FreshStop launches new in-house fast food lines: Hooked On Fish, Mr Brown’s and Grill to Go

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FreshStop, the fastest growing convenience retail brand in South Africa with 227 stores in its national network, has introduced three new lines to its in-house fast food brands and uptake has been extremely positive. The new concepts, Hooked On Fish, Mr Brown’s and Grill to Go, join the already existing 21 Crispy Chicken outlets, two Doughnut Delite outlets and 12 Biltong Bars, which have been up-and-running successfully within select FreshStop at Caltex stores across the country.

Crispy Chicken, which was introduced in December 2013 as FreshStop’s new in-house quick service restaurant, continues its expansion with 10 more outlets due to open this year. “Crispy Chicken has totally exceeded our expectations and we continue to receive very encouraging feedback from our customers,” said Craig Davis, new category development manager at FreshStop. “Trading from just 5sq m, the Crispy Chicken outlets contribute up to 18% of sales in stores, which is just amazing.”

Hooked On Fish, FreshStop’s in-house fish and chips brand, offers customers a healthier fast food option, and as the second most popular protein after chicken in South Africa, there are high expectations for future sales and growth potential in this market. Joe Boyle, director at FreshStop, said: “With fish being the fastest growing food segment in South Africa, based on the number of outlets opened during the past few years, we expect Hooked On Fish to do very well. Since the first Hooked On Fish outlet opened at FreshStop Amber Service Station in Gauteng in November 2014, the concept has been a winner. Customer feedback has been very good and the concept fits in well with our other brands, such as Crispy Chicken. We have, to date, opened four Hooked On Fish outlets and we are planning to roll-out an additional five by the end of the 2016.”

In contrast to the national popularity of fish and chips, Mr Brown’s, a smoked BBQ product that originates from the Southern USA, has been introduced by FreshStop as a new regional concept. Mr Brown’s is a standalone brand that has partnered with FreshStop and has three outlets open in Hillcrest, Gilletts and Cato Ridge in the Durban area. “The Mr Brown’s product offering has done extremely well in KZN, and in Hillcrest specifically, where it contributes 14% to the store’s sales participation,” said Davis.

FreshStop’s latest venture, an exciting burger/mixed grill concept called Grill to Go, opened its first outlet at FreshStop Penlyn in Cape Town in early December 2015. “Grill to Go is a completely new concept that we’ve been working on for the past year and it has received a lot of interest from our retailers so far, so we’re confident that it is going to do very well. Our second outlet opened in Maclear in the Eastern Cape in January and third opened in Mafikeng in June 2016, with another five outlets planned this year still,” said Davis.

FreshStop’s approach provides store retailers with a basket of offerings to choose from to suit their specific customer base and location, at affordable entry costs. Boyle said: “Our store retailers want to be in a position to offer their customers new brands and food lines to attract further shoppers and drive sales. Retailers can also select various concepts that complement one another, such as a Seattle Coffee and Doughnut Delite; or a selection of two proteins such as Crispy Chicken and Hooked On Fish to cover various target markets. Convenience retail brands must have a solid food service strategy to be successful in today’s rapidly changing retail environment and our selection of fast food concepts with low cost of entry and shared operational expenses form part of this future view of our business.”