How to launch a grab & grow brand

16 Nov 2022

Post-pandemic, the high street looks (and feels) different. More so than that, it works differently too. A culture of instant gratification has fused with lockdown’s lessons, and now many consumers favour food and beverage operations and products that prioritise convenience and cost. Enter: Grab & Go’s growth.

Having worked with high street brands for years — both big and small — we find ourselves in a position to pass on our insider insights to those looking to break into this lucrative (and delectable) market. FYI: while the UK’s food-to-go market was impacted over the last 18-24 months, the grab-and-go sector is set to grow 32% this year, reaching £21.3 billion, surpassing its pre-pandemic value. Intrigued? Read on…

What is Grab & Go?

Quality. Quickly. That’s the name of the game. And while its name may offer a succinct definition, Grab & Go is essentially an F&B shop or destination that offers food products that have been pre-prepared and packaged in a production kitchen, then sold as it comes. As opposed to pre-ordered and personalised meals made to order.

It’s the undeniable ease that makes these kinds of products attractive to the modern-day consumer. And just like the rest of retail, contemporary nuances come into play: picking the perfect place to pop up is just as important as the shiny displays and technological innovations expected. So if you or your foodie brand is looking to take the next step and secure some IRL traction, or you have a tasty side hustle that’s ready to become your full-time gig, why not take a look at our Grab & Go spaces currently available to rent?

For inspiration, head to our Grab & Go Collection here.

How To Launch A Grab & Grow Brand

Where to Grab & Go?

In London, we’re seeing the creative grab-and-go scene bursting through since hospitality reopened, offices returned, and tourism picked up. But which spaces cause the most hype? It’s the deftly situated kiosks around town, of course. We recently helped brekkie favourite Egg Rush launch in Victoria Street's Kiosk, while sweet-tooth connoisseur Doughnut Time popped up in Liverpool Street Station’s Kiosk. Both of which saw great success and high footfall.

But it’s not just in London: our spaces across the UK have also helped F&B brands bring their ideas to life. For example, the yummy Medicine Bakery brand recently launched in one of our dedicated pop-up shops in Birmingham New Street Station. These spaces come comfortably close in proximity to National Rail services, making them ideal for those looking to increase brand awareness (as well as sales).

Similarly, we’ve seen increasing demand for Grab & Go spaces in the US.

Don’t get us wrong, however, it’s not just commuter spaces that bring in the big bucks and big numbers, we’ve also seen many brands find success through more local neighbourhood spaces — ideal for independent movers, shakers and bakers. The Old Bakery Space in South London’s Deptford, the Former Grill House Space on East London’s Bethnal Green Road and the Italian Store Space on Soho’s historic Old Compton Street are all currently available and ready to house new F&B concepts.

How To Launch A Grab & Grow Brand

How to Grab & Grow

Just like in any market, along with growth comes hungry competition. Making sure your F&B brand can stand out against the noise (and the big-name giants in the sector) means ensuring much more than a great location.

Contemporary consumers are a conscious bunch: they focus on sustainability and look closer at logistics and supply chains than ever before. Younger generations also love to know about the person behind the brand — think about what makes your endeavour different to those already out there, and make sure your relevance and personality shine through. Look to the Chris D’Sylva-founded Notting Hill Fish Shop, which advocates individuality with an in-store DJ.

You might also want to look into and consider non-traditional locations for your foodie pop-up shop. Think of unusual or under-served areas where you can intercept customers away from the expected commute to work. Just take Press London’s successful launch in Old Street Station as an example, or Pop-Up Grocer’s travelling store as inspiration. For more success stories, click here.

How To Launch A Grab & Grow Brand

Naturally, equipment costs and space, as well as labour force allocation, are all major factors that come into play when deciding whether an outlet’s offering is worth pursuing. Although advances in technology are making it a lot easier, “smart” fridge units and AI-enabled retail spaces are just the beginning. Any new brand looking to take up space on the high street (and stay there) should be willing to integrate its grab-and-go shop with phygital innovations.

The final touch to any Grab & Go offering? The packaging. Affecting both visual appeal and product integrity, a foodie brand’s design aesthetic is just as important as a fashion house’s. And so your packaging — the tangible design that will transport the consumer’s food from shop to mouth — needs to be more than memorable. Even though this is a product category that has been hit exceptionally hard by the recent supply-chain shortages. Consider this your chance to think outside the box. Pun intended.

Ready to start your grab-and-go journey? Click here.