SOHO Coffee & Co’s drive for growth into one of the most competitive segments of the foodservice market is being aided by MerryChef ovens, which are helping the brand to achieve speed of service and consistency across all of its sites as it quickly scales up the business.
The coffee chain is looking to standardise kit across its outlets as it puts plans in motion for 11 new stores this year and the same number next year. And as it bids to take on the coffee shop giants of the UK market, part of its drive towards standardisation involves buying in kit which is easy to use and provides quick and consistent results.
“We’ve put the new MerryChef ovens into all of our stores. It has a much smaller footprint than the old ones and is very powerful – it has really helped with our speed of service and consistency of all our hot food products,” head of innovations at SOHO Coffee, Duncan Reilly, told FEJ.
The coffee brand has found the picture-based cooking programmes helpful in ensuring speed of service, especially in a sector where staff turnover is high and the need for easy-to-use kit is paramount.
Reilly added: “We’ve tried to be future-proof in the kit that we’ve picked. We’ve looked for things that are flexible. We are sometimes quite limited by space. You have a space and you have to make everything fit into it – especially in central London, there’s no room to play with.”
As well as bringing MerryChef into all of its stores, the company has brought in Unox SpidoCook panini grills, which Reilly says give off a lot less smoke and are easy to use and clean.
SOHO Coffee launched its fourth London and 39th overall store last month after previously resisting sites in the capital.
Managing director Penny Manuel explained: “Openings in London are a recent undertaking for the brand, but ones which are outperforming expectations and targets. We’re delighted with the positive responses from our customers to the design of the stores, our signature food-led coffee offering, and our in-store teams who are working hard to create the right atmosphere.”
By investing in MerryChef, SOHO Coffee is following in the footsteps of UK market leader Costa.
Back in April, FEJ revealed how the chain had deployed the Sheffield-built ovens across its estate as part of a strategy to improve its food offering.