Night ‘n Day continues its expansion across the country with innovative partnerships and new store growth, writes Thomas Oakley-Newell.
In a year shrouded in doubt and uncertainty, Night ‘n Day managed to navigate its way through these difficult times by continuing its growth in P&C as well as identifying new business avenues to explore.
Over the past 12 months, the convenience chain opened five new stores and partnered with Menulog, allowing customers the option of purchasing products through click and collect or having it delivered directly to their door.
Matthew Lane, General Manager at Night ‘n Day, said by offering both delivery and pick up options contact time was reduced, which has been a big driver during the pandemic.
“Having a delivery service has enabled Night ‘n Day to reach new customers in areas across the country that previously didn’t have delivery available. We’ve seen strong demand in centres like Invercargill and in different parts of cities and towns, such as southern Whangarei, where they have not had access to delivery before.”
Lane said while their products had been available on other delivery services in New Zealand for a few years, the decision to work with Menulog was about wanting to drive and channel customers through a single delivery platform.
“We were previously on other delivery platforms but didn’t actively push it ourselves because we weren’t fully confident on the motivation in pushing that relationship. Whereas with Menulog, they really give us an incentive to push people through the Menulog channel to buy our products.”
The timing of joining Menulog could not have come at a better time, with figures released from Menulog revealing the number of orders from convenience stores such as Night ‘n Day have increased by almost 420 per cent since April last year, and Lane said that the Menulog platform and its delivery service has been a game changer.
“It’s key to our future growth – from being able to provide us with delivery drivers through to analytics that monitor performance to ensure we are providing the best service possible.”
Morton Belling, Managing Director of Menulog, said that demand is due to several factors including the number of people opting for contact-free buying due to Covid as well as a desire for fast access to a wider range of food and products.
“The availability of outlets like Night ‘n Day being open 24/7 and giving people access to everything from light meals such as wedges and kebabs through to staples like bread and milk is a major factor behind the growth in demand.”
In addition to the five stores opened last year, Lane said the business plans to open three new stores in the coming three months and possibly three more in the months after that.
“We’re heavily engrossed at the moment at enhancing our technology further and have done a lot of infrastructure change into the technology to give us the foundations to grow, and now we’re looking at implementing a bit more digital amongst the stores.”
Adapting to the changing market is something Night n’ Day consistently does, with Lane stating they’re constantly adding new products onto the menus, trialling them, and removing them if need be.
“The latest product we’ll be trialling is the bubble tea, which seems to have a bit of hype around it in New Zealand, and that will be launched shortly within our stores.”
With various lockdowns in place over the past few years, Lane has noticed a trend that consumers are more inclined to shop locally.
“Having a lot of owner-operated stores engaged in the community has really generated a lot more support from the restricted areas.
“Also, people are using convenience more to shop for their grocery basics, as supermarkets have been hit hard as being hotspots or locations of interest throughout Covid, so with convenience having a smaller format there seems to be a bit more comfort in shopping through the channel.”
While Covid may have seen consumers moving towards the convenience channel in an attempt to avoid contact, Lane said it was important to not focus business around Covid as things change so quickly.
“We’re always looking for opportunities and our biggest opportunity now is probably store number growth. We feel we’ve got the right offering in the market now, so for us it’s just ensuring that we’re continuing to develop quality stores.”
Lane also said that there are a few legislative pieces that will draw attention to the industry over the next few years.
“Primarily, we have the Commerce Commission Report which has just been released and that will affect the access to wholesale for us. It’s currently still under review, the final report fell relatively flat, but it seems the Government is not taking the final recommendations as the end point.”
Another piece of legislation expected to have a big impact is the introduction of the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Action Plan, that aims to reduce the number of retailers able to sell tobacco from the current 8,000 to roughly 500.
“We’re pretty comfortable with our position, we focus our profitability on food-to-go, milk bar, and coffee. But what we can see out there in the market is that there are a lot of independent smaller stores, roughly four to five thousand of them, that are heavily reliant on that tobacco market and having it ripped from them would literally evaporate most of our standalone P&C sites.”