simply fresh

Simply Fresh is set for two openings in as many months and is eyeing up further sites as it seeks to bolster its “foodvenience” offering.

A new Simply Local store will open in Reading in May, geared towards food-to-go while also offering a range of convenience groceries.

The 1,200-1,400 sq ft store will have an in-built Simply Fresh kitchen offering a home-cooked seasonal menu of hot boxes, from which customers can select a dish and accompaniment such as quinoa, spelt, mixed rice and salad toppers.

The kitchen concept, which already operates across a number of stores, also has the option to extend to salads, freshly made sandwiches, smoothies and a chilled display.

“It will be very much catering to instant gratification, feed-me-now solutions. It’s this bridge we’ve talked about with Little Fresh of foodvenience,” Simply Fresh creative director Davinder Jheeta told The Grocer. “We identified that this needs a little bit more than foodservice, it needs a convenience store, which is why it isn’t a Little Fresh.”

A Simply Fresh kitchen being installed in its existing Gosforth site in Newcastle upon Tyne is expected to open within the next two weeks.

As well as the new openings, Simply Fresh was in talks with franchise partner Compass UK to expand to healthcare sites and more university stores, Jheeta added. “There’s a number of sites in the pipeline and we’ve got stores that are trading particularly well, like the University of Surrey site, and we continue to work with them on some university properties and also some healthcare properties.”

This follows the opening of Simply Fresh’s 1,600 sq ft Picadilly Place store in Manchester last week, which features a bakery powered by affiliated suppliers and own brand Simply Fresh products. Morning goods and smaller products are overrepresented compared with loaves as Simply Fresh seeks to cater to the food-to-go market.

“When you are feeding the working population, which is the main footfall for the Picadilly store, and when you’ve got the offices around there, they use it for morning and for lunch and are therefore looking for instant gratification,” explained Jheeta.

“So food counters and food that can be cooked from a Simply Fresh store is something we’re looking to do more often. The Piccadilly store is a reflection of that.”