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
 
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
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.

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.

Rishim Sachdeva
Article / Insights
The (mostly) vegan kitchen helping London eat less meat
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Article / Insights

The (mostly) vegan kitchen helping London eat less meat

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Interview with chef and founder of Tendril Kitchen, Rishim Sachdeva

The early years

Rishim grew up in a large family where every meal was an occasion. Cooking with his mum at eleven or twelve, he was making full-blown dinners at thirteen. Realising at this early age that he was going to be a chef. “There’s nothing else I would even consider doing”.

He graduated with a hospitality and tourism degree from Oxford Brooks University (parental pressure over a passion for the classroom). Before moving to London to take a junior position at The Oak Room with Marco Pierre White.

“This was when I realised that this is what I want to do my whole life”.

Rishim has always been passionate about travel and exploration. And this comes through in his cooking. His food is inspired by many places and cultures but remains grounded in technique.

“At The Oak Room, I realised that French food really is the foundation. I spent the first six years of my career perfecting this.”

Becoming increasingly experimental and ready to explore his next challenge, Rishim set his sights on The Fat Duck. “I got rejected for a stage eighteen times”.

But he didn’t give up. “Applying was part of my monthly routine. I’d rework and improve my application and try again”. And two and a half years later his persistence paid off. Rishim was offered a six-month stage and two years later, a junior sous chef position.

Progressing through the ranks was an incredible experience for Rishim. Experimenting with ingredients and techniques on the one hand. Pursuing simplicity on the other.

The pursuit of simplicity

With a growing passion for being close to nature and understanding the seasons, a move was on the cards.

“I set about finding restaurants that were mastering that”.

Rishim joined the brigade at Almeida and worked there for two years. Including a few months under Robin Gill. The two hit it off and Rishim followed Robin to his first solo venture, The Dairy in Clapham, shortly after opening.

The death of Rishim’s mother prompted a return to India where he spent eight months discovering the country’s evolving culinary landscape. Having left the country at seventeen to pursue his career, he’d never known the restaurant industry there.

Returning to London to continue learning and developing his nascent personal cooking style, Rishim took the sous chef role under Nuno Mendes at Marylebone’s Chiltern Firehouse. Followed by a second stint at The Diary.

“We were playing with textures, flavours, and techniques. Watching Nuno create dishes is an experience in itself. A humble zucchini gets layers and layers of memories in a bite. I can still taste it and crave it."

Returning to his homeland

Rishim’s brief time in India had been on his mind. With so many brilliant restaurants opening in Delhi and Mumbai, he felt compelled to get a piece of the action.

“Going back to India was a complete culture shock! I’d never worked in the country. I was still figuring out my style but I knew that I wanted to work with the seasons and with local growers and producers”.

It was at this point that the vegan seed was sewn. “Until now, vegetables were always a second thought for me. The emphasis was always on meat, whilst vegetables were taken for granted.

“In India, 60% of the population is vegetarian so you can’t get away with second rate dishes. People started coming back for my vegetarian dishes. Even the meat-eaters”.

Rishim was executive chef at the multi-award-winning Olive Bar and Kitchen in the trendy neighborhood of Bandra, Mumbai. Owned by arguably the country’s most revered restaurateur, AD Singh, it was a brilliant platform to both showcase and refine his approach to cooking.

A hit with the discerning local audience and the media, Rishim won many awards, making a name for himself as one of the country’s most exciting chefs.

“The culinary genius behind the restaurant is sourcing organic produce from across the country, local artisan cheese, and working with techniques such as fermentation and preservation to extract unique flavours and textures.

“For blurring the boundaries between the traditional and modern, chef Sachdeva won the Johnnie Walker breakthrough chef of the year award” - Conde Nast Traveller

The decision to go vegan

In late 2018 Rishim was newly married and expecting his first child. Thinking long and hard about what he wanted his life to look like and where he wanted to settle. The couple made the decision to return to London and it was at this point that the idea for Tendril Kitchen was born.

Shortly after returning to London, the self-proclaimed ‘hardcore carnivore’ used Veganuary 2019 to challenge himself. “Can I create food that satisfies my cravings as a meat-eater whilst also giving me satisfaction as a chef?”

The answer was yes and he’s never looked back. Under the Tendril brand, Rishim hosted multiple supper clubs and catered to several private events. Also running a three-month pop-up close to his home in southwest London. And a second in Hackney for Veganuary 2020.

