If innovation and ingenuity are what it takes to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, then there are plenty of hospitality operators that will not only survive, but emerge stronger armed with a purpose and vision that has been catapulted years into the future.
Lauren Cassells, Head of Marketing at Revolution Bars Group, told us how the pandemic has accelerated a vision to bring the brand beyond the four walls of their physical location. This kind of thing is a big, long, winding project, but the pandemic gave rise to an industry of ‘testers’. Just give it a whirl, learn, improve. For Revolution, this testing saw them turning to one of the things they’re most well known for – their cocktail prowess.
‘We were doing live rum masterclasses…packaging up rum kits and posting them out. It was really successful and they sold out in minutes.’ Despite this initial success, Lauren goes on to explain the guests experience with purchasing was ‘a little clunky’.
‘We put two different cocktail kits live on Toggle, and within the weekend they were sold out – we couldn’t keep up with fulfilment!’
‘We were using a ticketing platform, but we needed something that could allow us to sell our cocktail at home kits. So we put two different cocktail kits live on Toggle, and within the weekend they were sold out – we couldn’t keep up with fulfilment!’
‘We had been asking ourselves all the questions big brands have to ask themselves in order to future proof, but these discussions were looking at 5 or 10 years into the future. Covid has put in a situation where we need to make decisions like that rapidly. We’ve been able to think faster.’
This shift towards hospitality business looking beyond their physical locations isn’t something temporary or superficial, Lauren thinks, but a kick start to a long term plan. ‘Bringing brands into peoples homes isn’t a new concept, people have been doing it a while’. We’re just fast forwarding that conversation.’
‘It’s becoming ever more expensive to be on the high street, and so there is a conversation about going beyond a bar brand into a lifestyle brand will become increasingly important – making cocktails at home, recipe books, buying our artwork…’
‘It won’t be business as usual – and that’s why online sales will become more important.’
We’ve got to ask, what about reopening plans?
‘We plan to open a handful of sites in early July. We’ve taken lots of things into consideration: size of building, location, number of tables, air flow through the building and a reopening a mix of food / drink / led locations. One thing we’ll look at is doing more in-bar collaborative events to utilise the space well. We have been a pretty late night high tempo business, so it won’t be business as usual – and that’s why online sales will become more important.’
Finally, a quick word on Toggle as a platform?
‘Pre-covid, I wouldn’t have been on the platforms, but now I’ve been left to it, and luckily it’s super easy to use.’
You can take a look at Revolution’s webshop here.