Since the UK officially entered full lockdown on 23 March, the “appetite” for getting back into restaurants and pubs has been a consistently hot topic.
4 July welcomed back the F&B hospitality industry with socially distant arms, but the last few months have been a period of reflection for many businesses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, despite the doom and gloom, lockdown has in certain cases presented opportunities for operators to accelerate initiatives and become more agile in delivering their products and engaging with their customers.
In Crust We Trust
One of the businesses that has done just that is the Pizza Pilgrims, whose intuitive approach to taking on the lockdown has led to unexpected pizza deliveries to No 10 Downing Street and an audience with Boris Johnson himself!
Ordinarily operating 11 stores across London, founders Thom and James Elliot – like many restauranteurs – were faced with the frenzy of applying for government loans and putting 200 staff on furlough when lockdown hit. To keep the heart of the business beating, they resurrected an idea they had had early in their venture — if people can’t enjoy pizza out, why not let them make their own pizzas at home, nationwide?
Pizza by Post
Turning this idea into a reality, they developed Pizza in the Post, a £15 kit with ready-made dough and Italian ingredients dispatched in a pizza box. By repurposing their newest store opening in Victoria as a production centre, and temporarily morphing into an online sales venture using e-commerce site Shopify and couriers DPD, the business has delivered over 10,000 kits in two months!
Co-founder Thom says that the surprising level of demand has brought the brand closer to their customers, particularly through Instagram as budding home chefs have been able to share and have their DIY pizza efforts rated on the platform. The business itself has seen a huge response, with their Instagram following almost doubling to 59,000 over the lockdown period.
Welcome Back to Westminster
So, as their revenue stream returns as customers are welcomed back to physical stores for pizzas and good times, we asked Thom for his thoughts on what Westminster could do to support businesses re-opening.
“I think Westminster policy … has always been about keeping things in check and ensuring that businesses behave responsibly with the vast numbers of people they need to serve…
Westminster is likely to be the hardest hit London borough for footfall returning, so this mindset needs to flip on its head to being more supportive of businesses and helping them drum up trade – so relaxation of outside eating planning laws, responsible relaxation of licensing measures, just general flexibility in looking at ideas from businesses…
It will be a challenge – but it will be essential to getting Westminster back with all its amazing businesses intact.”
Certainly, food for thought!
What’s for lunch?