Footprint Blog

As much as you can eat and more…

Posted in Comment,Credit Crunch,Diet,Food Trends by foodservicefootprint on October 27, 2009

Of course you can have more boy! And more and more and more...

In the news this week has been the success story of Whitbread’s gluttony restaurant concept, Taybarns.

Over the last 6 months, the ‘as much as you can eat’ chain has shown a 3% increase in sales, in marked contrast to the industry norm, and is now planning to roll out another 30 units.

Customers pay on entry – £5.99 during the day and £7.99 in the evening – and then have the opportunity to gorge themselves from a trough, sorry, food counter, longer than a standard cricket pitch! As Taybarns’ Operations Director Simon Ewins says, “People want to try new things. But if you go out on a Friday night and you try a new main course in a traditional restaurant and you don’t like it, that’s a disaster. At Taybarns you can just try something else or go back to your favourites.”

It is recorded that Taybarns customers eat 3.37 platefuls of food per sitting. One has to wonder how much food waste must result from this.

Well done Whitbread, though, for taking advantage of a market opportunity with immaculate timing. Great marketing – give the punters what they want, when they want it and more, more, more of it!

But doesn’t this once again highlight the contribution of foodservice to the obesity story; one that arguably had its roots in early 1970’s USA, but also one that demonstrates that commercial reality outweighs social conscience when it comes to perpetuating sales.

And how does this square with Corporate Social Responsibility? Whitbread’s ‘Healthier Lifestyles’ policy says ‘Our overall approach – based on extensibve (sic) customer research – is to give our customers a wide range of choices in the food and drink they order and the fitness programmes they follow.’ programmes they follow…mmm.

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