The Rebel Company
Who We Are

We’re a dynamic collective of strategists, creatives, digital wizards, food fanatics and industry geeks united by our passion for purpose-driven hospitality.

We build concepts and brands that connect businesses to their communities. For the free-spirited, the discerning and the curious.

What We Do
We find the sweet spot where strategy, design and data-driven marketing meets responsible business, talented people and great taste.
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What We Do

We find the sweet spot where strategy, design and data-driven marketing meets responsible business, talented people and great taste.

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Our services

Strategy

Brand Audit
Brand Strategy
Concept Development
Feasibility & Positioning
Investor Decks

Branding

Naming
Visual Identities
Website UX & Creative
Print, Packaging, Digital
Signage & Way-finding

Content

Photography
Video
Motion Graphics
Copywriting
Content Writing

Digital Marketing

Strategy & Content
Website & E-commerce
Paid Media
SEO & PPC
CRM

Development

Menu Development
Creative Direction
Project Management
Strategic Partnerships
Operations Planning

Current and previous clients

Hotels

Hilton Hotels
Marriott International
Moxy Hotels
Aloft Hotels
AC Hotels
Sheraton Hotels

Pubs & Bars

BrewDog
Draft House
Brew By Numbers
Smoky Tails
The Lark Company
 

Independents

Eats Thyme
Rosa’s Thai Cafés
Sager & Wilde
Burger & Lobster
Goodman
Zelman Meats
Gunpowder
Hide Restaurant
Workshop Coffee
MW Eat
Charlotte’s Group
Rudie’s Real Jerk

Members Clubs

Soho House
Conduit Club
Muthaiga Club
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Events & Catering

Really Useful Theatres
Camm & Hooper
Bennett Hay

DTC

Tula Food
Kurami
 
1 Rosas
Case Study
Rosa's Thai Cafés, UK
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Case Study

Rosa's Thai Cafés, UK

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We helped Rosa’s Thai Cafés to create an inspiring environment that makes people happy


Throughout the three years we worked together, we became almost a part of the team, working with the support office team collaboratively whilst delivering solutions to their current challenges, alongside products to deliver consistent improvement and innovation on a wide variety of projects.

Rosa’s always put culture and employee engagement ahead of anything else, and their defining belief that they exist “To Create An Inspiring Environment That Makes People Happy” became a yardstick with which to measure everything they did.

“Ed and his team at Rebel have done a fantastic job on all that has been asked of them. I cannot speak highly enough of them and would heartily recommend their services to others in the hospitality industry.”

Alex Moore, Founder and Chairman, Rosa’s Thai Café’s

4th floor restaurant
Case Study
The Conduit Club, Mayfair
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Case Study

The Conduit Club, Mayfair

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A Food and Drink Programme Championing Sustainability and Social Responsibility


The Conduit is a community of individuals passionate about social change, with world class food and drink at the heart of the experience.

Menus support the club’s wider goal. Promoting sustainability and social betterment. Engendering a better understanding of the trends, opportunities and forces shaping our world.

Michael was instrumental in developing the project from site acquisition through to the opening. Including supporting with raising a £35 million investment.

For the food & drink programme deliverables and results included -
1. The creative brief and vision for the project. Ensuring the club's ethos translated into the food and drink experiences across the club's 40,000 square feet.
2. Hiring the executive culinary team and collaborating on menu development
3. Travelling extensively to formalise direct supplier relationships
4. Securing drinks sponsorship of over £500,000

Michael introduced several forward-thinking initiatives. Including -
1. Eliminating single-use plastics by creating bespoke disposable products. And delivered in collaboration with Margent Farm and Cambridge University.
2. Engaging charities The Clink and Beyond Food Foundation. Creating meaningful employment for disenfranchised men and women in London.
3. Establishing a Guest Chef programme. Opening with a week-long pop-up by Massimo Bottura. Leading to an ongoing programme of engaging food and social impact-orientated events.

Vernon House 4
Case Study
Vernon House, Primrose Hill
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Case Study

Vernon House, Primrose Hill

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We helped Mount Capital to bring a collection of private studios to life in Primrose Hill

This project saw us working in the property sector for the first time as we were tasked with coming up with a brand strategy and visual identity for a lovingly refurbished row of Georgian townhouses in Primrose Hill, North London providing 64 beautifully appointed studio apartments alongside communal living areas.

We began with a tweaked version of our Roadshow product which involved extensive local area research to develop a narrative for the project; gaining an understanding of the various competitors across co-living, traditional serviced apartments and disruptive long stay brands; and working to define the target audiences for the property.

