Monread Fare is fresh on the scene, opening just last summer across the road from the Monread Shopping Centre. It’s the latest business venture for the Kildare based Lidon Group, and so far, success is in the air.
The new establishment employs around 50 people, incorporating 12 Texaco fuel pumps, a Spar convenience store and deli, and an 80 seat dining area. The premises boast a range of fast food and food-to-go eateries including Papa John’s Pizza, Freshly Chopped, The Chicken Guys and Insomnia cáfe. General manager Marcel Botezatu tells IF&CR about their store growth and plans for the future.
“We opened in June 2018, so we’re coming up to our first year anniversary. It’s been both challenging and rewarding at the same time. We’re the latest addition with the Lidon group who’ve been in business since 1954. They have a long standing reputation in the forecourt and convenience industry and great experience with award winning forecourt Junction 14.”
Marcel says the range of food and convenience offerings in store, the staff team bring a range of different skills and abilities to the table. With the site being so new, the team are still learning what works and what doesn’t in the fresh food market.
“I come from a retail background, and I’ve always been surrounded by food, but I’ve always wanted to work in the fresh food industry. Being the general manager of Monread Fare has helped me developed skills and knowledge in fresh food marketing, whilst also ensuring the site succeeds. It’s a competitive market today, but we’re confident we have the right team to make a dent.”
“We’re constantly been faced with challenges, but I think one of the biggest battles is constantly keeping up to date with the changing needs of the customer. We try to tailor our business to the customer, but gaining customer loyalty takes time, so as a new retailer we have to go above and beyond and strive to ensure every customer that we connect with is satisfied with the service they receive.”
“We do a lot of market research to make sure we have the very best offers in store for the customer.”
Healthy eating habits are set to come under increasing pressure as the squeeze on real income becomes more sustained given that most people find it harder to eat healthily when money is tight. However, despite the upward trend in healthy eating intentions plateauing, it still remains deeply ingrained among consumers. Marcel reveals how they adapt to this ever changing enviorment and market.
“We live in an ever changing cultural environment, there’s people moving here from other parts of the country and the world. We’re very close to Dublin, so we would get a lot of commuters coming through our doors. Being able to adapt to the diverse range of customers we receive is a huge part of our success. As a group we work tirelessly to be up to date with the changing demands, and we offer great quality products to meet our customers’ special dietary needs.
“One of our main offerings is Freshly Chopped, which offers one the best range of products to meet a variety of diets and nutritional plans for people who are health conscious, have allergies or carry food intolerances. There is something for everyone. We have a strong customer base because we cater for those special dietary needs.
“We also have Chicken Guys, in association with Supermacs, and Papa Johns, who do fast food for those customers who would prefer a burger over a salad. Despite it being fast, the quality of the chicken is premium, and it is all locally sourced. Everything is made freshly in store day to day, and it’s always made to order.
“The food offering on our site has been carefully selected to cater for every kind of consumer, especially those customers who don’t have the time to wait around, but still enjoy eating really good food. A lot of our customers are commuters, so we try to cut out waiting time as much as possible for people needing to get back on the road in a hurry. In saying that, we don’t want to rush the production or making of the food either. I think it’s vital to ensure that the best quality products are being sold in the most convenient way possible for the customer.
“We have a modern deli with freshly made sandwiches too, supplied by a range of local farmers and food-to-go specialists, who deliver fresh sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, meats, and other ingredients fresh to us every day.
“We also do a bit of delivering ourselves. When employees don’t have time to leave their desk, we’ll deliver to local businesses in the area understanding that at time in the workplace is precious. Our aim is to always provide the best in food and convenience for all our customers, making sure every need is met.”
Not only do Monread Fare provide a state of the art dining experience and convenience that is second to none, but they’re also actively involved in the local community.
“We employ over 50 staff here from the surrounding area, so we’re supporting the local economy in that way too. Although we’ve only been in business around a year, we’re always looking to see how we can get involved in supporting the community around us.
“One of the biggest projects we’re doing at the moment is supporting the ‘Darkness into Light’ suicide prevention charity. There are currently over 4000 members that have signed up to the walk with us, so we’re getting involved in a personal level, but also involved on a business level with whatever the charity needs. We try our best to support local as much as possible.
“We are a new site, so we’re definitely still adapting to what works and what doesn’t in store, but we’re continuing to look at the latest in food offerings and we’re still testing the waters to see what works best for our consumers. It’s early days but we’re excited for what the future holds in store!”