How Pubs, Restaurants and Hotels can take part
Whether you are a large brewery chain, hotel or independent restaurant, 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 product.
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.
"We are proud supporters of Love British Food. We believe in supporting British Farmers and produce whenever possible and appreciate very much the hard work that the Love British Food team put into this annual event." Rebecca Weller, Events and Marketing Manager, Whiting & Hammond.
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. Give 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.
- Use phrases such as ‘seasonal veg’ on the menu that enable you to take a variety of stock from different suppliers.
- Contact your suppliers and ask whether the produce they currently supply you with is British. The Mare and Foal pub in Crediton did this and discovered that the butcher they use guarantees that all the meat it supplies comes from the West Country.
- Use British Food Fortnight as an opportunity to experiment with new dishes on your menu: chefs that do so end up keeping the dish for the rest of the winter.
- Set yourself a target of at least five locally sourced dishes on your menu.
- Make simple dishes special by sourcing British: Soup of the Day and Bangers & Mash are always popular and are easy to localise.
- Challenge chefs to come up with ‘Chef’s Specials’ that highlight local produce. For example, a ‘Steak & Ale-of-the-Day Pie’ draws attention to the range of ales on sale in the bar and a dish that uses a local cheese will stimulate interest in your cheese board.
- Daily menus give you the most flexibility to change dishes according to season and produce available. If changing your menu daily is not possible, use generic phrases that give customers enough information about what they are ordering but still give you flexibility: for example,‘Chef’s Special’, ‘xyz served with Seasonal Vegetables’ or ‘Seasonal Fruit Crumble’.
- Name producers and farms rather than simply use the term ‘local’ on your menu. If it is difficult to specify producers by name then use generic phrases such as ‘All the meat served comes from within 30 miles of this pub/restaurant.’
- List your suppliers, their contact details and even the number of food miles separately in order to keep the wording on the menu simple and clear.
- Use British Food Fortnight to increase Christmas bookings: pubs and restaurants offering special menus during the event often report an increase in bookings as the Fortnight is an opportunity to give customers confidence in the quality of food they can expect.
- Link up with your local shop. Run a special British Food Fortnight menu that features the produce available in the shop. Produce reciprocal ‘x% off’ vouchers.
- Launch a retail service to complement your menu sales: ready-made meals for take-aways or freezer storage.
- Organise an event to which you can invite journalists and that will make you stand out from other pubs and restaurants wanting media coverage. For example, you could offer a cooking demonstration of the dishes on your menu.
- Invest in quality photographs of your dishes to maximise press coverage. Newspapers and magazines are more likely to feature your restaurant and menu if you are able to supply them with quality photographs.
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 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 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 factsheets 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Buy in-season products that are often available at competitive prices in order to achieve value for money.