Asda Canteen Refresh

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Asda recently embarked on a huge canteen refresh for their colleagues, aiming to create a space that was more modern, flexible and suited to the needs to those taking a break 

Service highlights:

Holistic design solution

Client liaison

Value engineering

Logistics and warehousing capability

Third party liaison

Full fit-out and M&E works

The Project

Asda commissioned Sigma as lead designer and contractor to deliver 64 canteen refreshes across its UK estate.

Sigma were directly responsible for site surveys, management of building regulation requirements and the full fit out including M&E works (our own inhouse team) and management of direct reports.

Before any of the fit-out work commenced, Sigma Design was appointed to work with Asda to develop the concept and specification. This involved applying the Asda standard specification to a small number of new build store schemes to understand how this would impact on the existing estate

This led to several outputs, including:

  • A clarified scope of works for the entire project
  • The creation of template drawings for all future schemes (to be used by any future contractors)
  • Value engineering to deliver more effective solutions at more competitive price points
  • Client – Asda
  • Project Summary – Staff canteen refresh
  • Sigma Support – Design, Fit-Out & M&E
  • Location – Nationwide



Scope of Works

  • Structural detail & design
  • Enabling works inc. full strip out of existing furniture and kitchen equipment
  • Value engineered solutions to deliver more effective solutions at more competitive price points, including cost-efficient wall finish and ceiling tiles
  • Logistics and warehousing capability
  • Full M+E package including LED lighting upgrade, Power, IT & Data
  • Full Project/Site management
  • Client management
  • Walling – new and demolition of existing walls
  • New vinyl flooring
  • Water & drainage
  • Decoration
  • Management of Asda direct subcontractors

Designing a space fit for today
and the future

The ambition was to repurpose the space within each store currently designated as a canteen to become more of a recreational area, with comfy soft furnishings, USB charging points and more facilities to heat up or serve food brought in from home or elsewhere. This was in response to colleague feedback about what was important to them when they were on shift but taking a break.

Sigma influenced a number of decisions during the concept phase that were adopted as part of the template drawings.  This included upgrading all lighting to LED to offer a better quality of light that is both longer-lasting and more energy efficient.

The team also undertook a number of value-engineering exercises, resulting in changes to a more cost-efficient wall finish and also to the ceiling tiles.  Thinking about the location of the tiles and the purpose of the space, the Sigma team recommended the specification was changed to a more hygienic, vinyl-facing tile that was both better suited to the environment and also more cost effective.


Embracing the design challenges

We produced a standardised plan and detailed drawing for each of the 64 stores, within the agreed framework. These captured specific details of the scope to allow for costing decisions to be made during weekly feedback calls and to refine the design with the internal & external teams.  

We also looked carefully at the legacy Asda estate and made modifications to the standard specification to ensure the template approach could be applied in all desired locations. 

This included proposals for bespoke design elements that allowed us to create the canteen spaces required while working within the existing structural confines of the building, while removing the need for larger scale building work. Keeping both costs and colleague disruption to a minimum while delivering the required design specification


A collaborative approach

With the Sigma team leading on design, it was necessary to work with a number of third parties to complete the canteen refresh, from furniture and graphics suppliers through to liaising with the company who would be responsible for recycling of the old kitchen equipment as well as ensuring that the spaces were then designed with the new kitchen equipment in mind.

To facilitate this, Asda utilised the capability of Sigma’s logistics and warehousing division to manage the storage and subsequent installation of all white goods, allowing for a seamless process from supplier to install.

The Sigma team became an integral part of the project team, meeting weekly with the client to report on progress and discuss any issues or challenges.  This collaborative approached meant that each individual canteen refurbishment was finished in just 7-14 days depending on the complexity.

Delivering for the client

By instructing Sigma to act as lead designer, Asda benefitted from a seamless end to end service.  Design schemes for each location were typically turned around in 24-hours and could be relied upon to be 'right first time'.  Where small changes needed to be applied, this could be done quickly and efficiently so as not to hold up progress.

The new canteen areas have been a huge success for Asda and their colleagues.  Each one has been celebrated with a launch party to help colleagues experience what the new space has to offer.

For the Sigma team, the ability to play such a central role in delivering a cultural change and engagement initiative for this retail giant has allowed them to add value through design, creating space that Asda colleagues can be proud of.


Using the latest trends, materials and fittings, our design team will find creative and innovative ways to utilize the space available, whilst taking a practical and workable view of your environment.

Louise Hickford - Head of Design


Drop us a line if you'd like to discuss your next Design project

Louise Hickford
Head of Design


We're proud to partner with Asda for a range of other projects...