UPMARKET grocery chain Waitrose is making its first foray into onboard catering with a deal to supply Eurostar’s standard-class buffet carriages.
The supermarket chain, part of the John Lewis Partnership, will start supplying the cross-Channel rail service with sandwiches, ready meals, salads and drinks from tomorrow, also marking its first big move into northern Europe. The deal gives Waitrose access to Eurostar’s 10 million annual passengers who travel between destinations including Brussels, Calais, Lille, London and Paris.
A spokeswoman for the employee-owned company said that while the deal value was “relatively modest”, its strategic significance was “very important”.
David Morton, Waitrose business-to-business director, said: “To be the first food brand that Eurostar’s customers experience when they are visiting Britain is tremendously powerful as we seek to expand our presence within Northern Europe.”
Julian Welham, head of onboard services at Eurostar, said: “Our British passengers will be well acquainted with the Waitrose brand, but for many of our continental customers this will be their first experience and we look forward to introducing them to the new range which includes both French and British classics.”
It marks another expansion abroad for the chain, which already earns export sales of £25 million a year – up 20 per cent over the past year.
Waitrose already supplies food to 45 countries including Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand and India.