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Tasty morsels of retail magic

I’m sure you will have heard the fuss over a small independent New Zealand company which has taken New Zealand by storm, creating stampedes and snaking customer queues (plus a burgeoning black market) for liquid gold. Yes, it’s all happening right now in the retail sector.

Security guards have been stationed to monitor the chaos created by Lewis Road Creamery Fresh Chocolate milk. This chocolate gold is a special blend of premium milk and Whittaker’s five rolled refined creamy milk chocolate. And these guys are onto something here with stores throughout the country selling out within an hour of deliveries being made of the 300ml bottles for $3.59 and 750ml bottles for $6.29.

Jesse Muir/Facebook

This stuff is so rare that there is a burgeoning black market on TradeMe. I am too worried about the temperature management to buy it off Trade Me so I have resorted to getting my 9 year old to bribe a kid at school, who’s Dad who works in hospitality and appears to be getting a weekly back door stash of the stuff. However there are some guys out there sinking some great profits off their lucrative purchases. Others however are simply taking the piss like the dude trying to sell his ¼ bottle to those “disadvantaged people” who haven’t got access to the magic milk.

Earlier in the year I met with Neil Saunders from UK retail research company Conlumino, who shared some interesting information about the trending uplifts in retail from having a robust foodservice offer. Back in the old days (and I am talking the K-mart canteen in Redcliffe, Queensland circa 1978) foodservice was put into retail to round out the offer and ensure that shoppers had a reason to linger longer. If they didn’t need to leave the store then surely they would stay and spend more.

Recently, Barker’s Queen Street have opened Burrs & Grind within their Auckland concept store clearly riding the potential of this trend.

Burrs & Grind Barker’s Queen Street Image: Heart of the City

Conlumino’s research linked some interesting statistics around how a shopper’s relationship with food retail influenced their relationship with the store.

These are UK stats, but nevertheless impressive.

What was most interesting however was the potential uplift to key performance indicators for the retailer from having a food service offer:

Conlumino Research, UK.

Amazing innovation.

Just as the clever dudes at Lewis Creamy have realised, innovation in food retail excites customers. It is a sector of retail which needs to constantly explore new flavours, tastes and ways of doing things to keep shoppers interested. As those of you in QSR know, adding cheese and bacon can make sales sky-rocket.

So with so much opportunity on offer, no wonder retailers are jumping in to get a piece of the pie (boom boom).Here are some of the more interesting concepts that have come to market internationally during the last wee while.

Jafflechute anyone?

Some nutter Aussies came up with a brilliant idea for Melbourne’s first float-down eatery called Jafflechute. A jafflechute is a jaffle (toasted sandwich thingy) attached to a parachute (soft landing).

This clever concept to deliver takeaway food from the skies created a frenzy as those in the know pre-ordered their jaffle via PayPal ($5-$6) then received a message where their lunch would be dropped that day. The hungry customers caught their loot at an agreed time and place where x marked the spot. Bloody brilliant if a tad weird – but why not? These guys are going global.

Beyond the Cronut

Photographs: Niko Triantafillou

The Big Apple was the origin of the cronut and is now the originator of the Cookie Milk Shot.

Dominique Ansel’s Bakery has debuted this wonderful shot of flavour. Cookie dough that is shaped into a shot glass that is filled with milk and eaten together – blissful, accessible, heart-warming indulgence.

Eataly is on its way to Sydney

This Italian food megastore opened in Turin in 2007, then Tokyo and New York City.

This eatery is a perfect blend of authenticity, gastronomy and the celebration of togetherness. Eataly takes the premise of the bustling Italian square and market to heart and mixes it with grocery retailing, tasting rooms and instant dining. Buy, taste, learn, enjoy.

Watch fresh pasta being made while you chow down on authentic pizza and then take home some wonderful wine, produce. That’s amore.

Mere words in a blog do not do justice to this magical immersive gastro-experience. The NYC Eataly boasts a rooftop brewery and gastropub. My kind of place.

A flying fat duck

The Fat Duck is famed as one of the best restaurants in the world and Heston Blumenthal has got creative and upped sticks for a pop-up restaurant at the Crown Melbourne from February 2015.

Image: Chef Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck

Serving Australia’s most expensive meal ($525 per person), it will be fully booked for the six months it is in the country. Some genius figured the best way to run the reservations was to institute a ballot system, independently drawn to be “fair”.

Heston’s staff, menu and servingware are being relocated for the Aussie adventure from Bray in the UK where the 3-star Michelin restaurant has a permanent residence. The Fat Duck at Crown Melbourne will open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday from February 3, 2015. With 280 services available over the six month period, 14,000 seats means revenue of $7.35m. Who said retailing is tough?

But you are plum out of luck if you were hoping for a taste of Fat Duck deliciousness.

The ballot is closed .

The Fat Duck’s quail jelly truffle toast and oak film strip Image/The Fat Duck

Brilliant retail should allow the shopper to explore new, exciting and innovative products and services. These smart cookies in food retailing are showing how creative thinking around re-packaging old concepts, reengineering existing concepts and taking cues from shopper’s emotional relationships with them can be an incredibly lucrative lesson.

Nom, nom!

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