12. CP Food On Table

Crafted Pubs food photography

It’s a challenging time in F&B in the UK right now. A global pandemic, Brexit and war in Ukraine, and the resulting energy and cost of living crisis, will do that to a sector. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as some of the best operators and brands are not just surviving but thriving – despite the decline many are experiencing.

Just look at what the guys at Mission Mars are doing. Albert’s Schloss just swept the board at Retailer’s Retailer awards, they’ve just opened their third site in Liverpool and their site in Brum seems to be packed to the rafters every time we pop in for a post-work drink. Plus, their expansion plans for Rudy’s seem to show no signs of slowing down and soon to hit 20+ locations.

But for every success story, there seems to be another very public casual dining casualty and with UKHospitality prophesying that "a third of hospitality businesses are at risk of failure in the next year despite sales exceeding pre-Covid levels" – the future sounds, well, bleak.

Sharp thinking & creative solutions

So, what can be done? Well, the answer to that will depend on the specific business and its challenges, but one thing is for certain, it doesn’t have to cost the earth and take months to implement. Some sharp thinking, creative ideas and attention-grabbing execution can make a world of difference right now and while it might not be the difference between boom and bust – it can make a big impact on the bottom line and change the outlook.

When we talk about ‘Consult & Create’, it’s solving exactly these sorts of issues and challenges that we have in mind. Developing strategic and creative solutions to supercharge our clients marketing efforts, especially here in the UK where everybody’s feeling it right now.



Here's five things our team are helping our F&B clients with currently to combat the current climate:

1. Optimised Menus

Ever struggled to read a menu in a dark restaurant or bar? Often felt overwhelmed by the amount of choice? Or maybe you think you’ve made your mind up before discovering a whole section you didn’t even know was on the menu? The reason is simple; poor menu design, and it can contribute to declining sales.

A well-designed one can not only hit all the right emotive notes; captivating customers, re-enforcing your brand positioning and image, and creating a cohesive and memorable experience (not surprising, given it’s often the only thing the customer holds in their hands) but it can also have a huge commercial upside too. Format, layout, navigation, categorisation, pricing presentation, highlights, call outs and other techniques are all strategic levers we pull when designing a food or drink menu, and all can result in customers spending more.

2. Compelling Campaigns

It’s no surprise that the most effective campaign concepts are currently those that are innovative; embracing fresh thinking and executional originality to capture attention. It’s amazing just how powerful a strong hook accompanied by compelling storytelling and an engaging look & feel can be – especially when it’s truly unique. Whether it’s catchy headline, a captivating visual, a memorable hashtag, or an interactive experience, finding the right execution is everything.

But just as is important is the thinking that leads to that execution. Understanding the customer and pinpointing what will resonate with them to strike a chord and spark them into action. It’s the magic combination of the ‘right message, right format, right style’ where hearts and minds are won. And of course, targeting those people at the ‘right time’.

3. Attention-Grabbing Comms & Content

It’s never been more important for restaurants and bars to adopt a multi-channel approach for their campaigns. After all, many of their customers are spending more time at home, so reaching them there to drive them into venues and get them to part with their hard-earned cash has become paramount.

Key to this is understanding the customer. Who are they? How has the current climate changed their lifestyle, needs and expectations? Where and what are they spending their time doing now? And most importantly, where do they get their inspiration for where to eat and drink? Only then can you create content that is fit for purpose for specific audiences and specific channels.

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Hilton 'Roam Free' campaign

4. Enticing Photography

“Food porn” has become something of a cultural phenomenon with 298 million posts and counting on Instagram to date using the hashtag (#foodporn). While there have been some brilliantly entertaining backlashes from technophobes and traditionalists, who have started campaigns to ban punters getting their phone out to snap a pic before tucking into their brilliantly presented dish or drink, the trend is showing no signs of slowing.

So, food & drink photography has become not only a fantastic source of exposure and engagement for F&B brands, but also an endless source of entertainment for consumers. It’s a way for them to choose where they want to eat and drink and a reference for quality of experience, including both product and environment. So, it makes complete sense to invest in capturing your experience in the best way possible. A picture is worth a thousand words and all that...

5. Other Opportunities

There’s loads more opportunities too. Whether it’s fine-tuning your existing experience strategy to make improvements to keep customers coming back for more or working with our interior design team to provide a light-touch refurb or sparkle to keep things fresh and new - it's amazing what a bit of focus on experience can do right now over deep discounting and all the usual short-term tactical tricks.

Just look at Gusto Italian - who we're lucky to call a client. By focusing on their guest experience and enhancing their food offer and environment they have managed to avoid discounts altogether. While this may have resulted in fewer guests, the outcome has been a net promoter score increase of 22 points, a £3.57 increase in spend-per-head, an £11.84 increase in profit per customer per visit and an annual increase in customer value of £13.94. You can't say fairer than that.

Need some help driving sales for your restaurant or bar right now? Give us a call or drop us an email and we’d be happy to see how we can Consult & Create for you – however big, or small, the challenge.

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