With the final episode of the Great British Bake Off over in a puff of icing sugar, we Brits are someone destitute without our beloved weekly slice of baking action. With Mary and Paul no longer lighting up our screens, it seems we must go back to socialising on a Wednesday night and making the most of the long winter nights with a glass of mulled wine and canapé in hand.
Yet, what does the Great British Bake Off – or rather GBBO as all discerning fan would call it – have to do with the retail property sector? And, more importantly, how has it helped to influence the ‘grab and go’ food (including cake, of course) sector.
According to recent research from Colliers, the strength of demand from operators including Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffè Nero, along with smaller independent coffee shops and food outlets has dramatically increased competition for the busiest retail pitches in London. The research shows that, in particular, Baker Street and Camden High Street have seen more than 30% growth in the number of grab-and-go outlets in the past two years, while top rents in those locations have increased by upwards of 20% in the same period.
Although landlords have typically gone with bigger and better known brands that are likely to attract the footfall figures desired, we are also seeing more independent brand snapping up prime retail pitches in the capital and drawing their own, new footfall in.
Keeping up with the changes in consumer demand, savvy landlords are giving their customer base more choice and, as a result, allowing for their asset or unit to create its own sense of identity. Of course, the likes of Soho and Shoreditch cannot be recreated everywhere, but we only need look at the success of Leon (that started on Carnaby Street, Soho) to see that taking a risk with smaller, lesser known brands can pay off. Leon, now boasts over 40 restaurants since it began in 2004.
So what next? As consumers become increasingly influenced by new trends and social media, it looks likely that this trend for independent ‘grab and go’ concepts will continue. It will be interesting to see just how landlords will respond to this demand and what it will mean for bigger brands.
So whilst we keep an eye out for the latest pop-up coffee shop and ponder just how Channel 4 will recreate the beloved GBBO, we will get back to that glass of mulled wine…