Trimming down to meet demand

We all know how tough things are at the moment. But some retailers are coping surprisingly well by re-focusing their product offerings onto smaller, lower-priced items.

I’m convinced that a large part of our ongoing success is because we’ve always kept a sharp focus on affordability and value for our customers. We recently had several clients asking if we could somehow add a daily range of low-cost food items for around 60p, so we thought hard about the best way to do that.

In the end, we decided to introduce a loss-leading ‘back to basics’ daily offering of good and nutritious hand-held items like garlic bread, small pepperoni bagels, cheese on toast, that kind of thing – all starting from 50p. Every day there’s something slightly different to choose. This isn’t fancy food, but it is good, bargain-priced fare. Take the garlic bread for example. It has a basic garlic butter, but without the cheese and herbs that we’d normally add.

We don’t produce these items by the thousand or even by the hundred, and we don’t make any margin on them either. Each day there will be 20, 30 or 40 of these only, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. And then tomorrow, you might spot something else.

You can liken this to what you might find at the back of your favourite supermarket – you know, those specially reduced products placed alongside your essentials like bread and milk. These are limited in number, they don’t last for long and you do have to look out for them.

The items I’ve just mentioned are not the focal point of our food service, but they’re fun to spot, they add interest as well as ‘sprinkling’ a dash of extra value through the service.

On the subject of listening to customers, we’ve also had some weight-conscious teachers asking for ‘calorie counting’. As a result, we’ve now added calorie counts to some of our mainstream menu choices.

If you took me aside and asked: ‘what is it that Cucina sells?’ the obvious answer for me to give would : ‘food’. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? It’s more about ‘good nutrition and healthy living for all’. And that’s what these extra options are really all about.

Till next time,

Steve

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