For our third and last group for this week we have the famous High Throughput Food category, and we’re not talking about egg and chips being slung around in some greasy café somewhere north of Watford Gap. No, this high throughput food is take-away, nutritious and healthy (our finalists tell us so). This category rewards those companies who have done the most to promote and install contactless technology into their franchises and restaurants – both in the background or foreground and especially in terms of payment. Our four nominees this time are all from the UK and are;
- EAT (UK)
- Subway (UK)
- Prêt à Manger (UK)
- CRUSSH (UK)
Well, up first, it’s EAT (UK) – also a finalist in the In Restaurant Dining category. This time around though they are being nominated for their take-away service and their use of contactless technology in the process. EAT serve sandwiches, soups and snacks prepared by hand to take away at around 100 stores throughout London, serving about 350,000 customers per week and with an average transaction value of less than £10, provide ideal conditions for contactless technology implementation. EAT first implemented contactless in 2008, fat the Moorgate branch before rolling out on a wider scale through their other branches.
EAT are credited with being one of the original companies to adopt contactless technology. They were the first to introduce Contactless as a fully integrated solution with till software and have been proactive and willing to build awareness of the technology, by supporting contactless retailer forums and have been happy to share their experiences with others. EAT have also run a number of contactless promotional campaigns. The company is working with Barclays and a number of other solutions providers on NFC customer loyalty schemes.
Next, we have Subway (UK). You know, the famous sandwich people and their torpedoes subs. I shouldn’t say this but I love their meatball specials. Good job I have nothing to do with the judging panel. Anyway, here’s the deal with Subway.
Subway sells freshly made sandwiches to take away and has 32,482 outlets in 91 countries, and plans to have over 2,000 stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of 2010. Here’s another little known fact; there are more Subway stores in the UK than McDonalds
Last year, a 5-year deal was agreed with Subway, to recommend to their Franchisees the taking of payments with a certain acquiring bank. All terminals being offered have contactless as standard. To date over 600 terminals have been taken by those Subway Franchisees signed and more being added regularly, aiming for over 1,000 by the end of 2010. Subway is also supportive of contactless technology and some of their outlets appear regularly in the acquiring bank’s Top 20 Contactless customers. From a Subway perspective, thanks to being 100% franchised, contactless payment was presented to franchisees to demonstrate the benefits of the service. As there is no single owned entity, the project has been rolled out on a request/application basis. Franchisees that have bought the contactless terminals can see the opportunity of the developing technology and ease of payment to speed up the flow of traffic through its doors.
However, Subway are quick to point out that due to the nature of franchising they cannot dictate what supplier a franchisee should use. Subway say that it is through their increased customer service and marketing streams with Barclaycard, that franchisees are seeing the benefit of contactless payments and are moving away from their existing providers.
When asked about their feedback on implementation, Subway admitted that contactless payment has caused mixed emotions with people and staff. Some have found the systems to be excellent – driving sales through the tills quicker, whilst others have been more skeptical with the technology.
Then we have Prêt à Manger (UK). For those who have been living on the Moon for the past decade, let’s introduce Prêt once more. Prêt creates handmade natural food to take away in 225 stores (less than 5% of those are outside of London). Contactless technology was originally trialed in 7 stores across London, before the company took the decision to rollout the technology across all their stores by April 2009.
Prêt is a high profile brand name that got behind contactless payment right from the start, rolling the technology out across all their sites and is now the largest contactless customer for the acquiring bank. Prêt tells us that the new technology improves the speed of transaction for the customers and that over 1400 contactless readers have been implemented within their sites. They also tell us that in terms of usage contactless currently equates to 5% of all card transactions.
Finally – there’s CRUSHH (UK), a juice, smoothie and healthy food franchises based in London with 24 sites (only one of which is outside of London)
CRUSHH have been nominated thanks to their support of contactless technology, despite being a relatively small company. Their Canary Wharf site was the first site to go live, around 15 months ago but now all 24 sites are contactless. CRUSHH have reported positive feedback from customers, especially at their Canary Wharf site, with other comments based around speed and convenience. CRUSHH would appear to be a dark horse in this race so nothing is set in concrete for the winner.
The actual winner will be announced on the 29th April at the awards dinner in London. Will you be there?