Grab-and-go chain EAT has struck a franchise partnership with Compass Group that will see branded concessions launched in Debenhams and could extend to other sectors in future.
The exclusive collaboration will be brought to life as part of a huge contract win for Compass Group UK & Ireland’s in-store business with the department store retailer, which itself has pledged to widen its third party foodservice offering in the coming years.
The EAT partnership will initially be activated at Debenhams’ stores in Basingstoke and Portsmouth, with a view to rolling this out across more branches over the next few years.
Debenhams restaurants, cafes and branded food partners serve the 19 million customers that use the 175 UK and Republic of Ireland department stores every year.
The EAT concessions will provide customers with a variety of fresh food, cooked from scratch every day and including hot food options such as pies, wok pots and soups, plus cold grab-and-go offers such as sandwiches, salads, cakes and pastries.
Compass regards EAT as a valued addition to Compass’ growing partnership portfolio as it joins a suite of leading brands that the business works with.
These partnerships sit alongside a number of Compass own-brands, providing clients with the best of both worlds when it comes to choosing a solution that meets their individual requirements.
Compass said the franchise agreement highlights how it is meeting the evolving demands of the market by offering a wide range of balanced and nutritional food-to-go.
Its own research tells it that customers are increasingly looking for food-to-go options but they are not prepared to compromise on taste and quality.
Andy Rees, managing director for instore, part of the Business & Industry division of Compass Group UK and Ireland said: “This new brand partner is perfectly placed within our Debenhams contract and will deliver a fantastic range of good quality food and beverages to our customers. We’re delighted to be bringing the EAT. brand into our business’ offer.”
Andrew Walker, CEO of EAT, said the cooperation with Compass could extend beyond retail and into hospitals and universities, where the caterer has a large client base, in the future.
“We hope this is the start of a long and fruitful partnership,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for EAT to work alongside other leading brands and to reach a wider audience. The first of these opportunities is within Debenhams, and we look forward to sharing our great-tasting, good mood food with Debenhams’ shoppers.”
Compass’ recent ‘Eating Out of Home’ survey, estimates that the grab-and-go market is now worth £20.1 billion in the UK.