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Home deliveries

One of the most lucrative initiatives has been the rise of home delivery boxes, from veg/meat boxes to Michelin-starred ‘heat at home’ dinners. And with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the market seems to have kicked on again in recent weeks.

Some of the best chefs in the UK are on board, including Tommy Banks, whose £140 ‘oven-ready’ six-course Valentine’s taster menu sold out within days. The Telegraph summed it better than I could: “While Valentine’s Day is usually a scrum to book a table for two at a top restaurant, securing a delivery slot for a meal kit or takeaway is this year’s golden ticket.”

Premium takeaways and ‘heat at home’ dinners are proving to be a vital revenue stream during lockdown and it’ll be interesting to see how many chefs continue to offer some kind of delivery service even when restaurants are allowed to open again.

Drinks for two

It’s not just restaurants who are forced to close, of course, and many wet-led venues are also getting creative with home deliveries. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with cocktails for two?

One good example comes from Moriarty’s in my home town of Bury St Edmunds. The espresso and cocktail bar has put together a ‘Valentine’s Prohibition’ package – £60 for six cocktails in glass bottles or jars, popcorn and chocolate-dipped strawberries for two, delivered to local postcodes.

Making the most of merch

Thinking of those venues who are really thinking outside of the box, an article in the Guardian caught my eye last week: “From bakeries and pizzerias to breweries and roasteries, customers are supporting their favourite eateries during the pandemic by buying an astonishing amount of branded goods.”

Ellie Violet Bramley wrote about how restaurant merch has become the new band t-shirt, giving consumers the opportunity to show their allegiance to independent hipster venues and support struggling operators too. This new revenue stream has proved a lifeline to restaurants, coffee shops and pizzerias nationwide.

Vouchers for value

Finally, an increasing number of independent outlets in particular are urging people to buy gift vouchers to help improve cash flow during these challenging times. Buying vouchers now for the value of dinner, to be redeemed when these latest COVID restrictions are lifted, could mean the difference between your favourite restaurant paying the bills or not this month.

This fantastic video from those in Birmingham’s independent hospitality scene was launched before Christmas, but it remains a powerful message. I’m not the first to say it, but if you can afford it then please do support the hospitality industry.

SJ Middleton, Proactive Solutions

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