Our response was a brand that placed the local character, charm and heritage of this famous neighbourhood at the heart of the project, bringing stories from local businesses into the project to cement Vernon House at the heart of the local community, making sure residents feel at home and connected a soon as they arrive.

We developed a guest journey that bought in elements of a hotel experience but dialled these down into a subtle, unobtrusive way of connecting with, welcoming, and serving the residents without the feeling of a managed environment.

We also built vernonhouse.london

Ed Francis
Strategy Director
Paul McVey
Creative Director
Mike Pawlukiewicz
Design Director
Illustrations
Architects
Interior Design
Local Area Photography
Interior Photography
Group Shot 3 19
What We Believe
We must use our resources and voices to contribute to a more equitable world. We believe hospitality brands can pioneer better ways of living.
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What We Believe

We must use our resources and voices to contribute to a more equitable world. We believe hospitality brands can pioneer better ways of living.

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We’ll create a personalised manifesto for your project. Underpinning the work we do together and how your business can define and achieve purpose.


TEAMS

A commitment to the most inclusive employment, leadership and personal development principles and practices.

SUPPLIERS

From paper to parsnips. Ensuring all external relationships are win-win. And that you’re working with the best suppliers available.

NEIGHBOURS

Cementing your place at the heart of your community. Serving everyone’s needs and promoting loyalty and advocacy.

PLANET

Ensuring a positive impact on the world at large through considered and sustainable principles and practices.

work-from-homers
Article / Insights
Work From Homers are the New Millennials
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Article / Insights

Work From Homers are the New Millennials

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And Every Hospitality Business Wants a Piece of the Action


Pre-Covid, we could always guarantee that two topics would come up in meetings with clients. Instagram strategy and millennial audiences. Whilst of course these crucial considerations remain valid today, it’s attracting the #WFH crowd that’s top of everyone’s agenda. And rightfully so.

According to the ONS, in April 46.6% of people were doing at least some work from home. Rising to 57.2% in London. Some estimates put the real number at 60%. 26% of the UK workforce is planning to work from home permanently. So it’s clear that companies across all industries are going to be doing so in greater and greater numbers.

Whilst this is bad news for businesses in commercial areas, it presents an opportunity for others. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the hospitality sector.

Quality of Work Doesn’t Mean Quality of Life

A survey conducted by finder.com found that 65% of workers said they were more productive at home. Whilst 83% of employees said that they didn’t need to be in an office to be productive. Employers agreed, with two-thirds reporting increased productivity amongst their teams.

Whilst good news for companies, the negative effects of increased isolation, longer working hours and loneliness must not be overlooked. A recent CNBC article quoted someone as saying “[working from home] sounds great, but they missed the informal conversations. ‘I wake up, go to my computer and work all day, teleconferencing, but don’t ever talk to people or see people’. One of the big things I heard was that ‘I miss human contact with co-workers’.” Nearly a quarter of remote workers also admitted to struggling to switch off when working from home.

With an “always-on” working culture already a part of our lives, the decisions companies of all shapes and sizes make over the coming months will be crucial to the wellbeing of their people. Not to mention the productivity of their organisations. Maybe even the success of their businesses.

Whatever happens, we must remember that the transition to flexible working won’t happen automatically. The litmus test for companies will be maintaining consistency and productivity whilst tailoring their policies to suit a variety of individual wants and needs. Fostering a culture of openness to further support employees will be central to success.

And for hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes, this enormous market is ready and waiting to be offered solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our time. And to the largest shift in how the world works in a generation.

Here are some great examples of how businesses across hospitality have adapted to cater to this audience. Considering a number of models for how companies and their teams elect to work.

1. Flexible Spaces for Neighbourhood Working

The future is bright for businesses catering to the growing number of work-from-homers. Those looking for an alternative to their spare room or kitchen table. Whether for a few hours a day or a couple of days a week. In a destination neighbourhood that reconnects them to the world, or somewhere closer to home.

Hotels including The Stafford in St James are offering their rooms and suites to those looking for a peaceful and productive space to work. However, with rates for suites starting at £395/day - including a two-course lunch - it’s not exactly within reach of the average displaced white-collar worker. And stateside, hotel day-let booking platform Day Use is also getting in on the action. Connecting hotel rooms with local #WFH professionals in New York City including at more accessible prices.

Whether the temptations of a nap in a comfy bed, a long bath, and a day’s Netflix and chill can be overcome remain to be seen. But needless to say, we’ll be watching this all very closely.