A bumpy ride

A meeting with the team from The Sun & 13 Cantons in October 2019 led to him being offered the opportunity to take a slot on the roster of emerging chefs at the pub. An established platform that has launched several successful chefs and restaurants. Including Asma Khan’s Darjeeling Express.

His residency was scheduled to launch in March. Just as the country was going into lockdown. He admits that 2020 has been a rough ride, but takes comfort in the fact that his food has been a hit.

Rishim has a growing collection of loyal clients who order Tendril's delivery boxes each week. And people from all walks of life have come through the door at “The Sun”. He’s excelled at converting the pub’s regulars, too.

“A couple of guys who were having a beer in the afternoon weren’t interested in vegan food. So I sent them some free stuff to try. And over the course of the next six hours as more of their friends joined, I ended up serving them 18 portions of the same dish”.

Overcoming adversity

Rishim is committed to changing the perception of vegan food. And to bring it to a wider audience in a fun and imaginative way.

But he’s all too aware of the stereotypes he faces as an Indian chef cooking non-Indian food. And how important it is to challenge this.

“The perception is that if it’s an Indian chef, it’s got to be Indian food. But I’ve never trained in an Indian kitchen. I may just about be able to knock up a curry at home, but that’s about it. I can’t cook Indian food.

“I feel like I have to get my sales pitch right in a way that British chefs don’t need to”.

And this extends to people in the industry too. “Junior chefs would come for interviews for Tendril and the first thing they say is that they don’t have experience cooking Indian food”.

Rishim relishes being part of the hospitality support system and is a great believer in the industry’s ability to evolve. And with the support he continues to receive from chefs including Robin and Nuno, he feels that things are changing.

What the future holds

There’s a certain synergy between Rishim’s desire to challenge these perceptions and his passion for challenging those of vegan food. “My cooking style isn’t bound by nationality. Vegan food is so flexible. It unites all my experience, influences, and the inspirations from my travels”.

Rishim is enthusiastic and positive about Tendril’s future. Despite the ongoing challenges that hospitality faces in the wake of the pandemic. Itching to get back into Soho, he’s keeping himself busy delivering meals three times a week to his growing number of fans.

And what’s next for the business when the residency at The Sun comes to an end in March? Rishim would rather not say. But whatever he has up his sleeve, his passion, and energy for what he does is as unfaltering as his modesty.

“At the end of the day, it’s just tasty food. I worked hard, learned from everyone around me, found what I liked, and built on it.”

After the government announced that London would come out of lockdown in tier two, the immediate future of the Christmas menu he’d been planning is uncertain. So it’s all eyes on the government’s review on December 16th.

Rishim is looking forward to launching his Veganuary menu next month in one way or another. Because after all, it’s the month that inspired him to create Tendril in the first place. And that’s certainly something to celebrate.

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Article / Insights
The year that changed the world
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Article / Insights

The year that changed the world

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Three things we learned in 2020

For many of us, December will be the damp squib that we all desperately hoped could be avoided. The government showing no signs of offering additional support. Unable to get their heads around hospitality.

With the revised tier system representing another kick in the teeth. And with insulting one time payments offered to pubs who remain closed. In many ways, it’s a continuation of the poor form we’ve seen all year. Undermining the positive actions such as the furlough scheme and VAT reduction.

With M&A activity in the sector being announced as frequently as the next CVA, the industry is in the midst of radical change. Its very viability in an increasingly unstable world is being pushed to its limits.

Whilst we can all be positive about a vaccine helping us return to some sense of normality. There does seem to be a disparity emerging between the enthusiasm and celebration beaming from the government. And the reality that the scientific community continue to reinforce. Even with a vaccine, we’re not going to be out of this for a while.

It’s been so encouraging to see restaurants such as KOL and Noble Rot Soho open to rave reviews. Filling up their reservation diaries in record time. And an early evening stroll around Soho on Friday proved that we’ll do anything to support our favourite restaurants. Even if that means sitting outside in the rain as temperatures plummet.

So what can we take from a year that has genuinely changed the world? Here are three things that we’ve observed and learnt throughout the most challenging time of our lives.

Living with Less

Overconsumption in just about every area of our lives poses the biggest threat to the planet. Whether taking unnecessary flights to unnecessary meetings, grabbing plastic-covered convenience food because we were too busy to care, or rewarding ourselves with a shopping spree.

We’ve been forced to revisit all this. Forced to find comfort in communicating online. And enjoying the simple pleasure of seeking out better produce and products with more ethical credentials.

