19 May 2009, 18:26 PM
  • Promoting British-style, builders grub with an upmarket edge is the focus for a trendy new deli, which opened in London last month.

Attached to the new Bermondsey Square Hotel in East London, Alfie’s deli has been designed to tap into the new custom anticipated from the offices, flats and modern art gallery, all new to the area thanks to an extensive regeneration project.

“We have a five-floor office block and a Sainsburys Local directly opposite us, which means a potential lunchtime footfall of between 300 to 350 people, all looking for quality food and value for money,” says Mark Taylor, head of food and beverages at the Bermondsey Square Hotel.

“People will always pop in to get their cheap crisps or can of coke so we want to make sure the food we offer really distinguishes us,” he adds.

With this in mind the focus is on sophisticated but simple, hot food for those looking for a sustaining lunch.

“We want to serve salt-beef sandwiches, roasted beef baps and hot sausage and bacon rolls,” says Mr Taylor. “But we’ll only use top quality British bread and meat from British butchers we know by name,” he adds.

Consumers also have the option to create their own salad pot, choosing from six different bowls, drawing on seasonal British ingredients and maintaining interest each day.

“Salad is really popular in the summer, but it’s also something that sells all year round, especially if you give people the option to add something like grilled chicken breast,” says Mr Taylor.

Feedback will play a key part in the deli’s future. “I’d like to introduce a customer competition whereby they suggest a new recipe, we pick a winner and then run a ‘customer’s choice,’ dish for the following week,” explains Mr Taylor.

“I prefer old-fashioned communication, so we won’t be using pen and paper to gauge opinion. For us it’ll always be about building a rapport with the customer and progressing from there,” he concludes.

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