It is hard to tell at what point it became fashionable to call a sandwich shop a ‘kitchen’, but the latest example of the tendency opened last week on London’s Fleet Street when Sainsbury’s unveiled its Fresh Kitchen.
This is a new departure for the supermarket and is located bang in the middle of an area where hungry, time-pressed lawyers wander at lunchtime in search of something quick and tasty.
As such, the Fresh Kitchen with its array of drinks, prepared sandwiches and bite-sized portions of sliced and diced fruit arranged in chillers along the perimeter is likely to find favour. Particularly so as there are multiple tills at the far end and a robust queuing system: this is not about self-service. It all looks rather like a Pret a Manger and is an interesting new store development from a UK supermarket, aided by design consultancy Twelve Studio.
The only quibble with all of this is what exactly makes it a kitchen? The same question might be levelled at Marks & Spencer with its M&S Kitchen format that was launched in Canterbury a few years back. This turned out to be a sit-down restaurant, rather than a grab-and-go format, but it was still not a kitchen.
Whatever. This is a well-designed and thought-through arrival on the UK supermarket scene and makes a change from the almost too familiar convenience store that the big operators have flooded our streets with over the past decade.
And in spite of the new signage outside, there is much that it familiar about this part of the Sainsbury’s empire in terms of equipment - meaning that it can be rolled out rapidly.