Is Diversification the Key to Post Covid19 Success?
A London food retailer believes diversifying a businesses’ offering could be the key to success as lockdown restrictions ease. Co-founder of Eat17, James Brundle, believes offering multiple streams of revenue and having the ability to adapt quickly is the key for rebuilding a struggling business post Covid19.
He set up Eat17 with business partner Chris O’Connor over ten years ago and during that time they’ve grown to four successful stores integrating convenience food shopping and dining. They’re now offering their business model as a franchise opportunity for businesses with the floor space to introduce a retail or dining option.
Each franchise can be unique to fit in with the high street and the needs of local shoppers, with offerings adapted to achieve maximum footfall. The four stores already open all offer something different. Walthamstow was the first store where the pair introduced local suppliers and producers to offer a truly unique shopping experience.
When the store next-door became vacant, they bought that and turned it into their popular restaurant. Now they have stores in Hackney, Hammersmith and Bishops Stortford all with different offerings bespoke to their local communities.
In Hackney, Eat17 have their production kitchen where butchers and chefs make ready meals and own label products that are sold in all stores. Bishops Stortford has an in-store bakery and is where Eat17 make their own handmade chocolate and in Hammersmith the store has the biggest refill station in the group, filling an entire wall.
Since launch the pair have introduced over 300 own label products including their Bacon Jam, sauces, the ‘food to go’ range, sourdough breads and an artisan beer range, all of which will be available to franchisees. Eat17 has also forged an innovative partnership with AF Blakemore, the owner of 300 Spar stores across the UK. The grocery giant combines Spar branding with Eat17 to create a high-end convenience store.
James said: “2020 has undoubtedly been a very difficult year for business, none more so than those on the high street and in the hospitality sector. Next year is certainly a time to refocus, reset and ascertain how to take your business forward and potentially grow, taking into account new purchasing habits and restrictions which may still be in place.
“The best ways to diversify a company will always focus on providing the most value for the customer. There are many options when it comes to diversifying, but the most natural is to introduce a complimentary product or service that you already provide to customers. For example, if you run a restaurant, why not consider offering a take-away service or a deli selling some of your favourite products and a few new ones too? Or indeed introducing a convenience store element, like that at Eat17, to a pub or bar.”
James added: “It is important for business owners to remain optimistic and to really focus on how they can adapt what they offer and do to fit in with this new way of shopping and living. There are opportunities out there – it’s about identifying the ones that work for you. We believe our Eat17 model has the potential to work well for retailers with bricks and mortar premises to offer shoppers something different.”