Back in our neck of the woods and we’re excited to check out The Tramshed Project on Shoreditch’s Rivington Street. The site has relaunched as “an interdisciplinary food and working space” that “is built to outlast the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic”. With Street Feast founder Dominic-Cools Lartigue at the helm, and opening collaborations from Andrew Clarke, Zoe Adjonyoh, and James Cochran we’re confident the food will live up to expectations.

2. Working Weekenders

More working from home inevitably means more zoom calls, less movement, and less real-life interaction. Forward-thinking businesses know this and have stepped up to the plate. Offering some great solutions that combine time for work, rest, and play in one fell swoop.

Recently awarded The Times Hotel of the Year Birch give you a Sunday night stay on the house when booking in for Friday and Saturday. Guests are encouraged to “come early and leave late”. And with more spaces and activities than anyone could feasibly do of a weekend, the thought of a wellness-focused weekend sandwiched between two days of working from the rural idyl is an appealing proposition.

(just please don’t use the word Rurban - rural/urban in case you were wondering)

3. Work from Anywhere

Ed’s summer in Mallorca has opened our eyes to the possibilities that exist for individuals and teams to up-sticks and head for sunnier climbs. Doing so for regular stints without the need to join the global nomad brigade saying a permanent goodbye to city life. Judging by Ed’s recent interview by The Guardian, we’re not alone.

US co-living brand Outsite is a great example of a business looking to cater to this inevitably high-growth sector. Offering rooms and a ready-made community in a variety of downtown locations across Europe and the US. Specifically targeting remote workers and creatives.

4. The future of the office


So is the office as we know it a thing of the past? We were chatting to a large commercial developer recently who was buoyant about the future of occupancy in their buildings. However, they acknowledge that the makeup of spaces is likely to change.

Banks of desks are likely to make way for more meeting and workshop space; activities that remain challenging when done remotely. They predict this is likely to be accompanied by more ‘touch down’ flexible working spaces, lounges, hot desks, and improved food and drink offerings.

Mark Dixon, chief executive of IWG was quoted in this article as saying “This global crisis has dramatically changed the ways companies will work. In the new world of working post-Covid-19, offices will still be needed but there will be a greater requirement for more flexible space. Some of the big banks are thinking about it, Facebook – it’s pretty universal.”

A “hub and spoke” model is likely to emerge, where smaller satellite offices in suburbs and less urban locations feed a central office in more traditional commercial, city-centre hubs.

Could this also lead more corporate sectors into smaller, independent ‘micro-working’ spaces such as Dalston’s Snackbar? The east London café with two private studios to rent on the floors above. With their brilliant cafe menu delivered from the floor below, it’s easy to see how food and drink continue to be central to workspace offers and their appeal to potential tenants.

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Article / Beliefs
New Beginnings
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Article / Beliefs

New Beginnings

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Five perspectives that have informed our rebrand


Writing this feels deeply personal. Never has the tone of something felt as crucial as it does now. Balancing empathy and understanding with positivity and a belief that, in the end, we'll all be ok.

As Rebel turns five, we're just getting started. A conscious decision to down tools for six weeks has afforded us an opportunity to focus on us for the first time since launching in 2015. Something we’d never thought possible before the pandemic.

We've been brave in the changes we've made, because we knew that we had to find our footing and be the best version of ourselves. Giving us a chance at success whilst creating something we can be proud of. I know I'm not alone in feeling nervous about every move we make. This is a big moment for me, for us, and for the future of our businesses. Let's make sure we get it right.

As we reveal The Rebel Company to the world, here are five perspectives on how to move on from the events of the last few months.


1. Celebrate the journey, be bold and look forward

During our summer hiatus from projects, and as we worked on our own business and brand, it was fascinating to cast our minds back to 2015. Thinking about how much has changed and how much we've learnt. Revisiting the achievements that we've been most proud of.

It's so easy to let the significance and the impact of milestones pass you by. We're all so caught up in what's in front of us and what the future holds. Now more so than ever.

Basing a future strategy on understanding what's worked in the past is crucial. But it mustn't be at the expense of an objective view of how the world has changed around us.

And whilst there is so much uncertainty, there are also things that we can depend on. Hospitality will always be the backbone of so many people's lives. It's crucial we’re all confident in what we offer and that we tell the world about it in exactly the right way.

We've been so impressed by businesses that have formed new approaches to how they operate and communicate.

Staying true to their passions and letting their personalities shine through.

Forest Road Brewery

We particularly loved this east London brewery’s response to losing 60% of their revenue overnight. When "sales of keg beer just stopped". In this video, founder

Pete Brown talks about how they turned a small van into a mobile bar. Bringing beer to their loyal fans who could no longer get their hands on the product in traditional ways. And it was so successful, they’ve just bought a second van.

