People, people, people.

Engage your staff, treat them fairly and listen to what they care about. This is the only way you will create that unique culture within your stores which people will want to return to and enjoy. You will also retain great employees and make them own and care about what you do. This is exactly what the One Planet Living framework is all about.

Stand out from the crowd but don’t forget your heritage.

In a crowded market, with ever-demanding customers and social media opening up new levels of publicity, brands need to be relevant, be unique and evolve to meet the needs of their customers.

Whether it is focusing on high quality ingredients like Franco Manca, have an uncompromising sustainable ethos like Wahaca, building a next generation restaurant like Nando’s, or strengthening your delivery offer like Wagamama, brands need new ways to appeal to customers. As James Spragg, COO of the Casual Dining Group said, brands need to find new ways to grow and swim with the tide but never forget to nurture their heritage.

Be a brand people can trust.

This is all about customer loyalty. All demographics; whether it be families, couples, retirees or those tricky millennials that are blamed for most things, customers need to believe in what you are doing and trust you. Be sure you can trust your supply chain, your ethics, your staff policies and the way you operate.

But, in the dining sector, this is not just about food. It is about how you use water and energy, where your waste ends up and the materials you use to build your stores.

Last year Tom Tanner of the Sustainable Restaurant Association said: "A lot of people when they go out to eat like to know these things are being taken care of. They don't necessarily want to tuck into sustainability measures with a knife and fork."

This is absolutely the case, in fact whilst “sustainability” was not the theme of the conference, it was ingrained within all that was discussed; invest in people, don’t expand too quickly, address waste and be a brand customers can trust. Food for thought.

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Sian Cooke
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