Here at elior, we have a reputation for being big supporters of small businesses. with this in mind, over the past year, we have found a new and exciting way to scout out those suppliers who may have been under our radar.
We have been holding dragon's den-style half-day 'forums' where suppliers can come and pitch their products to the Elior team. This involves suppliers giving a 20 minute pitch, followed by a Q&A in true dragon-den style and give suppliers a chance to demonstrate their products and what they can bring to the table.
This new concept has been well-received and has provided a lot of benefits. By creating this simpler way for us to find new suppliers, stakeholders from across the company can see their options first hand. This means they are freer to choose which suppliers suit their clients needs. This unique scheme has also created a buzz within the business, with the forums taking a different shape and location each time.
Thanks to this initiative, our sites have some new, innovative products which are really hitting the spot with customers.
The story starts in New York in 2010 where Nadia Roden creates Lilly Lolly’s Ice Kitchen.
Cesar Roden spent that hot summer in NYC helping his aunt Nadia on what was the first gourmet ice lolly venture in the city.
The response from NYC was so great it made him think the business would flourish in the UK, as no one else was doing anything similar. In 2013 Cesar brought the idea to London and the Ice Kitchen is born.
It's been a great experience. It was quite a nerve wracking pitch situation, but that in itself is a good exercise for small business owners. I think it's a great opportunity for a food business, that Elior clients would most likely not of heard of to present their products in an effective way. It cuts down a lot of the red tape and bounced back emails that they might have faced and fast tracks the whole thing.
Our trial in work place type sites last year hasn't proved very successful. However, this has helped us understand our market better and realise back of house selling doesn't work for our products, even with good POS out front.. We have realised the only and best way to sell the impulse range is via a stand alone branded freezer. We are working to get these into some venue and attraction sites this year. I am sure these sites will be a success!
It has been a valuable experience, both in understanding more about the ice cream market as a whole, and understanding more about how contact catering works