We were asked to create, develop and launch a new modern fast casual dining brand in Reykjavík, Iceland.
We started the project by fully researching the market to enable us to identify the opportunities and create a strategic approach.
Iceland has seen a tourism boom over the last 10 years, with over 2 million annual tourists compared to an indigenous population of 350,000. This was initially a great boost to the restaurant industry but in more recent times has contributed to a significant skills shortage and the increased competition in the market has been unprecedented. As a result, the trading environment is more challenging than ever and a number of high profile restaurants had recently closed.
In addition to labour cost increases, food ingredient prices are high, as much of the produce is imported.
The standard of cooking in restaurants in Iceland is high. However, we found that most restaurants and food establishments were competing for the same occasion and customer - mainly the mid-high and high-end evening dinner occasion. Putting ourselves into the shoes of many of the tourists - especially families - we found that there weren´t many establishments that offer a high quality and nutritious meal at a good price and in a quick-serve setting, a format recognised well by many international tourists.
There was a gap in the market for a well priced, quick food operation that serves good quality meals throughout the day. By building an operating model and food offer that could flex across breakfast, lunch and dinner, we could tap into the unmet need of good quality, affordable food which could be eaten on site or taken away – perfect for day trips and excursions, a big market in Reykjavik.
By creating a clear customer journey and using smart kitchen technology we could design an operation that keeps labour low, whilst handling high customer volumes and serving each fresh meal within a few minutes. This would allow us to achieve a competitive pricing structure offset against the higher volume of sales.
With environmentally friendly packaging, linear kitchen processes and clear training and operating manuals, Stökk is the first of it's kind in Iceland. The set-up is akin to the high-volume lunch operators in London that can serve hundreds of freshly cooked high quality meals during peak hours with a minimal, unskilled labour force.
We firmly believe this will be a market game changer and pave the way for affordable, quick, high quality meals for the tourists and travellers of Reykjavík.