2019 Menu Development Initiatives: Revolution Bars Group

2019 Menu Development Initiatives: Revolution Bars Group

Revolution Bars Group

Simon Dobson, director of food

Number of sites and employees:
Total sites for group is 78, of which 59 are under the Revolution brand and 19 are under the Revolución de Cuba brand; 3,200 employees

Major trends this year and implementation:
A certain move towards sharing and the increased demand for both high quality vegetarian and vegan dishes. The consumer is now also looking for real value and it is critical to ensure that both core pricing and value offers are pitched at the right level to maintain volume. We have taken a big step forward in the range of our offer this year. Our Revolución de Cuba brand has an already well-established reputation for a comprehensive ‘Tapas’ sharing component to the food offer and we have added some great vegan dishes recently. Meanwhile in our Revolution brand, we have recently implemented a new core offering that has over a-third either vegetarian or vegan dishes and over a-third is now also sharing in nature. This move has been well received by our customers and our mix is now really strong in these key areas of focus.

Biggest selling menu item(s) this year:
Our amazing burgers maintain favourite status in Revolution and ‘Tapas’ in Revolución de Cuba remain in strong growth.

Menu planning:
For menu development and price planning for 2019, it is important to be true to your brand but to ensure that the value is clear for your customers to see. We are looking to deliver a great offer for our customers throughout 2019, building on the solid platform that we now have in place. Involving staff and customers is a great area of opportunity to drive engagement and to ensure that the offer is the right one! In our case, many of our staff are our customers and they are certainly in our core customer demographic. We have a process in place to get a true cross-section of our business involved, helping to define and then develop our menus through a series of workshops, development and tasting sessions, right through to the final sign-off. Customer focus groups and creating opportunities to test ideas and discuss desires and preference are great tools that should be deployed on an ongoing basis through the development cycle.
We have clear signposting to our website where all allergens are up to date for our entire offering – this is the most efficient and safest route as we are able to monitor the data and ensure that it is always current and correct. Introducing printed collateral would only introduce risk and unnecessary cost, as it would soon be impossible to monitor which version was current at any given time out in the field. Operating safely is our number one concern and this method is the way to go.
There is obviously a question hanging in relation to Brexit and the potential impact on both cost and supply of goods and ingredients, and operators, of course, need to be mindful of the risks and potential pitfalls ahead. We have some great relationships with our supply chain partners and will continue to monitor events and communicate well with all of our stakeholders.

The use of the Cloud has been great for us; we have great EPOS which is integrated to stock – we can consequently access live data and receive excellent reporting. Screens in kitchens, EDI with our supply chain, and a range of smart solutions around social media and marketing all also feature in our business.

Takeaways and deliveries:
This is an area where we have had some success in the past but we do see this as a real opportunity to add volume moving forward. We are currently reviewing our options for both delivery and click & collect and expect to see some strong growth into 2019.

Growth occasion(s):
Brunch will stay strong; we have had some terrific success in Revolución de Cuba with both brunch and a pre-booked ‘Bottomless Brunch’ offer. We will evolve this as we believe there is an opportunity to refine this piece. We will also look to launch a broader brunch offer into our Revolution brand. As for new areas of growth, consumers are looking for more than just the average and the overall experience is key, with ‘competitive socialising’ at the forefront – I would certainly expect this to develop further in 2019.

Next year’s trends:
The consumers’ quest for value, healthier eating options and the move towards veganism, and an increased desire for food in a bowl such as buddha, ramen and taco bowls are likely to be strong.

Hear from all of the industry leaders we spoke to for 2019 Menu Development Initiatives in the December issue of Pub & Bar.