Retail in Asia

In Markets

Why grab-and-go is a winning concept in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has always been known as a city of unparalleled choice and convenience — from banking to transportation, shopping to entertainment — accessibility rules the roost. This trend is now being witnessed in the flourishing grab-and-go F&B retail sector.

In a report released by CBRE Research in September 2016, entitled Hunger for Growth – Unlocking Opportunities in Hong Kong F&B Retail, it reveals that among all the restaurant types, ‘other eating and drinking places’ (including coffee lounges, fruit juice shops, takeaway shops and ice-cream shops) registered the most growth in terms of revenue in the past six years to 2015, rising by a CAGR of 7.0% per annum.

This growth is explained by several factors:

Changing lifestyles and work practices

The traditional lunch hour and nine-to-five working day are no longer the norm. The growing acceptance by employers of flexible working arrangements, greater entrepreneurship, and urban sprawl into new commercial and residential areas are giving rise to new ways of thinking about when and how people choose to enjoy high quality or healthy meals.

Demand for variety

As tastes evolve, the traditional takeout options of sausage rolls, sandwiches, burgers and lunch boxes offered by chain bakeries, fast food shops, service stations and MTR stations are now augmented by overseas imports like bentos, Vietnamese rolls, burritos and laksa, not to mention special diets.

Demand for quality ingredients

Hong Kong consumers are more discerning than ever before. They are happy to spend more on their food if they know that companies use imported ingredients, maintain ethical and sustainable supply chains, and ensure their meals are healthy and freshly made.

Pret A Manger, for example, partnered with Feeding Hong Kong and Make a Wish Foundation to arrange daily pick-up of unsold food from its outlets. This message is very effective and appealing to consumers.


Grab-and-go outlets are well-placed to tap into the surging popularity of the “create your own meal” concept, from burgers to salads and poke bowls to tacos. Consumers no longer want to be restricted to à la carte options.

Grab-and-go is coming into its own with a unique offering of freshness, visual appeal, quick service, value, portable packaging, healthy options and high potential for customisation. These aspects make grab-and-go a very attractive option that’s less expensive than dine-in meals, but just as enjoyable.


nicola-tang-01Nicola Tang is the Associate Director, Advisory & Transaction Services, Retail, of CBRE Hong Kong.