NOW, WE’RE not suggesting that Philip Clarke reads Footprint, let alone takes investment advice from us. However, the news that Tesco has bought the Giraffe restaurant chain chimed with our analysis last month regarding supermarket cafés.
That piece focused on the relationship between the supermarket and Harris + Hoole – a family-run café that Tesco part-owns. Tesco wants to make its stores “destinations” by adding the cafés and now, it seems, Giraffe restaurants. A statement on its website reads: “The acquisition forms part of Tesco’s strategy to develop the space in some of its larger stores and create even more compelling retail destinations”.
Tesco has bought 100% of Giraffe, which is known for its family-friendly atmosphere and, to some extent, its ethical sourcing policies (though there’s not much on its website about this). The plan is to put the restaurants in 150 stores over the next five years. How it does this will be fascinating to watch. Consumers have been tweeting their dismay. “Shame that a brand founded on good, ethical, honest food has sold itself to a [company] flogging dead horses” said one. Will it be the big retail brother teaching its smaller, ethical foodservice sibling, or vice versa?