H&M is certainly best known for its clothing offering, but in the last few years the European clothing giant has diversified its offering a little, with homeware available at many stores, and even a home-only concept in London. Last year they opened their very first UK cafe, it’s: PLEAT at Westfield London, and now they’ve expanded again with a more central option for the capital’s citizens. The branch at Regent Street H&M HOME is now open, and we’ve got all you need to know here.
First things first; this isn’t your standard department store fare. In-shop cafes generally have a reputation for being a little bland and uninspired, but H&M have certainly tried to do something a little different here. The brand is Swedish, and they’ve tried to bring some of that scandinavian style to the menu. Nothing on the menu is out-there, but it’s interesting enough to make a special trip, and will certainly keep shoppers interested. The salads in particular are a highlight; packed with interesting veg, fruit and more.
it’s: PLEAT is designed to cater for those looking for quick and on-the-go meals - perfect for shoppers - so you won’t find the usual jacket potato here. There’s also an emphasis on ‘healthy-ish’ plates, which means a good selection of food for the health conscious with no compromise on taste or excitement.
There’s also a big commitment to quality produce at the cafe. Where possible, everything is locally sourced and of a good standard. You’ll find British smoked chicken, free range eggs and more. This is increasingly seen as something essential for any new cafe or restaurant, as consumers become more welfare and environmentally conscious, but it’s certainly good to see nonetheless.
What’s even more commendable is that it’s: PLEAT has done away with plastic wherever possible. One of the biggest criticisms of quick and convenient food, whether at sit-down cafes or takeaway stalls is that it often comes in single-use plastic, which as we know is one of the biggest challenges facing the environment. Plant-based materials have come to the rescue here, and you’ll find biodegradable and compostable packaging used extensively to tick that eco-friendly box.
H&M are of course not the first high street retailer to make a foray into the cafe market recently. Budget clothes giant Primark have also opened and redeveloped a number of stores recently that feature small cafes and coffee bars for shoppers. While there are some additional things to think about like training requirements, opening a food business at an already established business is often a fairly straightforward business proposition that’s less risky than opening a standalone restaurant. The idea of course is to keep shoppers within these large stores for as long as possible. Rather than leaving to go for lunch, and then potentially not returning or visiting a competitor, customers are kept within viewing distance of the latest products.
It remains to be seen if the 'it’s: PLEAT' concept will be rolled out across the country, but it looks like a great option for the health and environmentally conscious while offering something a little different.