Study,swipe and deploy....don't let the big boys steal your customers!
In 1998, when Tesco first introduced their ‘Finest’ range, I marched my team of chefs down to the local branch to study the range, to swipe and deploy ideas and take dish and food combinations back to our pub kitchen to put on our menus. “This” I said “is our new competition”. And as M & S and pretty much every other supermarket followed Tesco’s lead with luxury ‘dine-in’ deals, persuading our customers to stay at home rather than visit our pubs and restaurants – it turns out I was right! (Although exactly what’s so attractive about the washing-up that accompanies the stay-at-home option I’ve yet to fathom.)
16 years later if I was still an operator I’d be hot-footing it down to Waitrose in Keynsham, Somerset, to see the new ‘grazing area’ where according to Propel, (source Paul Charity) benches and tables, are provided next to the deli and bakery areas to allow customers to try upmarket, gourmet products that are on sale around the store. Customers can choose from platters serving ham, cheese and artichokes, together with a glass of wine for £7.50.
The sharing board has increasingly become a staple on many menus – but this takes it to a whole new level – a sort of deli version of Woolworth’s good ol’ “pick ’n’ mix”
Four reasons to include deli grazing on your menu:
- Casual dining or ‘grazing’ is increasingly the country’s way of eating, gone are the days of three square meals a day. People are used to being able to eat at whatever time of day or night they choose.
- A grazing board of imaginatively put together ingredients is easy for non-kitchen-skilled staff to put together (such as waiting-staff and front -of-house) Allowing you to provide an upmarket food option when the kitchen is closed
- Presentation – the use of attractive olive boards and mini pots and ramekins (and even mini colanders for salad) to present a colourful range of food items on a big grazing platter gives the customer a high perceived value of the dish, and allows you to command a higher price
- Fun – as a customer picking and mixing your preferred nibbles has huge ‘wow’ appeal for customers and by letting customers effectively ‘build’ their own deli–board gives the business owner an opportunity to tempt them to spend more with attractive menus and displays, increasing profitability with high margin ingredients such as bread, pate, coleslaw, olives, and jalapeño chilies etc.