Caterers and FoodService
Whether you are a large contract caterer or a meal provider to a single school, taking part in British Food Fortnight - the biggest national promotion
of British Food - increases sales. You can attract new customers, increase spending from existing customers and establish a point of difference between
your company and those that serve only mainstream products. Promotions during previous British Food Fortnights have proved that it has a serious impact
on sales - one restaurant increased sales by an astonishing 300% during the event!
You don’t have to restrict yourselves to British Food Fortnight either. By sourcing and promoting British food in your establishment(s) year-round, you are showing that you are serious about food sourcing and provenance, and are helping the British economy as well as helping yourselves.
"Catering establishments taking part in British Food Fortnight have proved that buying British can be affordable and add real value to profits." Catering Manager Magazine.
Phil Howard, Chef Owner at Elystan Street proved keeping to a budget buying British can be done. He was tasked with producing a 3-course menu to the same price per head that hospitals work to (£2.80) and as expected he worked his culinary magic. Phil served up a delicious steamed hispi cabbage with a coddled Chapel Farm egg dressing and Montgomery cheddar. Then a roulade of Welsh Black Mountain chicken with creamed potato, Worcestershire leek hearts and spinach. Dessert was an Organic buttermilk mousse with Yorkshire rhubarb and orange.
Hot tips for maximising sales during British Food Fortnight
- Promote your participation in the national food promotion by displaying POS material using the British Food Fortnight logo or Union Jack on menus and in restaurants.
- Communicate menus in advance, for example on employee intranets.
- Run a competition or prize draw to highlight the new menu. ARAMARK ran an ‘Around Britain in a Fortnight’ menu and gave every customer who ate in their restaurants during the event a gamecard featuring ‘just for fun’ questions about British food that could be entered into a prize draw.
- Ensure the whole catering team knows about the new products and suppliers and encourage them to communicate this to customers while serving food.
- Include a ‘Chef’s Special’ on the menu to give you flexibility in your ordering process.
- Use phrases such as ‘seasonal veg’ on the menu that enable you to take a variety of stock from different suppliers.
Working with Schools – your customers of the Future
In addition to the commercial reasons for taking part in British Food Fortnight, we invite you to use the national celebration as an opportunity to be proactive in educating young people about British food.
Schools must now incorporate cookery and food-related topics into their curriculum and are advised to seek help from local caterers and chefs to achieve this. So, chances are, there is a school waiting to hear from YOU! The best people to make the young aware of the diverse and delicious food that Britain has to offer are those who sell it.
Many retailers and caterers organise activities for schools every year during British Food Fortnight. Here are tips for working with schools based on their experiences, and some examples of what some retailers have achieved.
- Give a cooking demonstration or lesson in your local school: seek ideas from the many examples of how chefs have worked with schools in our document ‘Advice for Cooks & Chefs: Things to consider when working in schools’ for tips on facilities, dishes to teach, planning and giving the session. The document can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
- Offer your kitchen facilities to your local school as a venue for a cooking lesson: many pubs, restaurants and hotels host successful school visits so don’t be afraid of inviting children into your kitchen! If you are worried about letting children loose in your kitchen, host a cooking demonstration rather than a lesson.
- Ask your regular suppliers to donate ingredients for the cooking session: this is a good way for your suppliers to share in the publicity you will receive.
- Make your pub or restaurant a venue where children can learn about food: set them a ‘British Food: True or False Quiz’ or give them fact sheets about some of the traditional dishes on your menu.
- Think about children when planning your menu promotions: child-friendly promotions will encourage parents to eat in your pub or restaurant. Offer children smaller portions of the dishes on the menu rather than having a separate children’s menu.
- Offer a ‘Try It!’ plate for children
Sourcing British food
Increasingly consumers want to know how their food and drink is produced and where it comes from. Sourcing products that are part of assurance schemes is a powerful way of demonstrating that you are selling or serving quality produce and that it is fully traceable to the producer. British Food Fortnight is an opportunity to find new suppliers, source more sustainably and receive publicity for doing so.
The main ‘umbrella’ assurance schemes are explained on our Logos and Marks page.
Some food types and regional food and drink products are part of additional schemes and these are explained on the pages for each specific food:
- Poultry and Poultry Products
- Pork and Pork Products
- Lamb and Mutton
- Fish and Seafood
- Fruit and Vegetables
Some pointers towards sourcing locally are:
- Contact your existing suppliers to see whether the produce they currently supply you with is British.
- Send current and new suppliers a copy of the menu you would like them to supply British food for and invite them to pitch for the business.
- Don’t be put off by prices that initially may seem higher. Buying large volumes can make the whole process affordable.
- If you are catering in the public sector, consider forming a partnership with other public organisations to aggregate demand and make savings through bulk purchase.
- Larger suppliers can still provide local produce: be specific when talking to them about what you want and don’t shy away from specifying local products as part of your requirements.
- Involve your client in the sourcing process. If they are concerned about increased costs explain that healthy eating is a hot topic at the moment and their employees/customers will expect them to respond to this. Good food is a corporate benefit!
- Talk to your suppliers to overcome difficulties that may arise if you are a large caterer trying to work with small suppliers. For example, the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) has a purchasing model that enables six Peak District farms to supply meat to one butcher who in turn supplies seven youth hostels in the area.
- Make sure that the relevant internal structures are in place. Nottingham City Hospital started to source milk from a local dairy. The relationship with the dairy itself worked very well but ensuring that the milk was distributed to the different hospital sites required some internal adjustments.
- If fragmented supply is a problem, encourage producers to form a co-operative that better meets your needs.
- Consider forming a partnership with other public organisations to aggregate demand and make savings through bulk purchase.
- Set up a customer group involving the catering team, suppliers and your clients so that expectations are managed on both sides and problems can be easily resolved.
- Buy in-season products that are often available at competitive prices in order to achieve value for money.
Who has taken part?
A huge range of retailers take part every year – we hope you will be inspired by our case studies on the right hand side of the page.