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What we learned from food-to-go in Copenhagen

Copenhagen for us in an excellent location for food-to-go inspiration and innovation, and one we regularly return to. Ahead of our food-to-go safari on 7 September, here's what we learned from our latest visit:

1. 7-Eleven Denmark remains a best-in-class convenience retailer

This is driven by its focus on evolving and developing its food-to-go proposition. It is very much positioned as a food-for-now specialist, with a strong range across different day parts / missions and a good breadth of sandwich / salad/ grab and go options sitting alongside the counter based lines. Hot food is well-represented - including kebabs - while there's also good breadth across healthier, vegetarian and plant-based lines, enabled not least through partnerships with innovative suppliers such as The Protein Kitchen. In particular we've been impressed by its travel location sites, notably at Copenhagen Airport, where it is now in the midst of a major expansion, and at the Central Station. In the station store in particular, the store design and layout feels like it’s very much been curated with the customer journey in mind, aiming to make the customer flow through the store as seamless and fast as possible.

2. There's lots to learn from how healthier food-to-go chains have been able to build scale

GRØD is perhaps the best known example here, and a long-standing favourite of ours for how it picks up on and encapsulates several prevalent food-to-go trends, not least but not only health. It's a business based around porridge, but in its broadest sense with a healthy, grain based menu that covers the key day parts - it's not just about breakfast. But it's not the only one - the likes of Palaeo, 42 Raw and Pure Greens Club play strongly in this space.

3. Operationally, locational flexibility is a key attribute among food-to-go specialists

Copenhagen is not a big city, so for any food-to-go business looking to grow, the ability to work across different locations is important. This is best seen in summer, when seasonal spaces, such as Broens Gadekøkken, open up and expand the opportunity. Selected operators also target major summer festivals, such as this week's Roskilde.

4. The Noahs smart kitchen concept is hitting more locations, meeting both offline and online food-for-now missions

For some time now we've been tracking the development of Noahs, a smart kitchen concept already present in three locations, two of which are Menys supermarkets. And there's more expansion to come here, as they look to work with a wider range of operators in the future. The trick here is in articulating multiple menus into the operation of a single kitchen. Operational efficiency, enhanced by unique tech, lies at the core of how Noahs operates.

5. The wider foodie culture increasingly permeates into food-to-go

The culinary scene across the city is outstanding, albeit traditionally restaurant focused. But with newer enterprises such as Hija de Sanchez and POPL burger, the spirit and excellence of top end restaurants such as Noma is moving into the food-to-go space. Destinations such as the Torvehallerne do a fantastic job in bringing different elements of this together.

Our next Copenhagen safari takes place on September 7th. If you're looking for inspiration across different opportunities for food-to-go in convenience, or across broader food-to-go concept development, then why not join us? Click here for more details of this and other upcoming safaris and to reserve your space.


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