Crosstown Doughnuts to expand footprint via delivery hubs

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Crosstown Doughnuts to expand footprint via ‘dark retail’ model

Related tags: Retailing, Restaurant, delivery, Doughnuts, Crosstown

Crosstown Doughnuts is set to open its first location outside of London as it looks to expand its footprint using 'dark retail' delivery hubs.

The group, which operates more than 10 store locations across the capital, will open one of two new decentralised hubs later this month in Walthamstow, following a successful pilot in Battersea.

A second will launch in Cambridge in March.

Despite walk-in retail revenue taking a significant hit since the start of the pandemic, Crosstown says it has seen online ordering revenues increase by 600% in 2020 compared to 2019.

This has largely been supported by the introduction of nationwide delivery in August 2020, and the launch of the Battersea delivery hub.

“The current climate has pushed us to think outside the box and create new opportunities," explains Adam Wills, who founded Crosstown with JP Then in 2014.

"There has never been a more important time for independent operators to band together, all three of these new delivery hubs are utilising unused space from friendly operators who are looking to put a basement, a mezzanine or a spare first floor area to work.

"We are open to discussions with anyone who may find this arrangement mutually beneficial to drive growth whilst keeping costs down for both parties.”

While the Cambridge site will initially be a four-week residency on All Saints Passage in the city centre, it is hoped this will eventually turn into a permanent operation. 

The 'dark retail' sites will offer on-demand deliveries and collections, with Crosstown continuing to craft its doughnuts in its London-based bakery and delivering them to the sites fresh each morning.

Crosstown adds that it is now looking to open more delivery hubs in locations that are 'within reach' of London.

"Assuming the new locations go as anticipated, we hope to continue to reach our customers in this new manner, with locations such as Brighton and Oxford high on our list," says Then, who also owns online ordering platform Slerp.

"As we have seen in our Battersea location, low cap-expenditure opportunities paired with the right enabling technology can offer exceptional opportunities for growth.

"Investing into our direct-to-consumer channel with Slerp has been a key strategic move, and one that has been vital to us since 2017. It is now more important and more relevant than ever.”

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