The challenge will come when we’re faced with the temptation of going back to our old ways. Balancing this with what we now know about how much of a positive impact we can have when we really put our minds to it.

What’s been clear is that brands who stand for something above and beyond the pursuit of profit have fared better in the face of adversity. Seeing success through the genuine connections they’ve made - and continue to foster - with their audience. And this shift away from unquestioning consumerism is only going to continue.

Resilient Business Models

It’s been really interesting listening to business leaders describe how they’ve found strength and security in their businesses. In his recent appearance on James O’Brien’s Full Disclosure podcast, Tom Kerridge spoke openly about the robustness of his businesses. Putting this down to the freehold accommodation interests he has in Marlow and that he’s not allowed his TV work to take his focus away from running his restaurants.

We caught up with Chestnut Inns founder Philip Turner last week and he echoed this sentiment. Having a property portfolio that underpins their operations is clearly something which operators outside of cities see as a real benefit to their businesses.

But in urban areas where leaseholds still dominate, operators have taken to delivery and retail in the pursuit of revenue. And it’s clear that this continued diversification is going to be key to future success. Not just temporary endeavours to plug a gap. In this sense, the importance of really knowing your audience, what drives them, and how and where to reach them cannot be overstated.

Community over Competition

Great things happen when we work together. And we’ve seen this in spades throughout the pandemic. Up and down the supply chain, restaurants and suppliers have been working together to bring products and experiences into peoples homes. At times when we were starved of opportunities to support our favourite businesses.

We’ve seen education really become part of a brand’s marketing efforts. With everyone from the Rare Tea Company to Berry Brothers hosting virtual tastings and experiences to drive engagement. Building brand loyalty, and fostering a sense of community through learning.

We now look to a well-earned rest over Christmas and onwards to 2021. We see transparency, openness, honesty and genuine engagement as the driving factors for success.

Brands are going to need to work harder than ever to stand out from the crowd. To be heard over the ever-increasing noise online.

There may be a retraction in the size of the hospitality industry in the short and medium terms. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easier to reach and connect with your audience.

November Long Read Header Image
Article / Insights
Good landlords and agile concepts help independent hospitality bounce back
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Article / Insights

Good landlords and agile concepts help independent hospitality bounce back

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The future of the high street and how operators can meet returning demand

The uncertainty that’s bought the future of our industry and businesses into question is far from over.

With the furlough scheme now extended until March, conversations this month centred on rent as the central tenement to the survival of many hospitality businesses. And how accommodating many landlords have been.

The bounce-back is likely to look very different depending on where you are. And on the kind of trade businesses rely on.

So what do some of our friends from the sector think about how the tenant-landlord relationship will underpin growth and future trading? And what will hospitality need to do to withstand future uncertainty?

Read on to find out.


Landlords and tenants need to understand each other’s businesses

Camilla Topham of Distrkt hospitality property consultancy admitted that landlords have been on a steep learning curve over the last few months.

“Transactions have always been done at arm's length and restaurants have always been a bit of an alien. A lot of landlords have never fully understood them. Getting under the skin of how restaurants actually operate has been crucial.”

Alex Moore agrees but hasn’t had the same experience with some of the smaller landlords across his estate of brands. But he understands that they’re limited by their resources.

“The bigger landlords like Shaftesbury have been fantastic and supportive. They seem to have got their head around the economic reality of the situation. The other landlords who may only have one or two sites have been a lot more difficult to deal with. They haven’t had the ability to be more flexible.”

With both parties more invested in the other’s success, the conversation seems to be turning to creating win-win relationships. Acknowledging that the future needs to be faced together.

Camilla cites the Crown Estate’s incubator on Heddon Street - currently occupied by success story Fallow - as a great example of a landlord taking a personal, and longer-term view, on bringing talent into their estate.

Harry Badham from 22 Bishopsgate developer Axa, thinks it's all about driving value for tenants over strong-arming them into long, restrictive and punitive leases.

“I don’t mind if tenants want to sign a one year lease or a 20-year lease. To me the contract is not the valuable bit. The important bit is that tenants are getting value out of using the building.

“Landlords who rely on long leases from tenants like Debenhams are only fine until Debenhams can’t pay the rent. Then the lease is worth nothing. “Anyone who thinks a lease is a proxy for stable cash flow is going to be a loser. You’ve got to create a place, space, or asset where people are getting value out of using it.”

Camilla believes that fairer terms and better behaviour now will aid landlords in attracting the best new tenants in the future.

