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food on the move feature
Food on the move used to be a fairly predictable affair – a breakfast bap bought before boarding the bus, a pre-packed sandwich picked up at the train station and on journeys made by car, the finest offerings of a fast food drive-thru or a greasy spoon café.

But when it comes to munching on the move, there’s been a relative revolution in the UK in recent years. Though the option to grab a simple sandwich or snack is still there, there are now spots in stations and at the side of the road that are destinations in their own right.


A photo posted by @catseye107 on

Why is food on the move stepping up a gear?

Customers and young shoppers are increasingly ditching the big weekly shop in favour of smaller, more frequent ones. This means they’re more likely to buy right before eating and are happy to pick up or sit down to something that’s ready prepared. But, when they do, they don’t expect to have to compromise on quality. For stations, transport hubs and even the humble high street sandwich shop, menus are expanding to take advantage of this attitude. Mixing and matching of offerings are on the rise as high street names compete with restaurants at lower price points. Earlier this year, Pret A Manger premiered its dinner menu and began serving wine too, attempting to trade on the trust it’s earned as vendor of on-the-go sandwiches and salads.


And as this article in the Telegraph points out, if you’re paying for a prime location for your business, why not make it work harder for you? This is a topic we explored recently in our pros and cons of running a 24-hour restaurant post. Adding a sit-down or premium range of foods alongside your standard fare, or catering to multiple meal times more effectively, is one way to get your money’s worth when it comes to rent. There are however other more creative ways to increase profits through food takeaways that can be eaten off the premises. With the best of the summer weather upon us, many independent cafes are offering afternoon teas and picnics to go. Over in France, one Parisian firm is going one step further and helping people avoid the inconvenience of carrying hampers as they sightsee by delivering them right to their picnic spot when they settle down for lunch!


A photo posted by BB Bakery (@b8bakery) on


We’ve looked at aeroplane food on the blog before but there’s also an interesting tale to be told about the changing state of food courts on the ground. CNN has recently been running its Airport Superchef series, profiling the likes of Gordon Ramsay, who himself is aiming to elevate airport food to the next level by serving multiple courses in 25 minutes at his Heathrow restaurant, Plane Food. The restaurant is also offering chilled takeaway boxes to take aboard, though Ramsay is yet to reach the heady heights of fellow chef Marco Akuzun whose Stuttgart Airport-based eatery Top Air is the first to claim a Michelin star! Efforts to offer healthier choices are also emerging, with Gatwick launching its own coding system to identify ‘happy meals’ on restaurants in the airport. These meals are singled out as containing ingredients that promote positive feelings pre-flight.


A photo posted by Vì (@karpatri) on


If you’re travelling a little further afield, you may want to take advantage of the ‘takeaway on a train’ trend in India, where both KFC and Dominos have pledged to deliver trackside for hungry commuters. It’s easy to dismiss the change in food-on-the-go habits as driven purely by convenience and higher expectations. In some instances it’s perhaps more about experience and, speaking of India, this is most probably the case when it comes to examining the case of Bundobust, an award-winning bar that sells Indian street food. It’s nestled right next to the entrance for Leeds train station – a prime spot for catching commuters before and after they’ve get going.  


A photo posted by Geo Law (@geolaw) on

Bundobust’s owners Mayur Patel and Mark Husak explain: "Bundobust's location near the station is ideal for us! We see a lot of commuters calling in after work for a quick drink and bite to eat before they get their train home. We are also the first port of call for visitors to the city who are visiting Leeds' great bars. ”  

…And automobiles

Over ‘The Pond’, roadside diners are the stuff of legend and slowly but surely the UK is starting to compete. Gloucester services is one of a growing few that offers something a little more than a toilet stop and a choice of the usual fast food and plastic-encased sandwiches. Set up by farmers John and Barbara Dunning back in the late seventies, Gloucester services was the 2014 winner of the Observer Food Monthly Best Newcomer title thanks to an onsite farm shop and kitchen featuring home cooking and locally sourced produce.


A photo posted by Sarah Scott (@sarahalicescott) on

Professional drivers are also benefitting in new products and services catering to their needs. Lorry park firm PJM offers truckers taking a break with them the chance to sample the best of local takeaway with delivery to their truckers’ stop. It’s not all about indulging though, the company is making strides when it comes to providing healthier options for those who have made driving their job and they prioritise local sourcing too.  

Should you be settling in the station?

Gourmet food on the move isn’t for everyone and neither are the rents that transport station locations often demand. However, there’s a growing trend not to allow time constraints or convenience to impact on quality and the expectations of customers are growing.

When it comes to food that comes to you, not being at home or in the office is also becoming less of a barrier – is it time you offered delivery to those on the move? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or heading over to @BunzlLockhart."


Lockhart Catering on 14 August 2015 11:54 AM

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