Gourmet food-on-the-go ‘eating out market’s key growth area’

High quality food-on-the-go has become one of the leading growth areas of the UK's eating out market, according to a new report.

Increasingly, consumers demand to be able to eat out quickly and conveniently at any time of the day, but also do not want to compromise on quality, says the latest Ones to Watch report from foodservice consultancy Horizons.

In response, new concepts offering gourmet takeaway and fast food are consistently emerging in transport hubs and shopping centres, as well as high street locations.

"A wider variety of takeaway foods are available as consumers expect better quality food-on-the-go," commented Horizons' director of services Paul Backman.

"New specialists are emerging, such as outlets selling dishes with just one or two ingredients or Artisan versions of popular concepts. Many are focusing their attention on high traffic areas such as shopping malls, railway stations and airports."

In particular, a trend has emerged within the hospitality industry whereby restaurant operators are offering gourmet versions of established fast food favourites, such as burgers and hot dogs, says the report.

It cites examples such as the rollout of brands including Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Meat Liquor, The Gourmet Hot Dog Company and the soon to open Bubbledogs.

Meanwhile, transport hubs could prove a leading source of hospitality recruitment jobs with many new food-on-the-go concepts targeting such areas.

Horizons' report states that major UK transport hubs are now providing more space for eating out brands.

For example, London’s Kings Cross has tripled its concourse space, with established brands such as Burger King, Caffe Nero, as well as relative newcomers such as Benito's Hat Mexican Kitchen and Yalla Yalla all represented within the station.

In addition, the first phase of a £25 million redevelopment of London’s Waterloo Station included the addition of a Yo! Sushi, Carluccio's and a Benugo Sports Bar and Grill.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing hospitality employment solutions