“From the operator’s point of view, they’re looking to take spaces with landlords that have behaved themselves and behaved well and transparently. Operators are concerned how their relationship with the landlord will fare if this kind of thing happens again.”


Turnover based rents may be here to stay

Opinion appears divided when it comes to fundamental changes to the types of deals that are done.

Alex believes “they [turnover based tents] were on the up anyway. That their acceptance has been accelerated and that they’re here to stay.

“They’re a fair mechanism for both operator and landlord. I don’t mind paying a landlord more if we’re making more. But I expect them to make less when we’re not doing so well.”

Camilla agreed that turnover only deals have been a hot topic recently, but feels their wholesale acceptance may not be a foregone conclusion.

“There are still rents being paid. And what we’re hearing from our clients is that we’re brokering fair deals. In good locations and good areas, there’s still demand.

“Landlords are looking at stepped rents, perhaps with a turnover-only period, or turnover set into a base rent. Most operators are happy to look at things on a stepped basis up to a base rent they’re happy within a few years’ time. The market has not completely fallen away.”

Camilla has seen strong interest from independent operators for a recently-marketed site on Soho’s Kingly Street. Arguing that thriving areas such as Borough “are stronger than they were before.”

Growth is however likely to remain slow into next year. With concerns over future lockdowns and increased disruption causing people to hold onto cash and back from making decisions.

Could turnover based rents also help push some accountability back on to developers and asset managers, should they fail to deliver the footfall they promised into their developments? A problem that many operators we know have faced in the past.


A changing city landscape

Harry remains buoyant about the future of The City and its high streets.

“I do think that people will come back en masse. It will just be an acceleration of the trends we saw before. Variable work patterns, elongated ‘peek time’ commutes, work based on personal preference or character. Or on a job role. We’ll see people choosing different ways to work.”

Whilst he acknowledges that this is likely to result in lower densities in buildings at any given time, he’s confident that demand for quality office space is going to continue to increase. With companies giving their employees compelling reasons to come together and into the office.

“People are going to be free to dictate the time they spend in the office. But they will [be compelled to do so] if they feel that it’s a great space and if they feel that they’re getting something out of it. Whether that’s learning, career progression, or whether it’s social interaction.”

With the future of work playing a crucial role in the future of hospitality, how will other areas fare differently?

Camilla highlights the inherent differences between key London neighbourhoods and the audiences that they serve.

“Canary Wharf and The City are going to take longer to get back on their feet. With some companies reporting that they’re not expecting to be back ‘in the office’ until June.

“A shift is going to need to happen in those locations for operators to be successful going forward. Traditionally inflexible companies and their employees would have been working at home for eighteen months at least. The likelihood is that this is going to continue to the point where there won’t ever be the same volumes of people.”

“Soho is different. It’s made up of much smaller, creative businesses. It’s much more dynamic. The theatre crowd is also incredibly powerful. The market may contract over the short term. But it will build and build again. No question. In fact, it may even be wilder!

“Somewhere like Covent Garden relies too heavily on tourism. Whilst CapCo have worked really hard to reintroduce Londoners to Covent Garden, and has done so brilliantly, the makeup of the space is predominantly tourists and it’s being felt now. Lagging behind places like Soho.”

Alex agrees that we may never see a return to the same quantity of restaurants in areas that cater predominantly to office workers. “I would argue that there would be fewer restaurants. Sadly. There will be fewer bums, but there will be fewer seats.”

And when it comes to residential neighbourhoods, he’s seen a fundamental shift in the makeup of the businesses he’s involved in.

“The locations in the middle of town are now being outperformed by places like Tooting or Clapham. The West End numbers have moved out to the suburbs and the numbers from the suburbs have moved into the West End.”


From surviving to thriving on the high street of the future

So what will hospitality businesses need to look like in order to succeed in the face of these changes? As we emerge from the pandemic and look toward a vaccine.

Camilla is certain that the demand is there. But that confidence really is everything.

“The Pizza Pilgrims guys said that ‘demand is like a coiled-up spring’. Once lockdown eases, the demand is there. And people do feel safer eating out. Even now in lockdown, the confidence is there.”

“Confidence really does drive everything and the uncertainty has been the biggest challenge.”

Agile, evolving concepts and businesses will be the winners as we face a new, uncertain future. With further unpredictable challenges likely to remain a part of our lives. At least in the short term.

Alex believes the fundamental makeup of hospitality businesses has changed for good.

“We’ve survived the last nine months by constantly tweaking the metrics”.

