Customers are Key Workshop by Food Drink Devon

Event Date: 
April, 2019

Last month, Exeter Golf and Country Club hosted the first of our business workshops for 2019, welcoming guests with a delicious breakfast selection in the Mews.

We were joined by Susie Kevern (Pound Lane Business Accounting) who played host for the workshop along with Barbara King (Chair of Food Drink Devon & Managing Director of The Shops at Dartington), Rich Evans (Digital Marketer and Specialist Consultant for Cooper Golding) and Hayley Reynolds (Co-Director of Raw Food & Drink PR and South West Wine School).

After indulging in breakfast, Susie explained what guests would be taking away from the workshop. She asked them to consider business plans and to discuss with each other business goals as passionate, Devon-based, food and drink business.

Barbara followed by sharing her knowledge on the importance of having ambience within your shop, restaurant, hotel etc. Having great products and delicious food isn’t enough. The environment has to be clean, tidy and appealing and the customer service exemplary.

Barbara then talked about USPs – Unique Selling Points. What makes your business special and stand out from the coffee shop three doors up? Let your customers know about the local produce used in your recipes, talk to them about your menu, publicise your awards and acknowledge the customer walking through your door with a smile, even if you’re busy. 

Rich asked attendees to consider the more complicated area of data, otherwise known as the nitty-gritty. This can be collected in many ways via websites such as Google Analytics, Restaurant Diary and Facebook. The trick is to understand what the data is telling you about your customers and learn how to use it to your advantage.

Rich also delved into customer feedback and encouraged attendees to ask happy customers what was great about their experience. TripAdvisor is a great place for your avid followers and past guests to give their positive feedback, helping you to boost your business up the rankings. However, it can also bring unwanted negative ones too, so use this as your chance to reply. Allow researching customers to see that you are passionate about your business and worth the visit.

The topic of the workshop was ‘Customers are Key’ and one way to reach your preferred target audience is through PR activity. Hayley explained about the wonderful world of PR and what it entails, stressing the significance of identifying your target audience. By defining this, you will be able to focus your efforts rather than wasting valuable time and money. There are many ways to reach prospective customers. Do your research into newspapers, magazines, websites, radios, podcasts and social influencers to work out to whom you would like to put your message across and, most importantly, to see what kind of press releases and brands these publications are featuring. Are they relevant to your brand?

To round up the workshop, Susie concluded that it is really important to be proud of your independence, locality and provenance but principally, doing simple things well and to a high standard is fundamental to success. Customers are certainly key in this industry so do everything in your power to keep them happy.


The Food and Drink Experts’ Top Tips:

Susie Kevern: Whether you are hoping to gain funding or not, a business plan is important to any business looking to succeed.

Barbara King: Give your customers an unexpected experience that they haven’t had anywhere else.

Find inspiration and ideas by visiting as many other venues and places as possible.

Rich Evans: Every business should be using data to make decisions within their business, whether that’s to plan your next event or to make changes to your menu.

Hayley Reynolds: Before you begin any PR activity, define your target audience and get to know the publications and platforms available – read them and understand what kind of businesses are being featured within. 

Stay consistent and keep putting your brand message out there.


For images of the workshop, click here.

A big thank you to the speakers for sharing their wealth of knowledge and to all who attended this workshop.

Unlike most business workshops, Food Drink Devon’s are relaxed and personal. This means all attendees get lots of opportunities to ask questions to the experts and each other.

The next workshop is on Thursday 25th April 2019 from 9.30am at the Exeter Golf and Country Club. This will be the second part of the two-part series, Branding Unwrapped. This will focus on Social Media, Digital Marketing, PR and Website Design. This workshop is open to everyone, not just those who attended part one.