WHAT IS BRITISH FOOD FORTNIGHT?
British Food Fortnight, organised by Love British Food, is a national food promotion now in its 13th year, which brings communities together to celebrate the best of British food and British food traditions. Every year, pubs, restaurants, tourism attractions, public sector restaurants and food-service organisations take part, all enjoying the commercial benefits that participation brings. Many of the largest food service organisations and major pub groups regularly run British promotions during the event.
CATERERS TO REAP THE BENEFITS
Held at the time when it is traditional to celebrate the Harvest, the Fortnight, for the second time, incorporates the Bring Home the Harvest campaign, offering even more scope for effective and imaginative promotions, with a harvest theme that resonates very well with customers.
Love British Food Founder, Alexia Robinson, says: “British food has become a competitive arena for the catering sector. Clients appreciate seeing British food highlighted on the menu, indeed they have come to expect it, simple as that. This year we have seen the launch of the Government’s Plan for Public Procurement and Hospital Food Plan, so with British food hot on the agenda for both private and public sector food service providers, the prize for those who source it and promote it, rather than pay lip service, will be huge.”
WHY SHOULD CATERERS TAKE PART?
During the 13 years that British Food Fortnight has been running, catering establishments taking part have proved that buying British is affordable, adds real value to profits and is a powerful way to differentiate themselves from the competition. The buzz of the national food promotion makes it an attractive time to experiment with new suppliers, explore alternative supply chains or, if you already source British, to shout about the fact that you do. Organisations from across the spectrum of caterers are taking part this year.
Cucina Restaurant’s owner and Managing Director Steve Quinn says: “British Food Fortnight ties in so well with our own drive to make school food the best it can be. We have some exciting initiatives planned for this year’s event” and Andy Jones, National Chair of the Hospital Caterers Association commented, “The two weeks are a great reminder for caterers and their suppliers that they should think about incorporating local and seasonal produce into their cooking.” The pub chain Whiting and Hammond will be taking part again:“Whiting and Hammond are proud supporters of British Food Fortnight and have been involved with the campaign for many years. Our company ethos is to offer fresh, locally sourced produce on our menus and participating in the Fortnight highlights all that is great about British cuisine. Our pubs always offer up something exciting that our guests thoroughly enjoy.”, as have Hallmark Care Homes: Hallmark Care Homes continue to take part in British Food Fortnight as it is an excellent way to celebrate the produce that can be sourced locally. Events continue throughout the year, however the Fortnight brings out the best in our chefs, and our residents have a great time – British seasonal food is an important part of daily life for older people.”
HOT TIPS FOR 2014:
Tried and tested tips on making British Food Fortnight work include:
- Make your establishment a harvest hub this autumn by entering British Food Fortnight’s Search for Community Harvest Heroes competition. Being run in conjunction with The Telegraph, Raymond Blanc is one of the judges and is offering a trip to his Heritage Garden for the winning group. A guaranteed route to publicity and a great way of engaging with your customers.
- Highlight British Food Fortnight using Union Jack flags, Love British Food posters and bunting in your premises.
- Organise a British food and drink or harvest related event, or two weeks of events – one for every day of the fortnight!
- If you already have British Food on your menu, use British Food Fortnight to shout about it to your existing and potential customers.
- If you do not already have British Food on your menu, British Food Fortnight is a great time to start. Either adapt your existing menu or create a special board focusing on British or local produce. Set yourself a target of at least five locally sourced dishes on your menu.
- Offer tasting menus and promotions to highlight new products and British products.
- Highlight British Food on your menu by naming producers rather than simply using the term “local” and then invite producers into your pub – sales of product offered for tastings can double when the producer is in-situ and customers increasingly respond to the personal touch!
- Use British Food Fortnight to increase Christmas bookings: pubs and restaurants offering special menus during the event report an increase in seasonal bookings as the Fortnight is an opportunity to give customers confidence in the quality of food they can expect.
- Use British Food Fortnight as a catalyst to make a permanent change to purchasing patterns. Why not develop a Chef’s special menu focusing on locally sourced produce? For example, a ‘Steak & Ale-of-the-Day Pie’ draws attention to the range of ales in the bar and a dish that uses a local cheese will stimulate interest in the cheese board.
- Think about keeping some of your British Food Fortnight dishes on throughout the rest of the year.
- Caterers and food service companies – involve your clients in the promotion. Many large organisations see British as an opportunity to promote healthy eating and sustainable sourcing to their employees. Ensure that the whole catering team knows about your British Food Fortnight menu promotion – the products and the suppliers – and encourage them to communicate this to customers while serving food.
- Tell your local newspaper and radio stations what you are doing. 90% of establishments seeking media coverage through British Food Fortnight achieve it.
- If you use social media, tag Love British Food in your posts and follow the activities on Twitter @LoveBritishFood, #HarvestFever, Facebook: Love-British-Food.
- Encourage your staff to have fun and to post harvest themed “selfies” online, tagging @LoveBritishFood and using the hashtag #HarvestFever.
WHO IS TAKING PART?
Caterers, restaurants and pubs, large and small, are taking part.
- Food service organisations include: British Food Fortnight sponsor ARAMARK, venue caterers Centreplate and Hallmark Care Homes.
- In the public sector, the Hospital Caterers Association, and school catering providers Cucina Restaurants are leading the way.
- In the pub and restaurant sector, participants include: Enterprise Inns, Casual Restaurants Ltd, Whiting & Hammond and Punch Taverns.
- National organisations including the National Trust, Country Markets and major Government initiatives including Red Tractor Assurance and the Potato Council are also supporting the Fortnight.
WHERE CAN CATERERS GET MORE INFORMATION?
Resources for caterers are available for download from www.lovebritishfood.co.uk. There is advice not just for the Fortnight but on everything caterers need to make British food a commercial success in their establishments: advice on sourcing, supplier contacts, case studies, tips for promoting your business in the media and sample regionalised menus and ideas for working with schools. Promotional materials including bunting, posters and shelf barkers can be downloaded here.
WHO IS BEHIND IT?
British Food Fortnight is sponsored by ARAMARK and a large family of organisations led by Centreplate, Enterprise Inns, Hallmark Care Homes, Cucina Restaurants and Whiting and Hammond. The Bring Home the Harvest Campaign is sponsored by Tesco Plc.