If you attend a wine tour or cocktail masterclass that revolves around a certain brand, would your loyalty to that brand be stronger? Probably. SME food and drink manufacturers are shifting toward a servitized approach and this is strengthening their customer relationships.
Restaurants, tours and taprooms are services increasingly being offered by SME food and drink manufacturers, as the shift to servitization in these businesses increases.
Distilleries, breweries, food manufacturers and wineries have all seen a move toward service-based business models. It makes sense. This encourages brand loyalty, enables access to new revenue streams and strengthens existing customer relationships.
The switch to service
This is the case at Fourpure Brewing Co in Bermondsey, which opens their taproom to the public. Forman’s Fishery in Stratford, which has a viewing gallery of the factory floor, a restaurant and an events space based onsite, and Battersea-based urban winery, Blackbook which offers wine tours and tastings to the public.
Sergio Verrillo, founder of Blackbook explained adding an avenue of tourism is the natural progressive step for a business like his.
“We want to see it [the business] expanding by adding tourism to it. We do bi-weekly tours right now – on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We want to make this a real destination for drinks and food. Our customers get to know what we offer and who we are,” he says.
South London-based brewery Fourpure, which was founded in 2013 by brothers Dan and Tom Lowe, has doubled both its workforce and revenue every year by providing London with high-quality craft beer.
Dan Lowe, CEO at Fourpure, told The Manufacturer on a visit last year: “We want to further invest in the hospitality side of the business, we are currently sat in the taproom which is open from noon every day, and it is reasonably busy in the week. The weekend is insane, the whole place is absolutely full. We have food vendors just outside too, it is like a mini festival every weekend. We want to make that bigger and better.”
Changing consumer demands
The conscious consumer demands more awareness surrounding their purchases. One-third of UK consumers now claim to be very concerned about issues regarding the origin of products.
Consumers want to understand the journey their products have taken, and offering these types of services would enable this. It is attractive for a customer to be able to explain just where the beer, wine or even smoked salmon they are consuming has been made.
It is a logical step for SME manufacturers within the food and drink sector to offer more services. As a highly competitive industry, businesses must differentiate themselves. Offering services that enable the consumer to have an increased awareness of a brand, fuels better relationships and this ultimately allows more revenue streams to be exploited.