Warner’s highlights the true potential for food-to-go
Case study - Warner's supermarkets
''We know that food-to-go is a massive market and we are confident that with our unique offering, we can really drive sales''
Since 2007, Warner’s has been championing local quality produce as a proudly independent group of food stores based in the Cotswolds. Launched by Guy Warner, a highly respected and influential member of the region’s food and drink scene, Warner’s has been successfully trading in the heart of the Cotswolds for more than 15 years.
Committed to working with the very best suppliers from the area, Warner’s stocks thousands of everyday items alongside many award-winning, locally produced items. Opening a brand-new supermarket in a purpose-built building in the heart of Upton-upon-Severn, a rural town at the foot of the Malvern Hills, Warner’s has further demonstrated its commitment and focus on food.
At the heart of the local community, the store offers more than a typical supermarket
Discussing the opening of the new site, Store Manager, Jack Cross starts by saying:
“We opened our new store in Upton-upon-Severn in May 2022 having constructed a purpose-built, state-of-the-art store, warehouse and offices. The store offers an elevated focus on what we have become known for. We’ve continued to focus heavily on local producers, complementing this with our partnership with Morrisons, which allows us to offer choice and value to our customers.”
At the heart of the local community, the store offers more than a typical supermarket. Facilities include a 24-hour fuel forecourt, a dedicated COOK section which offers restaurant-quality frozen meals and a dedicated food-to-go concept. Serving a range of delicious hot and cold food-to-go, much of it freshly prepared by an in-house chef, and a choice of hot and cold drinks, the investment in the food-to-go offering is something Jack and his team are proud of. He continues:
''Our current menu consists of a breakfast and lunch offering''
“Food-to-go has been a passion of Warner’s since the very beginning. The company was founded from a petrol forecourt and became one of the first of its kind in the country to bake bread and offer homemade food that could be consumed on the go – This set the tone for our future stores. In more recent times, we’ve seen food-to-go become commonplace in the retail sector, but we feel there is often a real lack of focus and a drive for quality.
That’s why we have placed such an emphasis on it when planning and opening our new Upton-upon-Severn store. Our current menu consists of a breakfast and lunch offering showcasing our great local suppliers where possible. For example, our bacon and sausages come from a farmer rearing pigs in the Cotswolds and our bread is baked nearby and delivered to us, fresh every morning. Ultimately, it’s a point of difference for us, setting us apart from other retailers and giving our customers the quality that they expect.”
''We recently appointed a chef, who works in-store to produce delicious meals throughout the day''
Understanding the importance of quality and delivering a choice for customers, the food-to-go offering at Warner’s Upton-upon-Severn is set to develop going forward. On the plans for the menu, Jack comments:
“The store is still less than a year old and as such, we’re continually working with our customers and our team to understand how we can develop our food-to-go offering. We know that food-to-go is a massive market and we are confident that with our unique offering, we can really drive sales, that’s why we recently appointed a chef, who works in-store to produce delicious meals throughout the day. We see a real opportunity with the 4pm – 6pm period, where freshly prepared, seasonal meals to go, or even doing themed evenings such as a pizza pop-up night is doable.”
While getting the quality of the food right was absolutely crucial, Jack and the team at Warner’s also understood that unless the customer could easily see the food, the sales potential would not be maximised. To really optimise the food-to-go offering at Warner’s Upton-upon-Severn, a quality holding and display solution was needed – Jack goes on to say:
''One of the main reasons we went with Fri-Jado was because of the great merchandising opportunities they offer''
“Being able to clearly see the food on offer is vital in a busy store environment. In many cases, food-to-go is an impulse sale, so being able to see the wonderful, fresh items on display is a great way to drive this and ultimately increase spend per head. At our new Upton-upon-Severn store, we decided to work with Fri-Jado to supply our hot and cold holding display units.
One of the main reasons we went with Fri-Jado was because of the great merchandising opportunities they offer. We’ve got three units in store, a hot and a cold MCC serve-over as well as a smaller grab-and-go unit. We see the serve-over units as invisible appliances – they’re fantastic. The design means that the customers can see straight to the product without any obstructions from the frame, seeing the quality for themselves. One of the things that we felt has lacked in the retail food-to-go market is a conversation piece. The serve-over units give us the opportunity to have that all-important talking point, explaining what the products are and the provenance of the ingredients.”
''We needed a counter that could not only display the food at its best but also hold it at its best for as long as possible''
While visibility is a key benefit for both the store and its customers, it’s also crucial that a food display can hold the product at an optimum temperature and consistent quality for an extended period of time. On this, Jack explains:
“We invest in using excellent quality ingredients and having the expertise of a chef to create a truly appealing offering; therefore, we needed a counter that could not only display the food at its best but also hold it at its best for as long as possible. As with any retailer, shrink is an important consideration so while we produce food to a little and often business model, we still need the quality to be maintained. Ultimately, the counters must keep the food hot, or cold but fresh in both instances and the Fri-Jado MCC range is perfect at doing that. We know we can serve our customers excellent quality food-to-go from the minute it’s made, to the minute it’s sold. On the flip side, the smaller grab-and-go unit is perfect as those customers in a rush can simply walk in, pick up a quality hot food item, head to the till and be out of here in minutes.”
''As a business, we would definitely recommend Fri-Jado''
It’s clear to see the emphasis that has been put on food-to-go at Warner’s Upton-upon-Severn and how important customer feedback is. Concluding, Jack says:
“We’re proud of our food-to-go offering at Warner’s Upton-upon-Severn. When you walk into the store you can see and smell our fresh food offering and it’s clear that it is not simply an afterthought. Ultimately, it’s something that really helps to set us apart from our competitors. We’ve had some great feedback from our customers which is helping shape the future of our offering, including having more choice for vegetarians and vegans.
As a business, we would definitely recommend Fri-Jado. The equipment has been fantastic and the support the company provided when we launched the store has been exceptional.”
Article written by: Andrew Taylor C.F.S.P. – Eat PR & Marketing