Boparan partners with Sainsbury on food hub project

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Boparan Holdings is strengthening its partnership with Sainsbury, with plans to open food hubs in the retailer's stores
Boparan Holdings is strengthening its partnership with Sainsbury, with plans to open food hubs in the retailer's stores

Related tags takeaway out-of-home

Boparan Restaurant Group has partnered with retailer Sainsbury to roll out food hubs across its sites in the UK, as part of a rationalisation of its eat-in and takeaway offering.

The partnership will bring Caffe Carluccio (including a refined retail offer), Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Ed’s Diner and Slims Chicken to the supermarket’s stores. 

2 Sisters – the trading name for Boparan Holdings and parent company of the Restaurant Group – secured a deal to supply Sainsbury’s stores​ across the country with Carluccio’s restaurant inspired dishes. The group acquired the Italian restaurant chain in 2020. 

Nationwide roll-out  

Following an extended trial at Sainsbury’s Selly Oak superstore in South-East Birmingham, the plan is for another thirty hubs to opened in superstores by March 2023. A fuller and accelerated roll-out was planned thereafter, based on their success. 

Shore Capital head of food Clive Black said the food hubs would be an important strategic feature for Sainsbury, if the roll-out programme is still in motion to effect in two to three years’ time. 

“The work also represents a potential kicker in footfall that may improve asset intensity in the JS estate that, if delivered, should be warmly welcomed by investors,​” Black added.  

Unit closures 

Plans to roll-out the new hubs will see Sainsbury close 200 of its café units, threatening the jobs of about 2,000 employees. The supermarket chain will still operate 67 cafes as work on its eat-in and takeaway strategy evolves.  

Sainbury also announced it would simplify that way it runs its bakeries in 54 stores, with plans to hold talks with those workers – as well as those working on hot food counters – with the aim of redeploying them in other departments. Sainsbury did not explain what simplifying meant in this instance.  

“We applaud the way Sainsbury is seeking to enhance its offer while reducing costs, not an easy task at all,” ​Black continued. “We can see that in working with partners it is gaining deeper authority and expertise, while also limiting capital outlay.” 

Meanwhile, Uttoxeter-based Elkes Biscuits has been sold to the Boparan Private Office​ for an undisclosed fee, saving the jobs of more than 500 employees at the site. 


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