“They used to be quite straightforward. - 30% staff costs, rent, and rates shouldn’t be over 10%, head office costs should sit at 6%, delivery of between 20 and 30% [of revenue]. It’s all changed.

Success for Rosa’s Thai Cafés was very much down to the nature of the product.

“It’s the concepts with delivery-friendly offerings that will continue to thrive. 5% of our trade at Ceviche and Andina was delivery and those businesses, compared to Rosa’s, are struggling. Thai food and delivery is a match made in heaven.”

With on-demand delivery likely to be a key part of a high street business’ model moving forward, how will the explosion of in-home meal kits contribute to the continued success of operators?

Camilla thinks that “being able to tap into your favourite restaurants at home is amazing”.

“It’s here to stay and we’re now seeing loved local brands going nationwide, such is the demand for their food and the love of the brand.”

Alex is less certain.

“Meal kits at home - a lot of people are doing it now and it was a novelty before. Will then end up being around in five years? Will it ever fill the hole of the lost office worker? Let’s see.”

He predicts that cloud kitchens that evolve with tastes and trends, will be required to offset any future disruption to the viability of restaurants.

“[The fun and innovation will be in] collaboration. Restaurants with multiple cloud kitchens. Concepts which only exist virtually. On the front door, you’ve got your main brand, and in the kitchen, you’ve got 4 or 5 different operations running virtually. I think that’s going to be a big thing that we’re going to see a lot more of. And off the back of that, some of those businesses may end up turning into physical businesses.”

Harry sees a bright future in multi-use spaces, underpinned by good design, planning, and product. Catering to a tribe but for a variety of different uses and occasions.

“I do believe - and we’ve said this for a while - that we’ve got this concept of what used to be called ‘mixed-use city centres’. Often called 15-minute cities. Shops, offices, hotels, transport hubs all working together.

“Whereas what we’ve been seeing is a move to ‘multi-use’. A train is an office, a coffee shop is an office, but also an office can be a hotel. A hotel can be an office. The idea that spaces don’t have to be static.

“They can change hourly, daily, seasonally. But what’s important regardless is ‘good bones’. Good light, good air, good space. Allowing you to use the space in different ways.

From an operator's perspective, he thinks that “the winners will be the people who can leverage up.”

“Whether that’s using scale, innovation, technology, or sheer hard work. Those who can accept that life is going to be different and can react quickly."

“People wouldn’t have felt like they could go into a Hilton because they felt that was reserved for the people staying there. The Ace Hotel didn’t feel like you’re going into a hotel when you walked through a flower shop.”

“And a lot of that is psychology and human behaviour.” Breaking down barriers to find new ways of enticing people through your doors.


A boom for independent operators

Pent up demand is being felt across hospitality.

And landlords and asset managers will be looking for ways to entice people back into their buildings and developments. Marketing a return to work to their tenants’ employees.

Hospitality businesses will play a key role in making these trips worthwhile. Even cherished.

“Landlords have to keep marketing, and tempting people into their locations,” says Camilla. “Outdoor seating, bike racks, get people there and maintain that buzz.

“Kingly Court is a brilliant example - good vibe, good outside, covered seating. Nothing is ever going to take away from being at a restaurant.”

The inevitability of vacant sites will create opportunities to meet returning demand. Much of this will be driven by the launch of unburdened independent businesses. And existing operators who have remained agile throughout the pandemic.

Camilla thinks that “now is the time for the independents! Some, but not all, of the big casual dining brands, have been suffering a lot and they’re not as agile as the smaller operators”.

Harry is also confident that a returning workforce will be quick to flock back to their favourite venues. Whilst eager to try what launches in the market.

“[Before the second lockdown] offices were empty but the ground floor of The Ned was heaving. So people are coming in to meet other people. For no other reason [other than missing human interaction].

“If you’re going to meet people, you’ll do it in a more interesting environment. Even if it costs you a bit of money.”

“A lot of the themes we’re seeing are not new. City centres are hubs for people to meet rather than a workhouse for people to come into to sit at a desk.”

A good December’s trading is in no way going to compensate for the losses accrued this year. And the beginning of 2021 is going to be a bumpy ride.

But on the other side, opportunities abound for concepts and brands that are agile and multi-faceted. Those who embrace change. Serving diverse communities what they want, wherever they want it. Be that in dining rooms, at their desks, or at home.


If you enjoyed reading this please share with a friend. And do get in touch to let us know your thoughts.

Testimonial

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

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