Small things

Sometimes it’s the small things that make a difference. What a nice touch at the new Waitrose flagship store in Chester; traditional quality style cutlery in the café. A little statement to say we do things well around here, none of your normal plain and poor quality knives and forks you’d expect to find in a supermarket cafeteria.

Part experience, part quality messaging and raising the bar as usual at Waitrose. Can you tell I’m a fan? That little touch will be no accident as Waitrose have really ramped up their food service credentials in their latest flagship. Fancy a bite to eat? Patisserie bars have been rolled out in various stores for some time, but in Chester they also have a wine and tapas bar no less.

This theme seems to be continuing in existing stores as well, as the success of Waitrose’s free coffee and newspaper campaign is involving creation of space-efficient bar areas using for example what was previously dead space behind checkouts.

Upping the ante

Food service has long been a staple of department stores, and has been established in supermarkets for some time. Waitrose though are taking it to another level and keeping it very in tune with their values and so building brand equity. There’s a trend across retail in upping the ante on food service. We were interested to see that Uniqlo in New York became the first specialty apparel retail to install a Starbucks in their store.  More locally to us, the highstreet retailer, Next, has a Costa Coffee installed in their Trafford Centre store. It seems a wise move and a natural extension of the well proven principle of encouraging dwell time to increase purchasing.

Retail is ever-changing

It looks like an increasing food service offer is set to be an increasingly common occurrence. It will be interesting to see how far it is taken. One thing for sure though is that retail continues to change at a pace in all manner of ways.

Lucy Lorimer

Head Strategy