When it comes to growing sales, a strong, innovative marketing strategy can

help your on-site restaurant or café give the high street a real run for its money. Hayley Miller, Head of Marketing at CH&CO, talks us through how a unifying marketing strategy is paying dividends for the diverse catering business.

What can we learn from the high street? The high street is sometimes seen to be ahead of contract catering when it comes to marketing. Big names, such as Pret a Manger and Starbucks, attract consumers with on-trend concepts and creative visuals that are consistent and instantly recognisable across the country. This keeps customers coming through the door, time and time again.

Similarly, our investment in research-based and customer- focused marketing concepts, which roll out to most of our sites, has produced amazing results, including double digit increases in sales and an uplift in repeat custom.

How can you fit one marketing campaign

to many sites? Our creative team, which includes marketing experts, chefs, nutritionists, photographers and designers, develop quarterly marketing toolkits.

How do you develop a marketing concept?

Research is key to the success of any marketing campaign. Every concept we develop and toolkit we produce is based on consumer insight, the latest food and design trends, and competitor research (and that includes the high street). We have to be sure that we have the right offer and at the right price.

Take our current summer campaign. As festival season hits, we’re celebrating street food from around the world, maximising the popularity of this innovative food trend and bringing new flavours, textures and winning combinations to customers. We also grab the bonus opportunities to increase sales, with promotions around key events such as Wimbledon or National Burger Day.

For spring, we welcomed the warmer weather and positivity it brings with the ‘Let’s Go’ campaign. This harnessed vibrant, on-trend, neon colours and fed the growing consumer demand for exciting vegan options.

How do the customers benefit?

The bottom line is that a marketing concept’s goal is to drive sales. It’s therefore got to be focused on the people spending the money; the customer.

Our campaigns are very customer focused. All the photography we use is of the food we’re serving, not stock images, so they can see exactly what they’re getting. And, every recipe in the toolkit is nutritionally analysed so customers can make informed choices that support their dietary and lifestyle needs.

Based on a specific theme, relevant to the time of year and latest consumer trends and demands, each kit offers inspiration and advice for managers, such as new recipe ideas. They also include the eye-catching visuals that customers expect to see, from posters, stickers and menu templates to point-of-sale items and packaging. No detail is missed. These create a real buzz in a restaurant or café and that all-important second look that can lead to an extra sale.

Does this adapt to different locations? It’s a professional and flexible framework that creates consistency across the business but, crucially, allows individual site personalities to shine through. We’re also making the marketing process painless for our site managers, giving them the space to do what they do best; create uplifting catering and hospitality experiences.

46 | TOMORROW’S FM And, what’s the benefit for clients?

At the end of the day, if we’re increasing sales and repeat custom, which we are, we’re getting it right. It’s a clear sign that customers are happy and not heading straight to the high street. This uplifts our sites and our teams, creating an ongoing positive cycle. That’s good news for both our clients, and us.

We’re also seeing healthy competition between sites. Yammer, our internal social media platform, is alive with images of vibrant counter displays and beautifully- prepared food. And, as nobody wants to be outdone, the result is a bar that’s constantly being raised – a win for our clients and customers!

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