CTG (Caravan To Go) will trade from a dedicated area within the Great Portland Street restaurant, which founders Laura Harper-Hinton, Miles Kirby and Chris Ammermann expect to open this summer.
Its offer will be centred around high quality patisserie and sandwiches but there will also be hot food including chicken and rice; soups; and dahl.
“It will all be assembled to order so it will be super fresh. It will have a separate seating area that will transition to a more relaxed drinks-focused area in the evening,” says Kirby, who oversees the food side of the business.
If successful, CTG could go into stand-alone locations. “The thing that really excites us about grab-and-go is that speciality coffee has so far had only very minor penetration. There’s a huge opportunity for Caravan there,” says Ammermann.
Other businesses in Caravan’s space are also eyeing this nascent area of the market, not least Antipodean-led coffee specialist Grind, which recently made a deal with SSP to open sites within transport hubs.
Caravan is looking at speeding up its coffee service for CTG. “The problem with grab-and-go is people want everything super fast, but you can’t make a great flat white in 10 seconds,” says Kirby.
Alongside a high-quality filter offer, it is exploring technologies to help speed things up, including semi-automatic milk frothing and online ordering. “It’s tricky because we’re offering a high-quality product, it still needs to be handmade by a skilled barista.”
Caravan will also soon open a new roastery within a 8,500sq ft warehouse in Holloway. The Victorian building will also house a coffee shop, a coffee school for staff training, a development kitchen, a space to make Caravan’s range of kombuchas, shrubs and sodas and Caravan’s head office.
For a full interview with the trio behind Caravan pick up the April issue of Restaurant magazine.