Caribbean food service Juici Jerk to shift business model to retail post-pandemic

Award-winning Caribbean kitchen and pop-up, Juici Jerk has announced plans to transition its business to a retail-led model this year, focusing on a range of original homemade sauces, cooking kits, and food hampers to deliver an immersive ‘Caribbean cook-at-home’ experience.

On Tuesday 1st June, Juici Jerk’s brand will undergo a complete refresh as it shifts towards an ecommerce-friendly platform to incorporate its new line-up of restaurant-quality Caribbean food products which will be available for purchase from this date.

The movement was triggered by the company’s success during the Covid-19 pandemic as Juici Jerk founders (and brothers) Troy and Jarrell seized upon the opportunity presented to offer nationwide delivery on their products. Inspired by Pizza Pilgrims and other restaurant operators, founders the sibling duo launched the UK’s first nationwide Caribbean DIY meal kits.

During the lockdown, Juici Jerk successfully pivoted its business model with the launch of its cook-at-home DIY meal kit service which resulted in huge sales growth and increased opportunities for the company. Since introducing the DIY meal kits in November 2020, Juici Jerk’s overall sales went up by 30% and weekly food deliveries jumped by over 70% over a three-month period*. Due to such high demand, the small team quickly expanded with a series of new hires and the opening of a new kitchen and production unit.

Available from 1st June, the latest addition to Juici Jerk’s offering is a brand-new summer BBQ kit, featuring its homemade secret recipe Jerk BBQ Sauce, Rum & Honey Sauce and Jerk Mayo, along with all the classic Caribbean summer staples including rum, jerk chicken wings, and plantain. The Classic BBQ kit will focus on jerk-marinated chicken, and the Premium kit boasts a selection of seafood and premium-cut meats.

Juici Jerk currently operates as a multi-dimensional Caribbean food business offering various services including private catering for events, festival stalls, corporate catering and food market pop-ups. Based in a commercial kitchen in Tooting, Juici Jerk’s main operation is its delivery and collection service running five days a week and serving over 1,500 meals per week.

Troy Johnson, Director of Juici Jerk comments on the shift towards retail: “When the pandemic hit us last year, all our event bookings for weddings, birthdays, and other festivities were wiped clean, which left us in a really difficult position – and operating alone on Deliveroo & UberEats wasn’t sufficient enough to make us stay afloat, especially since the commission rates are so high. As a small business, we managed to successfully adapt and capitalise on the opportunities presented by the pandemic.

“Meal kits found their way into the nation’s homes in the absence of the eating out experience, and we found a way to enable anyone to recreate authentic Caribbean dishes from the comfort of their home – for those who love Caribbean food, or for those who want to try Caribbean cooking whilst at home. Despite restaurants and pubs reopening, we are positive that consumers are still excited by the concept of cook-at-home experiences and want to explore new cuisines, which is why we want to roll-out our own products and sauces.”

Since launching, Juici Jerk has appeared at a number of London street food markets such as its pop-up cafe in Tooting Works in 2019, a pop-up at Mercato Metropolitano from August 2019 to March 2020, and a pop-up kitchen at BOXPARK Croydon in February 2020 which attracted a new range of customers and gave them greater exposure across the capital.

This summer, Juici Jerk will be providing catering services at Taste of London 2021 and has some other exciting corporate opportunities in the pipeline, including key stockists for product lines being released later in the year. Following the summer BBQ meal kit, Juici Jerk is set to introduce its very first vegan Caribbean meal kit – more info coming soon.

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