Local vs National fast food options

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Walmart Brings Local Curry Flavor to UK Stores 08-23-2011

It’s a common to walk into a big box store and find a McDonald’s, Starbucks or some other large foodservice banner with space inside. What’s not common is to find local restaurants cooking up dishes inside a national or regional chain store. That’s what makes the news that Walmart’s Asda business is setting up “curry counters” run by local Indian restaurants across England interesting.

The first counter, which opened at an Asda store in Birmingham in April, has seen sales triple in that time, according to reports by The Sunday Mirror and Just-Food.com. The counter is operated by Zouk, a restaurant based in Bradford.

“Our customers love the authenticity and quality of the range at Zouk, and with more and more families on a budget, but not wanting to sacrifice eating out, launching this new concept is a winner,” Noor Ali, ethnic buyer, frozen, non food & concessions at Asda, told The Sunday Mirror.

Ms. Ali said the growing popularity of Indian dishes makes this move a no-brainer for the chain.

“We sell more than 3,000 ethnic products and Asian is by far the largest and most popular. Launching restaurant -­ managed curry counters in our stores and giving local businesses the opportunity to expand is a natural step for us,” she said.

Asda has opened three other curry counters in stores since the April launch and plans dozens more across England, including locations in London. The counters planned for London will be operated by Chak89, which runs an award-winning curry house in Mitcham, Surrey, according to Just-Food.com.

Discussion questions:  On balance, do you think local restaurants would perform better or worse than national chains in leased space within big box stores? Are there any stores you’re familiar with in the U.S. that are already doing this successfully?

My post:

The idea of using high-quality, well known local eateries rather than national chains in retail environments is not new.  But WalMart (Asda) is to be applauded for offering this choice.  The US consumer is certainly infatuated with the national fast food banners, but that does not mean a well known regional player would not be a fantastic addition to the mix.  The key is to offer choice.  It also is a good P.R. move for a big box retailer to curry favor (excuse the pun) with the local shopping public.  In the end, the idea only works if the consumer responds. In this case, they certainly did.  Always something to learn…

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at Retailwire.com:  Walmart Brings Local Curry Flavor to UK

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