Inspiration From Leather Lane
Although the notion of street food is nothing new, it's a sector of the food and drink industry that has helped transform tastes, challenge the concept of convenience and shine a spotlight on a service centred on passion and personality.
Following our recent office move to Hatton Garden we have found ourselves exposed to some of London's best ‘street food' thanks to our new found proximity to both Leather Lane and Exmouth Market, here we shine the spotlight on three brands that are a shaking up the streets with their originality.
Although arguably humble in its offering Grill My Cheese is a stall that has captured the crowds with its greasy and gooey creations. Other than their flavoursome formulas, the limited lifecycle of much of their menu further plays into their savvy strategy. Perhaps the most popular item (and one of our favourites) was their ‘Rainbow Toastie’ made with beetroot, rocket, roasted onion, goats cheese, and truffle oil. The sandwich is a mesmerising combination of colour and sits very much with the adventurous and progressive preferences we are seeing shape the mainstream mentality.
Tapping into the guise and skillset of their local community Pernod Ricard’s Our/Vodka is an ideation that is both inspirational and innovative, and highlights how a big name brand has formulated a solution that resonates with a desire for discovery. This vodka brand is centred around one recipe, but tailors its production to each of the eleven different cities across the world by sourcing ingredients unique to each location. This enables each city’s distiller to give the vodka an individual, locally and culturally inspired twist.
Next we come to Daddy Donkey. Their fast, healthy, hot, and fresh food has seemingly locked in a loyal set of lunchers. Customization is something that sits at the core of their concept and it’s an attribute that has allowed them to deliver a meal specific to each of their customers wants and needs. In addition to their stall they also offer office delivery, a service that has created further brand intrigue especially amongst the time poor office workers that proliferate this side of the city.
However as this level of customization becomes more mainstream, it is the big name brands that seemingly have the capacity to make the investment in technologies needed to elevate the experience. Take Habit: a meal delivery service that combines DNA profiling with nutritional recommendations. Founded by food entrepreneur Neil Grimmer, Campbells soup announced this week that they would be the sole investors in the company thus allowing the brand to enter the mainstream.
A final favourite is Sub Cult whose Anglo American subs are sure winners on the street. However it's their agile and collaborative mind-set that we see as being smart is something that is helping them drive awareness and build upon their industry prestige. For example they recently partnered with Michelin star chef Tom Aikens, setting themselves up in his Chelsea restaurant. Not only did this push the brand into a more premium category but they used Tom’s knowledge to experiment with flavour, developing a chicken schnitzel sub that was mastered by their collective expertise.
Pret is a global brand that has used its scale to evolve a collaborative mindset that moves away from the typical influencer or celebrity, choosing instead to optimize their performance by utilising the opinion of their community. This was particularly apparent in their recent developments on their veggie and vegan offering, which saw them use feedback from their fans to develop their range. A positive piece of brand building, this has formulated fresh thinking and helped forge longer-lasting and more authentic customer relationships.
Perhaps what the examples above highlight is the need to act small but think big. There is integration in every corner and whilst these start up stories are keeping us on our feet, it is the big global brands that have the scale and capacity to accelerate and evolve expectation. If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article then please feel free to get in touch with Lexie.
Images from Grill My Cheese
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