With three key seasonal food launches a year, menu development is always on the mind of Crussh’s head of food James Kidman – and he admits that giving due consideration to how new offerings can be executed within its in-store kitchens is a key part of the process.
The juice bar operator runs close to 40 stores and over the years it has enhanced its trademark beverage offering with a wide range of hot and cold healthy food options.
Given that the majority of its branches are in London and operate from different footprints, the time it takes to assemble new menu items and the affect on the service are never far from his thinking.
“Speed of service is key in this environment,” he explains. “With hot food, we do top it at the counter because we feel it offers that element of freshness and also choice and personalisation. But there are only two toppings per dish, so it is not like we have got 20 toppings for a customer to choose from. We are not a Tossed where it is a ‘build your own from scratch’ model.
“In terms of smoothies, I guess part of my development is semi-dictated by the freezer sizes we have in store. There is only so many numbers of frozen fruit that we can fit in a freezer, so if I wanted to bring in a new smoothie with five new fruits, something is going to have to give to fit those fruits in.”
Crussh recently unveiled its autumn menu, which included a revamped breakfast offer and additional vegetarian options.
Mr Kidman said that consideration also has to be given to the layout of the stores as well.
“Quite often our coffee section is separate to our juice and smoothie section, so in the past I have wanted to do a coffee-based smoothie or something with coffee in, but operationally it would be a nightmare because the two zones in store aren’t next to each other and they don’t flow.
“You’d literally have to pass an espresso from one section to the other and we are all about speed of service and making things as simple as we can operationally. I have had to park ideas where they just wouldn’t work operationally.”