The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped food retailer M&M Food Market’s plans to continue expanding across the country.
M&M currently has 317 traditional stores and more than 1,300 express stores. The express stores, such as those located in Rexall pharmacies and 7-11 stores, are where the company sells its products as well in dedicated locations in those stores. It’s a mini version of the traditional M&M stores.
In the past year, M&M opened a couple of the traditional brick and mortar stores but expansion of its express format was about 800 locations.
“A crazy amount. That’s been our focus for the last year or so. We opened a new store in Toronto a couple of weeks ago and we have deals in place for another five stores opening in the next 12 months – traditional stores. So we’re growing,” said Andy O’Brien, the company’s CEO.
M&M has been in business for the past 40 years.
From the onset of COVID, the company has been diligent in its health and safety measures throughout its operations.
“What came with that because we were able to supply, because we had a very safe environment, because of all the previous changes we made to making sure we could do online same-day ordering, because we completely transformed the portfolio, because we’ve renovated over half our network, our sales went through the roof and they still are,” said O’Brien.
M&M Reaping Benefits of COVID-19 Restaurant Restrictions
The concept works ideally in the current environment where whether through choice or mandate many people are not willing or able to go out and eat. Many are choosing to stay home and M&M is reaping the benefits of that trend.
“There’s a couple of macro trends that have happened. People’s perception of food in general completely changed back in March. Our food is safe. Nobody’s touched it. It’s not sitting in a bin where people pick up an apple. This is really protected food,” said O’Brien.
“And people didn’t want to be in a large format shopping place. They want to be in a more boutique place like us. You’re in and out in five minutes. People went from maybe having to have maybe eight to 10 meals at home during the week to having 21 meals at home. Breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. With their kids. It was like ‘holy cow, I need to figure out some menu ideas’. We offer restaurant quality food that you can have at home.
“We were ideally set up from a portfolio and shopping environment and our team is so highly trained in helping people figure out meals.”
M&M Have Released Holiday Products Early as Customers Think Ahead in 2020
M&M stores have already come out with its holiday products which is much earlier than previous years as customers are beginning to think ahead.
“It’s our busiest season and this year’s going to be dramatically different than it’s been in the past,” said O’Brien.
“We’ve put in all kinds of different promotions to bring the business forward, provide people with price guarantees. We have a great online ordering system where people can go online and order. We’re figuring out ways to make it a really easy shopping environment for them. Christmas for us is massive.”
O’Brien said as a company it is now focusing on safety, supply, and communication.
“That was paramount to us as a group, to a team of 2,500 really coming together. It’s been a most amazing experience to this team really coming together during a very difficult time of crisis and all the things we’ve done in the past – the renovations, transforming the portfolio, the improvements to our frontline training, all allowed us to really service our customers well during this time period,” he said.