Food markets allow people to truly experience a sensorial journey, through a combination of aromatic smells, vibrant colours, mouthwatering tastes, musical sounds and so much more; it’s no wonder that food markets are such an exciting melting pot of people with a common passion for delicious food. Although presently inherent in our culture, ‘street food’ as it is known today in Western culture, is a relatively new concept.
The popular street food markets have taken inspiration from less affluent populations, and nowadays, have become a globalised concept, where people get to experience true and authentic cooking, from various cultures and cuisines. As Sangeeta Singh puts it “If someone has to taste real food, authentic food, it has to be street food”.
The UK street food market has grown quicker than the total fast food market with an exponential growth over the course of the last decade. It was showing no signs of slowing down, until the pandemic came around. Since the appearance of Covid-19, many markets have had to cancel their events, operate as takeaway only or had to significantly reduce their customer intake.
Our app was built with the intent of solving queuing and allowing people to enjoy the moment at events like food markets. However, because of the restrictions put in place since early 2020, our app has become an invaluable tool to certify that guidelines are followed, and most importantly, that everyone is safe.
The NOQ app allows customers to place orders in a distanced manner, without having to come in contact with the vendors – whether that is to view menus or make payments – ensuring both the customers and vendors’ safety. We have had the opportunity to implement NOQ across several food markets, namely Nola Nite Market and Feast Streat.
New Orleans is one of the culinary capitals of the U.S., famous for its French Quarter, filled with music and food. NOQ launched in the US at Nola Nite Market, a yearly street food market dedicated to Asian food.
The event took place in mid-December over the course of two days with approximately 1200 customers, and 100% uptake of the NOQ App. We worked with Nola Nite Market to ensure NOQ was the only way customers would be able to place F&B orders, to guarantee the customers’ safety and that distancing guidelines were being followed. We implemented three solutions at the event: order for collection, order to table and order to car.
The Asian street food market boasted an array of high-quality traders, serving all kinds of Eastern inspired dishes. The traders provided NOQ with all their menus, images and pricing information and the team uploaded this information onto the app. Once everything was setup, a virtual training session was held to ensure vendors knew how to operate with the app, and that the event ran smoothly.
A collection point was set up for those who wished to collect their food and leave the event, however, there was a greater level of adoption from those ordering to their table or car. Customers could select their table number or car parking slot, as well as include their car registration plate, so that vendors could easily find them.
With Covid being a huge deterrent in the events industry, vendors and customers alike, were happy to have a solution in place that allowed the event to take place, whilst still having food & drinks at its core and central focus.
We began our partnership with Feast Streat towards the end of 2020, we partnered with Feast Streat, a renowned food concession company with a strong and rooted presence in the UK. Feast Streat has a database of over 400 traders and supplies their services to over 400 events a year.
Ryan Patrick, owner and commercial director at Streat Feast, needed a solution that ensured the safety of traders and customers whilst providing them with a street food experience. We trialed the NOQ app at a weekly market held in Stratford-upon-Avon and the partnership came to fruition after a successful launch and customer adoption.
A different model was put in place with Feast Streat: the event organizer had control over every vendor at the event, by having all of them clustered into one. Customers could easily browse the different menus and place orders from different vendors. The runner would then fire the orders for each trader and bring them to the collection hub once ready, keeping the customer informed at every stage.
This resulted in an operationally smooth turnout with excellent customer satisfaction levels, and as Ryan puts it “after experiencing the technology work on the ground, I think it’s the future for public events”.
As restrictions ease the crowds will return, but the precautions and measures currently in place, will likely be present for a long time to come, however “There’s lots of positivity for 2021”, Ryan says, “we have structured our business to be at a number of shows that are of the right size” as the news regarding the cancelation of Glastonbury 2021 is announced. Events of the ‘right size’, allow for a sound operational structure with safety and cleanliness measures in place.
“We piloted the scheme with the NOQ team and based on the success of that, we’re rolling out click & collect for all public shows we manage and trade on”. Not only will our solution be in place at numerous food markets, but also different events that face the same issues around queuing and safety, thus reshaping the food & drinks industry at events.
Bar side collection
NOQ collection hub
Since the beginning of the pandemic, uncertainties have most certainly soared, and the truth is, the events industry as a whole, has taken a toll. The promising line of sight is that some events and markets of smaller scales, have already started to take place, and as we progressively introduce and improve safety measures, whilst being able to achieve customer satisfaction, the outlook can only improve.
We hope that through apps like ours, we are able to slowly resume some of the industry’s previous activity. The truth is, customers will still get to explore different flavours and try different cuisines, except now, they can do this hassle-free by not having to queue up. As vaccination rollouts become more efficient and immunity continues to improve, events will likely follow suit and reopen. Until then, we can only aim to make every experience as safe and secure as possible, and after which, the NOQ app will still be a convenience for many customers who don’t wish to waste their time in queues and want to enjoy the moment!