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Food to Go: The Dale Stores, Birstwith

The Dale Stores in Birstwith is a great example of a Food to Go retailer and we visited Matt, Andrea and their team to find out more about their success.

The Look

When we arrived, we were impressed by the friendly, energetic atmosphere, buzzing with community spirit. The layout makes this small shop feel spacious and inviting, while the design of the shop’s key features creates a beautiful rustic look. Even simple things such as pricing and offers are hand-written on chalk boards situated in easily visible locations. The Dale Stores has crafted a pleasurable shopping experience in an attractive setting, with a range that leaves you spoilt for choice.

The Range

The most exciting part of this store is the beautifully arranged delicatessen counter. Inside you’ll find a range of delicious savouries and sweets displaying anything from sausage rolls, scotch eggs, pies and olives to traditional cakes and tasty treats. They are all locally sourced and available hot or cold. There’s a kitchen on site that prepares fresh sandwiches, jacket potatoes, paninis and salad boxes from scratch.

The Food and Hygiene

In a food preparation environment, high standards are key. At The Dale Stores, the kitchen is visible to customers and all staff wear a clean uniform and the required food prep clothing. Reassured by the obviously excellent hygiene, and tempted by the wonderful displays, we were unable to resist sampling some. No regrets!

The Target

Throughout our time in Birstwith, the store was consistently busy, servicing a steady flow of friendly customers. The lunch rush however, really highlighted the success that Food to Go has brought to The Dale Stores. Between 12pm and 2pm, food orders outnumbered grocery baskets and the shop was lively with a diverse range of customers buying their lunch. Some even took advantage of the seating area at the front of the shop to sit and enjoy their food whilst taking in the stunning views of the village.
"Our main goal is to attract a real variety of customers from local residents, passing trade to people who just need a quick sandwich and a packet of crisps. All our produce is locally sourced and Food to Go has proven to be a success in our village and for all who visit.” – Matthew Walwyn, The Dale Stores.

The Things to Consider

While optimistic about Food to Go, Matt also understands the concerns that many have around wastage and has devised strategies to mitigate the risks. One such strategy of reducing wastage is by using unused food from the deli counter to create ‘sandwich specials’ to sell through before expiration. Matt has also taken the time to gain a strong understanding of popular selling days and customer favourites to know what to produce and when.

The Investment

Investing time and money wisely in Food to Go could attract a new audience to your store and encourage your existing shoppers to spend more with you. Don’t be disheartened if you do not achieve your objectives overnight. The success we witnessed in The Dale Stores is the result of years of planning and hard work. Food to Go is one of the largest shopping trends in convenience retail and shows no sign of stopping, so you’ve still got time to reap the rewards.

A special thank you to Matthew, Andrea and their lovely team at The Dale Stores for their hospitality and for allowing us to get an insight into their Food to Go success.

*HIM! source
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