Blurred lines

The Hub team has been out and about in recent weeks at a number of foodservice industry events, briefings and lectures, all of which highlight one particular insight – the channel definitions are merging.

Speaking at the Arena Savoy Lecture, chairman of Centre Parcs UK and The Casual Dining Group, Martin Robinson also recognises this growth and suggests the UK market is starting to follow the US model of people eating out more, leading to the continued growth of the branded market.

Although Horizon acknowledged certain types of outlet are performing particularly well, including managed pubs, coffee shops and quick service restaurants, Martin Robinson addressed the fact that, like the US, what we now recognise as a pub, restaurant or even coffee shop is starting to blend.

At the Allegra UK Coffee Summit in February, managing director of Starbucks UK, Mark Fox, revealed the company’s plan to open longer, focus on food and introduce alcohol in the evenings. This is a concept that has already been working well for London-based outlets, Caravan and Notes. By day they operate a café, serving coffee, sandwiches and pastries, but in the evening they switch to a bistro style menu and ambience, serving freshly cooked food and alcohol.

With pubs becoming more food lead, also extending their opening hours to cover the breakfast and mid-morning occasion, and dine-in outlets, such as Jamie’s, expanding their grab-and-go offering, what is the key to survival in this market?

Well, to answer this, the final word goes to Martin Robinson. He believes that the brands to succeed will be the ones that deliver a key differential from the competition, ensuring they stand out in the market and meet consumer demand – delivering what they want and when.

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