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Lessons In Business Innovation & Growth

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… outside catering.]


In my last blog I talked about ‘Expanding Your Restaurant & Hospitality Business Into New Markets‘ and how positive that can be.

The natural way for restaurants and hotels to expand… by opening new sites… brings considerable challenges and costs as a number of well-established restaurant chains have been finding out recently with the ‘casual dining crunch’ resulting in many restaurant closures.

But the good news is that many innovative restaurant, take-away and hotel owners and managers are bucking the trend by taking a very entrepreneurial approach to growing their businesses, finding other ways to expand in a sustainable, successful way… and many of us, whatever our business, could learn a lot from them.

In part the recent developments have been led by ‘disruptor’ businesses like Deliveroo and Just Eat which are having a big impact on the restaurant and take-away market and on home-dining… making supermarkets and other food suppliers nervous too about their sales, especially of ready meals etc.


In my last blog I mentioned the trend for restaurants and hotels to do more home and online deliveries and outside catering, with a number of them setting up special ‘pop-up’ mobile kitchens (whether in vans or portacabin style units) promoting their brand in areas further a field.

Clearly the trend for opening mobile kitchens is set to continue, especially with the opportunity to offer home delivery easily through companies like Just Eat and Deliveroo and this provides an interesting case study for innovative growth, whatever your business sector or organisation’s activities.


It may come as no surprise to learn that the rapidly growing new-kid-on-the-block Deliveroo is continuing to ‘disrupt’ the home-dining sector… not only for restaurants, and take-aways but also for supermarkets that are seeing an impact on their sales too. Indeed you may be familiar with the Marks & Spencer ‘Dine In’ and Waitrose ‘Dine For 2’ promotions created as one answer to the growing home-delivery take-away sector.

Deliveroo is developing ‘Deliveroo Editions‘ a delivery-kitchen concept which comprises a hub of small ‘pop-up’ delivery-only kitchens available to aspiring entrepreneurs and restaurants wishing to provide new cuisines in locations where people are, but restaurants aren’t.

When researching this further I discovered Deliveroo are also helping kitchens to set up ‘Virtual Restaurants‘, thus enabling the set-up of “delivery-only sidelines” which aid brand development. This means restaurant entrepreneurs can create new brands out of existing kitchens without the need for expensive new premises, enabling restaurants to trial ideas for new restaurants and take away concepts.

It will be interesting to see whether more hotels also get on this bandwagon. Hotel restaurants often have considerable spare capacity in their large kitchens and the necessary skilled staff, giving them all the facilities and resources they need to establish a new take-away brand to sit alongside their existing catering activity.


Of course there is more to succeeding in growing a business than simply having the facilities, staff and distribution channels. It is also important to market the new business as widely as possible, and to build customer loyalty fast.

With more competition in the take-away and home delivery market it is important to create a distinctive brand and positive reputation, ‘surprising and delighting‘ customers and developing positive word of mouth promotion.

Personalised Chocolates & Confectionery have a great role to play here. Our customers large and small are benefiting from using the ‘edible advertising’ opportunity offered by personalised Chocolates, Fruit Sweets, Mints, Salted-Caramel Fudge Mint Humbugs, Chocolate-coated Coffee Beans, Jelly Beans and other candy.

Our range of individually wrapped Chocolates & Sweets can carry messaging for thanking customers, giving special discounts, encouraging customers to connect on Social Media, announcing new products and menus and, of course, promoting services such as take-away, home delivery and outside catering.

If you don’t already use personalised Neapolitan Chocolates, mini-bar Petit Chocolates or Sweets to promote your business or organisation and build loyalty there are many reasons to do so, as I have discussed in other blogs, not least:

  • the perceived added value and positive response a customer will feel on receiving delicious chocolate and sweet gifts from you;
  • the opportunity to use the messaging to encourage and incentivise customers to use your products or services again;
  • encouraging customers to give word-of-mouth recommendation and endorsement to friends and family.

If you do already stock our products and regularly give them out to customers with the bill, take-away or with refreshment, or in your reception, during conferences or trade shows… consider ordering for one-off special events and promotions such as celebrations, product and service launches etc, with unique messaging for that particular occasion.

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, 2 May 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 I will explore the opportunities offered by outside catering.]

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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