Cash & carry or showroom?

It’s been more than a month since Brakes announced that it is opening a cash & carry, but jaws continue to drop at the news. Is it true? Could a delivered foodservice specialist really open a cash & carry? What does it mean for other foodservice specialists?

In some ways, it was to be expected: traditional cash & carries have been expanding into foodservice for some time, so it was only natural for foodservice operators to bite back. But no one ever expected the tables to turn quite like this. Was it an inspired move or a moment of madness?

The depot focuses on fruit and veg, making it more of a food market than a traditional cash & carry – somewhere caterers can come to touch, feel and explore new ingredients.

But the concept isn’t ground-breaking. When JJ Food Service held its first free coffee morning for customers last year, MD Mustafa Kiamil told Better Wholesaling that he would invite suppliers to showcase their products in the ‘customer friendly’ zones that are being rolled out across all eight of JJ’s depots.

In the past three months, the Enfield branch has held sampling days with various suppliers and has even given customers the chance to meet celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo during a free sampling of D’Acampo’s everyday oil. Who says that delivered wholesalers can’t instil theatre?

JJ has certainly given other delivered specialists something to think about.


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