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SPAR Bake-Off: Partner implementation in Northern Ireland

February 18, 2019 IN THE CATEGORY: Feature articles

SPAR International’s plug & play bakery solution, SPAR Bake-Off, was launched last year at the 63rd International SPAR Congress. Since its launch, the instore concept has been trialled and implemented in six SPAR countries. One of these countries is the UK, where long-standing SPAR Partner, SPAR Northern Ireland, have successfully brought the solution to life. To get a better understanding of all that's involved in implementing the concept instore, we spoke with Neal Kelly, Fresh Foods Director.

How many instore bakeries have you launched?

At end 2018, we have launched the concept in two of our stores: The full concept in EUROSPAR Lagan Valley and a hybrid concept in EUROSPAR Rathcoole. The two stores have very different customer profiles, but what’s so great about the concept is that it can be adapted to suit different formats and customer needs.

What has the shopper reaction been?

The reaction has been extremely positive. Many of our customers have told us that they wouldn’t expect to see such a range of offering at a EUROSPAR Supermarket. We hold regular instore tasting of products that are either new or on promotion within the bakery range. Customer interaction is the key – our bakery concept is in its infancy and this interaction is extremely valuable to introduce and educate the customer. There is a clear correlation between the featured sample items and sales of these items. Customers in both stores are pleased with the concept. Their feedback on items they would like to see or want to see more of helps to shape what we do.

What is the average size of the concept instore?

In both stores, the instore bakery production space is between 9m2 -11m2, so quite small scale. Customer facing merchandising space is different in both stores. In most of our future stores, the space allocated will be a maximum 11m2 due to store size constraints. The bakery section is the first area which customers reach within our Food-to-Go serviced propositions.

How long did it take for implementation?

Our first team meeting for the project kick-off was in March 2018 and we launched the concept instore in August 2018. The project was a cross-company, inter-departmental team effort. We sourced new and updated products which were taste tested and graded for relevance to our proposition and customer base. We sourced new fixtures and ovens through SPAR International Preferred Suppliers. We also built on the SPAR Bakery branding to develop a suite of materials tailored to our market.

What was the average monetary investment made into the Bakery concept?

The average spend was £25,000 for both of the stores detailed above.

Was an instore bakery solution new for you and has it created new jobs?

We sold bakery products instore before, however this was a one size fits all solution. A major benefit of this bakery concept is how it can be scaled to suit the store and customer, whilst still maintaining a strong presence. Recognising the importance of the bakery department, we plan to introduce pre-packed bread & cakes alongside the fresh bakery range as a hero department in our stores. In our full concept store we have recruited two staff members to run the bakery, whilst the hybrid has a shared staff resource within our Food-to-Go propositions.

What convinced you to implement SPAR Bake-Off?

We wanted to deliver a solution that gave real presence to fresh bakery in our stores. Market research has shown that bakery customers will spend more instore and will visit the store more frequently. Switching to the Fresh Bakery concept allowed us to effectively tear up the rule book and reset our proposition. We sourced new products, adapted a new look and feel, and developed a new operational approach. Our previous bakery offering worked well in some stores but not all as it wasn’t scalable or adaptable to our different customer needs.

How valuable has the Plug & Play concept been?

The plug and play aspect of the fresh bakery concept has been insightful and has assisted us immensely in launching the concept. Rainer Glaubitz at SPAR International has been a fantastic go-to person for all aspects, providing guidance and support when needed. He was also involved in our taste tests, supplier presentations and developing our operations instore. We benefited from our engagement with suppliers, capitalizing on their knowledge of shop-fitting solutions, ovens and raw products. All the work done to create this plug & play concept meant we were able to launch the SPAR Bake-Off in a fraction of the time it would have taken us previously and with a much more considered proposition.

The plug & play fresh bakery concept has allowed us to compete in a market of fresh bakery that we previously had little presence in.

Source: SPAR Northern Ireland

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