Business Darwinism for Local Food Entrepreneurs

Adapting to Survive the Covid-19 Crisis

In the past few days, as I was scrolling down my Insta feed 100 times per day as usual, I noticed something very interesting. Besides all the memes about toilet paper and all the stories summoning people to chill the f*** out, besides the Masterclass ads and all the ads for a various range of project management tools and growth hacking on Instagram experts, besides all this, I noticed what my local shops, restaurants, designers, concert halls, etc. were posting. And in this apocalyptical period, their aptitude to adapt in order to survive astounded me.

Please find below the first part dedicated to the food businesses: local restaurants and catering services

How do small businesses who used to heavily rely on their physical point of sale evolved in a contactless world?

The Golden Age of Wolt

Restaurants and catering services have quickly adapted to Covid-19 by listing their restaurant to food delivery platforms like Wolt and Foodora, in Helsinki. Those who were already registered have been pushing much more obviously their delivery platform. Green Hippo Café digital marketing rocks and I still can't tell if they're genuinely candid or if they are cynically smart but their Insta is usually as well fed as their customers.

Greenhippo café's strategy to survive during corona virus

Below, the smartest post about Corona virus and the frenzied toilet paper shopping I've seen so far.

El Rey smart strategy to counter covid-19 effect on its business

However El Rey Taqueria is ready to go the extra miles. They have just set up their own pick-up spot in the blink of an eye (in 4 days):

El Rey Helsinki offers a safe pick-up point 4 days after listing their restaurant in Wolt

From food to content production

As for people offering only catering service, I found that My Dear Kitchen's approach was very creative and versatile as she seems to align her strategy to online content producers (aka influencers, e.g Youtubers) with a Patreon page, a new podcast project and home delivery.

My Dear Kitchen plans to overcome Corona Virus with a business model similar to Youtubers

Distribution in the stores that will remain open anyway

Other catering services such as Rulla in Helsinki were not only offering free delivery, pushing the orders on Wolt and Foodora but have also created a lunch box now distributed in supermarket.

Rulla Catering has developed a lunch box for supermarket distribution

Gift card: Get paid now, deliver later

Chocolate being known to be a natural anti-depressant, it's a great timing for Pralina, a young brand of luxurious and home-made chocolate in Helsinki, to invite people to gift their friends and relatives. A really smart move to get some cash immediately even if the end-users want the product later. As the brand offers delivery, people can enjoy Petra's succulent chocolates right away or later!

Pralina chocolate promotes gift cards to cheer people up

In conclusion

These 2 types of local business have already showcased a pretty wide range of ideas, channels and business model variations which will hopefully be inspiring for some of you in a similar industry.

- Food delivery platform

- Free delivery offer

- Own pick-up point

- Online content production paired with crowd-funding/donation

- Productization (maybe this term is not the most relevant in this context but it'll do for now) and distribution in grocery stores

Quintessentially, what is the experience provided by a restaurant?

Since we can't experience the ambiance of a restaurant anymore, I'd be curious to know if some of them are using props to enrich the experience now limited to tasting the food. What are the quintessential components of the physical experience in a restaurant or a bar? The food/drinks, the decor and the service. If the food remains the same, the decor and the service need to be re-defined with very simple things such as:

- sharing a playlist on Spotify or Soundcloud

- adding cute cutlery or any table linen in recycled material

- selling branded goodies online (collection of tableware, candle holder, salt & pepper shakers, posters...)

- a "personal" note left with the food to tell us a bit about the concept of the restaurant, wish us to enjoy the meal and give further explanations about the food

- a follow-up email (the digital translation of the famous question every good waitress and waiter ask in the end: How was the food?)

To continue, the next post will be about retailers and their adaptive strategy to survive when we all have to practice social distancing.

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