By Amandine Vachez
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At 149, rue Nationale in Lille (Nord), OFC, The Original Food-Courtwelcomes, since February 2022, two pizza specialists. Gourmet addresses that are a hit in Paris and are thus exported to the capital of Flanders. This is an opportunity to present to you this new kind of concept dedicated to street food.
The specialties of several brands combined
It has been a booming activity since confinement. Food-courts (bringing together several fast food brands) have been making a name for themselves in France for several months. Lille is no exception, with notably Grand Scène and Kitchen Market, in the city center.
OFC was born in Paris. This place brings together several catering brands, and offers take-out and delivery only. In this it differs from the two places mentioned earlier, in which you can consume on the spot.
Almost a year after his arrival in Lille, OFC offers the specialties of 12 brands. You can order there pizzas, sushi, but also empanadas and other specialties“healthy” or less good for the line.
“We have on average between 8 and 12 brands per establishment”, specifies Céleste, marketing, communication and brands director for OFC. “The Lille brands meet around 90% of food demand”, she tells us. We can imagine that the menu will soon be supplemented by Indian or oriental recipes, for example.
Recently, it is possible to make a group order, at OFC, even in delivery. “You can put pizza and sushi in the same basket,” Céleste gives as an example. And Aymeric, “kitchen chef” for the Lille brand, to support: “There is no longer any debate, to know if we are going to order in one restaurant or another. And with OFC, everything happens at the same time, we can eat everything together. »
Why did OFC settle in Lille? “It’s a city in which delivery works very well,” explains the marketing director. “The Lille clientele forms a good benchmark* for testing the palatability of a product in the provinces”.
The brand saw in the Lille clientele, fond of street-food, a target perfectly suited to its concept. “We had a local opportunity, in the city center, with a nice space. This allows us to cover Lille and even the surrounding towns”, analyzes Céleste.
Testing concepts in cities
The OFC brand aims to allow restaurateurs to test their concept in a city, for some time, before potentially opening a physical location. “We work with recognized restaurateurs in Paris, to offer what is not offered in Lille”, explains Céleste. “This allows the professional to see if his concept takes on this catchment area. »
Not a “ghost kitchen”
No dining room, no view of the kitchens, at OFC in Lille: when you enter the place, you find an airlock with two terminals to place your order, and a person available at the counter.
Behind, a large space housing the kitchens is fitted out. In all, around thirty people work to provide the brand’s servicesopen every day for all services, lunch and dinner. “We have extended hours on weekends,” says Aymeric.
If the concept of OFC echoes what is called “dark kitchen” or “ghost kitchen”, the brand does not want to be cataloged as such. She is defined by Celeste as a “smart kitchen”, meaning adapted to the current needs of consumers. She explains the nuance: “A ‘dark kitchen’ only works with virtual brands. We only work with restaurants that already exist, that have a physical location.”
Céleste insists on OFC’s desire to develop customer relations, with take-out sales. “It now represents about 10% of orders. We would like to go to 30%. To do this, a space with standing tables will be fitted out under the brand’s new banners. “We are really a hybrid model, between retail** and digital”, insists Céleste.
After Lille, OFC will set out to conquer other cities in the coming months: Nancy and Nice in May, then Marseilles, Lyons and Toulouse.
*Benchmark, also called benchmarking, is a marketing technique based on comparative analysis.
**Retail is the English term designating the activity of retail trade.
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