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Expanding Your Restaurant and Hospitality Business Into New Markets

Welcome to Natalie’s Blog…

[This is part of a series on how restaurants and hotels are expanding into takeaway and home delivery and also into outside catering… next time… how disruptive new home-delivery companies are driving business innovation.]


Whether times are good or bad, it’s natural to think about expansion into other markets… whether to build on success or to grow revenue, improve cash flow or spread risk… and with expansion comes innovation and the possibility of finding even better business.

Our customers represent all sectors of business, trade and commerce, professional services, education and charities… learning about what they do and how they do it provides a fascinating insight into best practice which is transferable across sectors and industries.

Our restaurant and hospitality customers are often a rich source of inspiration, full of entrepreneurial ideas and with many business lessons to share in what can be a very challenging sector.

When it comes to expansion aspirations, restaurants and hotels will naturally think first about opening new sites. However this is a hugely capital intensive option and carries a very real risk of over-stretching, leaving the business exposed when the economy takes a downturn or customers lose interest, as a good number of restaurant chains have been finding recently to their considerable cost (referred to by some as the ‘casual dining crunch’ as experienced by Jamie’s Italian, Byron and Prezzo, amongst many).

The question restauranteurs, caterers and hotel owners face is the same as for the rest of us in business… how to make assets (in the form of kitchens, equipment and a location, plus established supply chains, a range of products and talented staff) work harder and to grow with minimal cost and risk to the existing business and associated brand.

It has been interesting to watch a number of our hotel and restaurant customers turn to home delivery and outside catering to answer this question… looking to grow their orders and turnover while avoiding many of the inherent risks associated with expanding to other locations, taking on a lot of new equipment or experimenting with new concepts or new markets.

The rapid expansion of independent home delivery specialists like Deliveroo and Just Eat has made it relatively easy for restaurants and hotels to offer a home delivery menu and, despite understandable fears of cannibalising their own trade, this has brought welcome additional business… keeping staff busy, fixed assets (like kitchens) utilised and raising awareness about their food and brand.

We’ve even heard of a trend for restaurants to open ‘pop-up’ mobile kitchens (whether in vans or porta-cabin style units) in other areas to expand their home delivery catchment area.

Meantime one of our own customers, the Akash Restaurant in Portsmouth has taken the idea of home delivery to the extreme with curry fights to France!

Our product range of personalised Chocolates and Confectionery has its role to play too in this expansion into new markets.

The messaging on the wrapper for each individually wrapped chocolate or sweet is perfect advertising space… indeed we like to call it ‘edible advertising‘.

Our customers are ordering chocolates and sweets with different messaging to promote their home delivery service alongside their website, social media etc.

This is sometimes just a message to raise awareness to existing customers in the restaurant… reminding them at the end of their meal that next time they are too tired to cook but not keen on leaving their home to visit the restaurant… they can order online or by phone and have their favourite meals delivered to them direct.

Individually wrapped sweets (whether Fruit Sweets, Mints, Humbugs, Jelly Beans and Jelly sweets) are also perfect for adding to a takeaway or home delivery order.

They are a great way to surprise and delight customers having a number of positive effects for a minimal spend:

* the perceived added value and positive response a customer will feel on receiving gifts from the restaurant in the form of free sweets included with the takeaway or home delivery;

* the perfect way to say (and mean!) “Thank You” to a customer for their choosing them;

* the opportunity to use the messaging to encourage and incentivise customers to use the service again or come into the restaurant, with a discount or special offer;

* promoting word-of-mouth recommendation and endorsement of the restaurant and the takeaway and home delivery services to friends and family;

* promoting other services like private dining and outside catering;

* promoting new menu launches, special events, expansion etc.

Please give us a call to discuss how you could use personalised chocolates and confectionery to promote your business… call me or Richard (Sales Manager) on UK freephone 0800 371 428.

(Natalie’s Blog, 26 March 2018)

[This is part of a series on how restaurants and hotels are expanding into takeaway and home delivery and also into outside catering… next time… how disruptive new home-delivery companies are driving business innovation.]

Meet… Natalie Atkinson (Managing Director, Delvaux Ltd)

Natalie is the Managing Director of Delvaux Ltd, a family-owned business originally founded in 1985 by her mother Monique as a division of Rombouts Coffee. Natalie leads the ‘delicious marketing ideas’ team at Delvaux, experts in helping Delvaux’s clients to use personalisation and gifting as ‘edible advertising’.

Since Delvaux’s early days supplying petit fours to Restaurants and Hotels and supplying retailers such as the House of Fraser, Conran and Harvey Nichols with luxury chocolates, glace fruits, nougats and nuts, Delvaux has developed into a thriving independent business supplying personalised chocolates (Neapolitans and Petit Chocs) and confectionery in individual wrappers printed with messaging, logo, special offers and promotions etc.

Delvaux has been in business for over 33 years supplying 1000s of businesses, associations, charities, institutions and individuals with millions of personalised Neapolitan and Petit chocolates over that time. More recently Delvaux has expanded under Natalie’s direction with the addition of Mints, Fruit Sweets, Salted Caramel Fudge, Jelly Beans and Jelly Sweets and Chocolate Coffee Beans to the product range.

[If you have any questions please call us on UK freephone 0800 371 428 or International telephone +44 (0) 1932 571180, alternatively please email us at]
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