Prepared foods aplenty at Drakes

Drakes Distribution Centre.
Drakes Distribution Centre.

Drakes’ state-of-the-art distribution centre is making strides as the retailer ramps up cross-docking opportunities for its smaller suppliers. CEO Roger Drake talks to Retail World about challenges in the market, what’s driving the business, and catering to the customer.

Drakes Supermarkets CEO Roger Drake.
Drakes Supermarkets CEO Roger Drake.

The ability to adapt and respond quickly to any opportunity has given Drakes Supermarkets a real advantage in a competitive market. These factors, along with resilience and having the right team, have been key to driving the business and navigating the pandemic – a challenge that would have been impossible to predict a few short years ago.

“Who would have thought that we would have had rolling lockdowns, we would all be wearing face masks, and using QR codes to enter the store?” Mr Drake said.

Pointing to consumer trends, Mr Drake says the focus is on health, vegan, protein-based foods, and plant-based foods.

He also remarked that people are very time poor, so Drakes’ in-store kitchen concept, The Little Kitchen, offers plenty of prepared foods on the menu to its customers.

“All our new stores will have a kitchen in them. We have engaged a full-time chef. We’re doing fresh pasta, fresh gelati, coffee in all the new rollout stores, fresh juice, kombucha, and looking at all the different avenues,” Mr Drake said.

“Some [concepts] are more work, but the fact is you’ve got to be on that leading edge making sure that you’re giving the consumer what they need or give them some options. And there’s so many options now.”

Days are a busy time for its kitchens with items such as chicken and salad, roast potatoes, roast vegetables, and carbonara particularly popular choices with customers.

“We’re making our own pasta as well,” he said. “They’re all not going to work at times, but you’ve got to have those offers.”

Read the exclusive interview in full in the October issue of Retail World.