e-tickets), 2-day tickets cost EUR 120 (EUR 100 sold online in advance) and full-event tickets cost EUR 180 (EUR 150 online). Admission passes double as travel tickets for free return trips to EuroShop using public transport marked VRR (Verkehrsverbund-Rhein-Ruhr). www.euroshop.de
Make sure to also check out EuroShop’s online magazine which features news, interviews, reports, technical articles, studies, photo galleries and videos related to topics and trends in the international retail community 365 days a year. mag.euroshop.de