The new concept at The Place was first started in 2012 after the hotel spotted a gap in the lunchtime market. The takeaway service has evolved since and become very popular, having a surprising effect on the hotel’s food and beverage revenue.
Under the new concept sales of takeaway units rose by 395 per cent between the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. Sales are continuing to increase, with a 28 per cent rise in unit sales in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first quarter of 2013. They have already sold 2648 units this year.
The restaurant’s concept
The Place aims to offer its customers takeaway dishes that are a little different, focusing on offering value for money while offering fresh, seasonal ingredients, 60 per cent of which are organic. The restaurant is presented as a market deli, with guests able to buy traditional meats and cheeses, salads, and ‘hot boxes’ that they can tailor to suit their personal preference.
Food and Beverage Manager for The Place Kostas Vais said: “The new concept and branding for The Place is quite simple: we offer fresh, organic and seasonal salads and hot food for Londoners and in-house guests wanting to have a take-away or eat-in lunch with delicious, good value dishes.
“Entering The Place will feel like shopping in a deli or a market with the ability to build an individual salad or hot box option. We want our diners and in-house guests to have a great choice when it comes to lunch time, even if they come for the take-away experience.”
The deli has a grill on every lunch, with offerings such as king prawns, rump and sirloin steak, fresh fish, chicken and paella that can go in the hot boxes. Prices range from £1.50 for take away porridge and
individual tapas to £10.00 for a full hot box.
Marketing and PR manager for the Melia White House Hotel Karla Pearce said: “There’s a lot of competition for lunchtime trade, but we did market research around the area when we were planning the concept. The first thing consumers said was that they wanted to be able to eat something hot, because there are so many sandwich options already available. So we do the hot boxes to appeal to the customers.”
Marketing The Place
The concept for The Place was entirely created by the staff at the hotel themselves, and offers an interesting alternative to outsourcing the operation to a food and beverage franchise. This has allowed the hotel more freedom to make its own decisions when it comes to lunchtime, and makes it easy for them to accommodate lunches for business delegates that hold meetings at the hotel.
The team at the Melia White House Hotel have marketed The Place so it appeals to customers other than guests at the hotel. It was important to them to build a door from the restaurant to the street so
customers did not have to enter via the hotel, making it far easier to grab the public’s attention. They have also used a number of posters and boards to advertise the venue.
A number of promotional deals at The Place have contributed to its success, including a different offer every day of the week. These include unlimited buffet access for £12 on Wednesdays and a free dessert with every large salad or hotbox purchase on ‘Sweet Fridays’. Customers are also offered loyalty stamp cards to encourage them to return.