Does this sound familiar?
“When we were open, we were absolutely thriving. We had customers lined up to get in. We had lots of bookings coming in and then overnight when the announcement that stopped in venue dining overnight, the next day we were right down to hardly anyone coming in the doors.”
This is what happened to Forage of the Foreshore owners Laura and Sam Anderson back in March.
“We sort of were at a loss for what to do going from really busy, successful, and then nothing. We were pretty stunned. So it was quite hard for us. Everyone was in that same boat. It was completely unheard of. We we’re just like, what are we going to do? The other problem is we live in a small town. There’s like 300 people. And there’s probably about 11 eateries, I think. So there’s really no point in us all trying to get that local takeaway market every weekend. Cause there’s just not enough people to go around.”
After being knocked back for the initial grants they were unsure what to do. Then a call from an old colleague for a takeaway turned into a thriving side business that is now keeping them busier than ever.
“It was pretty overwhelming really that night. Sam’s old apprentice has a takeaway pizza shop and asked him to cook up some gnocci just for the Sunday night. So it’s a bit of a drive, and I’m driving there for the night and set it all up, then pack everything up and drive all the way back home. But it was a great response. We sold out. It went really well.”
“Then Sam and I were sitting down one day having a coffee as we do in the mornings chatting about where we’re going to go, what we’re going to do. And we decided we want to do retail gnocci packs”
Laura credits her experience with AVTES ‘Hospitality Transformation Program’ as giving her the skills and confidence to plan and implement this new business so quickly.
“Well because we did the program with you, and I learnt to focus on knowing our customer, what we did was we looked at who we’re already connected with and the target market for the gnocci, and who would fit that, who would be interested, and we approached them. And we got about 10 stockists in two weeks. As well as online.”
She also used marketing techniques and strategies that she learnt as part of the program to promote the product.
“When we did the gnocci we really pumped the socials with ‘don’t delay’ and ‘you’ll miss out’ because at that point it was only going to be that week Sunday night only, so we had real scarcity, which I had learnt from you was a great driver of action.”
“And we’re getting over our camera shyness using your video techniques and doing some live stuff when Sam’s making the gnocci and I’m asking him questions.”
Program Coach Sarah Fitzgibbon says, “at the moment, smart marketing is essential. You don’t have time or money to waste – but in order to remain connected with your customers and generating business you need to be communicating regularly, so utilising what you have is incredibly important. Social media will get you the biggest bang for buck so to speak. People can keep up to date with your menu, opening hours, how to order, ordering options, prices, etc. as well as share with their friends.”
“The program focuses on automating many marketing practices, as well as using simple and free marketing where possible.”
Laura and Sam hope to continue the retail as an arm to their hospitality business once their able to open again.
“Because we’ve had such a good response we’ve got all these other ideas for it. Sam’s actually working on a gluten free gnocci at the moment. And then he wants to do salsas and heat and serve packs. So we’re looking at growing that once we’re allowed to go back.”
Click here to learn more about the Hospitality Transformation Program.