"If people can't go to the kegs. Why don't we bring the kegs to the people?

Eats Thyme, Paris

Our client, at recently launched Eats Thyme in Paris, has done a stellar job of sticking to the inspiration, heart and soul of their concept. Capturing the Lebanese spirit, personality and patriotism in new and inventive ways.

They knew they could introduce Parisians to a more authentic version of the nation's cuisine. Yet it would take a patient and more creative approach as they shifted focus to bringing the product to market. At a time when the market couldn't easily come to them.

When the Beirut tragedy happened last month, they knew that the business could be a platform to raise awareness and funds for the disaster. Since then, much of their focus has been on supporting that cause.

Celebrating win-win relationships

At Rebel, we've realised that our best work has been built on win-win relationships with suppliers and partners. Working on projects that go above and beyond making money.

We're now placing a 'purpose manifesto' at the heart of each project. Giving us all something to be proud of and to underpin a strategy that's built for success. Our new brand reflects all this, whilst presenting a confident and bold approach to ensuring future wins. We really hope you like it.


2. Values and principles are the foundations of change

Uncovering and defining your organisation's purpose and using this to define a strategy is great. But this must be built on an honest appraisal of why things matter to you. As an individual, a leader, a team or across a business.

If we're aware of the positives that have defined past success, we can be more confident in the changes that we make to our businesses. Leading with principles ensures decisions are grounded in an approach unified by shared values. If things don't work out, we can accept this together and try something else. We'll always have stability in some form. Even in an ever-changing world.

Warrens On The Pass

Over the past ten years, farmers turned butchers Phillip Warren and Sons had made a name for themselves. Supplying their Cornish grass-fed meats to some of the best restaurants in the UK. Working hard to support their customers, understanding that they win when the restaurants do.

Launching Warrens On The Pass, they made a point of linking their products to the restaurants they were originally produced for. Meaning customers could order items intended for their favourite restaurants at home.

As legendary London restaurant The Ledbury announced it was permanently closing, Warrens continued their legacy by selling their bespoke products online. While short-ribs, pork shoulders and briskets intended for Shoreditch favourite Smokestak were being slow-cooked and barbecued in gardens across town.

With restaurants now open, Warrens continue to sell directly to customers. Such has been the success of the initiative.

The Conduit Club

Looking to past examples of taking a values and principle-based approach to work. Our new partner Michael worked on the development of The Conduit
in Mayfair.

The project was an excellent example of a business placing purpose at the heart of what they do. Key initiatives included a progressive approach to hiring with London based charity partners The Clink and Beyond Food Foundation. The creation of bespoke hemp-based products, alongside Margent Farm and Cambridge University (Centre for Natural Material Innovation), was part of a drive to reduce single-use plastic.

The building centred on cutting edge sustainable technology coupled with diverse, non-Europe centric art pieces. All within a members club in Mayfair, and without sacrificing any of the now-expected luxury components one would expect from this type of business.

Defining our own values and making them stick

As part of our rebrand, we revisited everything Rebel was about. Documenting our values and making them available for clients to see was a no brainer. As was sharing our Collective Commandments with the world. It's our commitment to being jointly responsible for everything we do.

Whether a freelancer, an employee, a supplier or a client. Great things happen when we welcome and support people who share our ethics and desire to use our voices and influence to make a real difference.


3. Live and work partly in the service of others

Only time will tell whether the world will go back to its old ways. But we live in hope that there will be at least an acceleration in businesses and individuals adopting a more responsible approach to what they do.

And discussed in previous posts and on the final webinar in the Two Eds Are Better Than One series, we have both an opportunity and a duty to think about the impact we have on others' lives. Never have fairness and equality mattered so much.

There are better ways of living and most of us have had a chance to refocus over previous months. Engaging in practices and habits that have the potential to change the way we interact with the world around us.

Rethink Food

It's been incredible to see how Daniel Humm and the team at Eleven Madison Park have risen to the challenge. Using their rethink food initiative to reach thousands of individuals and families living in food poverty in New York. The initiative was so successful that a recent partnership with Dominique Crenn saw the launch of the scheme on the West Coast too.

Now on our side of the pond. Daniel has launched a similar initiative with the NHS. This time at his London restaurant, Davies and Brook at Mayfair's Claridges hotel.

Genuine Community Development

Early this year we completed work on Vernon House for developer Mount Capital. We were impressed by their uber-considered approach. Both in Primrose Hill and at their Pragovka development in Prague.

