casualfood aims to carve out a new niche

Swiss food group Orior recently took a 35% stake in casualfood. The German travel food & beverage specialist sees the partnership as an ideal platform to further develop the company and ramp up expansion. Jason Holland spoke to casualfood Managing Partner Stefan Weber to get the latest on the company’s ambitious growth plans.

When we last featured casualfood in The Foodie Report, you spoke of ambitious plans for growth. What impact will Swiss food group Orior taking a 35% stake in the company have?

Stefan Weber: casualfood is still growing. We entered the strategic partnership with Orior so that we could take the growth of our company to the next level.

With Orior, we have found the ideal partner to further develop our company, expand the networks and ramp up our international expansion within Europe. casualfood’s DNA remains unchanged. Retaining the greatest possible entrepreneurial freedom was a prime consideration for us in selecting a new partner.

With this partnership, Orior enters the growing and highly attractive travel catering market.

Brezel Lovers: A new concept from casualfood at Frankfurt Airport.

A new and innovative look for the popular snack.

Growth plans: casualfood Managing Partner Stefan Weber.

Can you tell us some more about newly-developed concepts or upcoming openings?

In June we launched Brezel Lovers as a new concept at Frankfurt Airport. A pretzel cart is selling all kinds of the world’s favourite to-go food items. There are pretzels of all conceivable varieties and to suit every taste and all dietary requirements – sweet or spicy, plain or with a filling, vegetarian or vegan.

Further, this month we’ll be opening another new concept at Berlin Airport that is all about coffee and craft beer. More information about this concept will be announced soon.

casualfood has gone from one location to 57 in travel environments over 13 years.

What do you see as the most important current innovations and trends in the airport F&B space?

The conditions available for catering at airports are often very bad. Therefore, we enjoy working with innovative cooking techniques, such as the sous vide method [the process of vacuum-sealing food and cooking it in a temperature-controlled water bath], at sites without fully equipped kitchens and ventilation. This enables us to achieve exceptionally high-quality results.

We also use innovative high-speed grills, which are a mix of a microwave and a grill, enabling us to prepare foods that would normally be heated or grilled – including fried eggs, burgers, and other items which would normally have to be prepared on a hob.

Further, we combined an indirect grill with a recirculated air system instead of exhaust air. This combination is entirely new, the air purification system is unique and solves almost every exhaust air problem – which is typical for airport F&B spaces.

What are your projections for sales growth in 2018?

For 2017, net sales were €51.5 million. In 2018 we will continue to grow and generate net sales of nearly €60 million.

All about innovation

In its 13 years of existence, casualfoodhas grown from operating a single conveniently located pretzel stand at Frankfurt Airport to the point where it now has operations in 57 restaurants, shops and snack carts at airports and train stations.

Proprietary concepts include Quicker’s, Natural, Italissimo, Mondo, Mondo Bianco, Hermann’s, Mayer’s, Kilkenny, Goodman & Filippo, and now Brezel Lovers. The Kamps and ServiceStore DB brands are run as franchises.

Of Brezel Lovers, the company’s latest concept at Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1 airside, the company says: “This is an idea that we have been considering for a while. After all, pretzels are hugely popular all over the world and are a popular food choice around the clock. We are giving this snack a new and innovative look. We can’t wait to see how our guests react and we are confident that they will love the pretzels.”

The FAB Award-winning Goodman & Filippo concept can be seen across European airports.

Meals can be cooked, pan-fried and deep-fried, as well as cooked sous vide at the Italian-American deli.

The Moodie Davitt e-Zine | Issue 249 | 11 October 2018