Our next Q&A features Beth Taubner, founder of NY and London-based Mercurylab. In her opening day session, she’ll be sharing strategies for UK brands looking to expand into the US, including expert analysis into selling and marketing over ‘the pond’.

What food to go operator do you particularly admire and why?

I really admire GAIL’s. I think their food is very tasty and thoughtful. Like any well-managed brand, their brand is consistent from one GAIL’s to the next. Even as they have expanded, GAIL’s still feels like an artisan bakery.

What do you feel is the key for operators to successfully compete against their competitors?
To stand out and succeed in a competitive market, operators really need to know on a deep level who they are and what they stand for. Once an operator understands this, they will call on it in everything that they do, for example: in their product development, business environment, packaging design, and how they treat their customers, to name a few.

What do you see as key trends for food-to-go in the coming year? 

I think gluten-free and vegan will continue to be key trends in the coming year. Another thing I’m seeing here in the UK is that there are more iced tea options. Also, portion sizes are getting better and larger, so that food-to-go options can serve as a real, filling meal for customers on-the-go.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Managing my calendar is often the most challenging aspect, being able to accomplish and complete everything for many clients at different stages of development and execution.

And the most rewarding?

We really get to help clients at an elemental level. My clients often tell me that we not only help change their businesses, but also change their lives.

How important is lunch! to the food-to-go sector?

lunch! always feels so gourmet and especially delicious. It is very well curated — it’s a very smart show.

Describe the lunch! trade show in 3 words:

Smart, tasty, the best of the best (and “modern”, if I can add a fourth!)

Can you tell us a bit about your much-anticipated session at lunch! 2018?

My session will be a great opportunity to understand the key differences between the UK and New York (American) markets. It will give real insight to companies before they attempt to expand their brand into an unfamiliar market using assumptions that may or may not be accurate.

Who or what inspires you to be even better?

Teaching inspires me. Participating in the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme has been a wonderful opportunity for me to teach and help young entrepreneurs, and to hopefully make a difference in their lives.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“You have a bold entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s important for you to pursue your dreams.” In other words: you can do it!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know:
I’m a psychological astrologer, which I incorporate into my work with clients.

See Beth at lunch! 2018

Jumping the Pond: Expanding into the US Market: 2.15pm in Keynote Theatre 2 on Thursday 20 September.

To register for a free trade ticket, please click here.

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