It was great to see how supportive of the local communities they are. Particularly in Prague. Contributing to the continued growth of the artistic community currently living and creating within their development. Working with them rather than against them to evolve the scheme.

This is at odds with so much of the 'gentrification' we see. As communities are forced out to make way for 'progress' in the traditional sense.

The Rebel Foundation

The launch of our charitable foundation is planned for early next month. With the ongoing support of our clients and collaborators, we're excited by the prospect of continuing to change the lives of others. Giving the people we know the opportunity to do the same.

A shout out to all the clients who have contributed to our 1% match fund over the past 18 months. Your support has enabled us to get to launch and has already done so much for the young women we've been supporting in Mumbai.


4. Be your true self online

Since the beginning of lockdown, we've seen so many conflicting opinions and approaches when it comes to managing our lives online. As the world went digital, we were under pressure to do more. To say more.

With lives on hold, it seemed like social media was a release valve from the lockdown life but did it actually just increase our anxiety? We can’t help thinking that this may have just added pressure onto us as individuals. And as businesses, the misleading perspective that the way to win is through more content. This isn't the case.

We've come to believe in a less-is-more approach. Supported by being yourself and using your influence to bring a clear message. Being meaningful with everything you say and do.

An example from across the pond

New York-based friend of Rebel, Anna Polonsky has shown that the right campaigns can be hugely successful. Coming from the heart and engaging the right partners and peers at the same time. Her agency Polonsky & Friends have launched a successful US-wide initiative, Ask Chefs Anything. Whilst their apron collaboration with Bragard USA saw chefs including Thomas Keller getting behind the initiative, spurring nationwide sales with 100% of profits going to charity.

BrewDog goes from strength to strength

For the last 18 months, we've been working with the team at BrewDog to bring a consistent brand experience to the bars around the world. Handling their graphics work, menu design and signage as they've grown their estate.

Despite a well-publicised 'fight for survival' in March, the business doubled down. Staying connected with their fans whilst their bars remained closed. It’s clear that their continued success has been guaranteed by the way they've found their voice online. Their recent carbon negative commitment is admirable at a time when many businesses are unable to think long term.

Launching our digital marketing product

All this got us thinking. And we're delighted to announce that we've developed a content and digital marketing product. Created to support the strategy and design work we've loved delivering over the years. But also to support new and existing clients with identifying and connecting with their audiences online.

If you’d like to know more about how we’re helping businesses connect to their audiences online, please get in touch.

5. Embracing change and enjoying the ride

The next few months are going to define the future of hospitality. It's been upsetting to see so many casualties over the summer. No doubt there will be more.

What’s becoming clear is that our relationship with cities is likely to fundamentally change. We've been speaking to operators in neighbourhoods who are doing better than ever. Whilst our friends in hubs such as Soho continue to feel the effects of a workforce largely working from home. Of course, tourism is yet to recover in any meaningful way.

The success of the pedestrianisation of Soho to allow for al fresco dining will continue for as long as the weather permits. And the recently-launched “Take Put” campaign in Chinatown is another interesting initiative we’ll be keeping a close eye on. Jay Rayner certainly thinks it has legs.

Even a small permanent shift in the way we work is going to have a big impact on the fabric of city centre hospitality. Particularly those predicated on high footfall, daily custom and time-poor professionals.

But in the long run, opportunities abound for businesses that are positioned to take advantage of a redistribution of the professional population. Be it in cities, in the suburbs or further afield.

Is Co-living finally going to have its day?

Operators such as Bermondsey's Mason & Fifth are well placed to create professional communities in city neighbourhoods. If life 'on campus' results in a goodbye to the daily commute, there will undoubtedly be winners and losers.

Don’t forget to have a little fun

But we're confident that the industry will bounce back in one way or another. We're an enterprising bunch and it's been reassuring to see some irreverence as we continue to embrace collaborations. Both inside and outside of the industry.

We've loved the fun being had by Gizzie Erksine and Professor Green of late. As they continue to take their Giz and Green's "Monday Night Fakeaway" idea to new heights. Copyright and trademark infringement potential aside, it's nice to see this light-heartedness in times of great hardship.

In good company

For us, the next few months are about staying focused, positive and as relaxed as we can. Embracing the ability to work from anywhere and continuing our collaborative approach with partners around the world. To this end, a departure from 'agency' in favour of 'company' seemed like an apt way to solidify this approach. Because whatever we do, we're determined to be great to work with. And a good company in every sense of the word.

Testimonial

“You couldn’t find a nicer, more creative group of people to work with”

Gustaf Pilebjer
F&B Development Director, Europe, Marriott International