M&S launches first new-look cafe in West Midlands

M&S has opened its first new look M&S Café at its new Solihull Sears store this week, as the retailer drives forward its transformative store renewal programme and extends its scope into hospitality.

Now in sixteen stores across the country, renewal is all about modernising the way M&S brings its products to customers, better showcasing the quality, value and freshness of its Food offer, alongside innovative new concepts in areas such as Fill Your Own and Coffee Tasting, backed by more efficient store operations.

M&S continues to receive consistent positive customer feedback in relation to its renewal stores – particularly around the depth of range, store design and focus on key grocery lines in areas like Fresh & Produce.

Located at Sears Retail Park in Solihull, the new Café is a test and learn renewal concept in hospitality. The new format is designed to deliver a complete step-change through its inviting store design, improved range, food quality & freshness combined with improved coffee creditionals.

The new format has been completely re-designed as a new café operating model focusing on a digital customer experience with on-screen and on-phone ordering.

Other key highlights include:
:Delicious, quality food at great value: The M&S Food Development team have transformed the café menu to ensure it offers something for all the family, with a focus on healthier options and children’s meals. The Cafe will use the same delicious, trusted-quality ingredients on offer to customers in M&S Foodhalls, producing meals that are freshly prepared, beautifully served, always tasty and great value.

Exciting new additions to the menu include:
Children’s meal deal:: parents & grandparents can bring their little ones and take advantage of the fantastic value on offer, which is unique to Solihull Sears. Enjoy a freshly made meal, drink and (free) banana for just £2.95 for breakfast (pre-11.30am) or £3.95 for lunch (after 11.30am).

Breakfast bowls:: the perfect way to start the day, with three fruity options available, including a vegan option from just £3.95.

New vegan options:: from a delicious flatbread that contains roasted mushrooms, spiced chickpeas and more, to the roasted butternut houmous & grain salad bowl garnished with date & pomegranate dressing & seed sprinkle.

Delicious coffee:: specially trained Baristas use M&S’s Fairtrade coffee beans, organic milk and cutting-edge equipment (including a new pour-over coffee machine) to produce great tasting coffee: whether it’s a Cappuccino, Flat White, or, new for the summer, Iced Caramel Frappe.

Quick & easy ordering:: Customers can place their order in seconds either via their smartphone at their table or via the new self-service digital screens. QR codes are in place at every table offering easy access to the menu.

Plan A credentials:: All food is prepared on site and, to reduce packaging, the refrigerator that usually houses packaged sandwiches and bottled drinks has been removed. All milk is organic, all coffee is Fairtrade, and there is a water refill station for customers.

Improved look & feel:: There’s new crockery, new furniture, and overall a much more modern and inspiring aesthetic.

Great service: Colleague roles have been split out and reassigned to allow colleagues to become masters of their craft and better serve customers. It means Baristas can focus on Coffee, Chefs can focus on Food and a dedicated Hospitality Manager can bring the overall leadership and operation together.

Whether it’s a spot of lunch in between clothes shopping, a quick bite-to-eat after picking up a Click & Collect order, or a family breakfast trip out, for many customers, visiting the M&S Café is a key part of the shopping experience.

With its estate of 350 cafes, hospitality represents a sizeable chunk of M&S’s trading space in the UK and is consistently a key topic for contacts from customers each week – underlining its important role in the M&S customer experience. M&S is committed to offering the best possible dining experience for its customers, no matter which café they visit.

Caroline Cromar, Head of Hospitality, said, “We’re absolutely delighted to have opened our first Café transformation in Solihull this week. The Café has been developed to create a warm and inviting space for our customers to relax as part of their shopping experience.

'The new operating model allows for a seamless ordering process and improved speed, whilst delivering exceptional M&S quality food and drink that our customers know and trust.”