It has been an immensely challenging and uncertain time for the hospitality industry over the last few months. As F&B brands closed their doors back in March and scrambled to adapt to the changing environment, we were busy looking for a way to help.
At Double Up, we specialise in working with F&B brands. After the government forced restaurants, kitchens and shops to close, many had to rely on digital deliveries & sales rather than instore footfall, with digital marketing playing a key role in attracting customers.
During the pandemic, we made the decision to offer our social media and digital marketing advice to any struggling F&B brand, free of charge.
As Double Up Social founder, Mark Smith explains;
“We’re all human, and what’s the point in doing what we do if we can’t help others in their time of need. I’ve grown up in the hospitality industry and know that it can be stressful enough at the best of times, so if you’re able to offer your skillset to someone who needs it, now is the time to do it.”
The response was overwhelming. Through information-packed phone-call sessions and email conversations, we successfully completed almost 40 hours of free help to hospitality businesses at risk of closure. “In late March alone, I think we spoke to over 50 F&B brands in need of our help. Each of our pro-bono consultation calls were intensive 1-on-1 classes, which allowed us to tailor our advice directly to their business and the circumstances they were in.” Mark explains.
Whether these brands needed help with paid ad management or harnessing their social in a time of crisis, we wanted to help. Some brands were also in dire need of new high-quality photography to help in their marketing efforts. Where needed, we also helped these brands by photographing & styling their products to further entice their new digital audiences.
Understandably, we found that many of our clients had been forced to completely overhaul their operations overnight. So, we worked with them to adapt their marketing efforts to suit this change. This was paramount for Rana Roushdi Righton and The Gluten Free Bakery:
“The reason I wanted the call was because overnight our business had to switch from focus from food service to retail customers through our e-commerce site, overnight. Your advice was so valuable in looking at simple and free ways to help target customers through Facebook and other social media. Thank you!”
During the most stressful period in early April, we also offered free hour-long Facebook Ad Classes to help business owners kickstart their digital marketing and PPC strategies. Once again, on a 1-on-1 basis, we ran through the business objectives of their marketing and advised on the social media platform that would be best for them, followed by a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up ads on their retrospective platforms. We also added in some secret tips that we use to get a good Return on Ad Spend.
Founder of Belgrove Rum, Edmund Wood, was new to Facebook ads:
"I’d heard they were great for getting your brand out there and finding new customers - but how to actually go about it, from crafting the right copy to selecting the right audience was all new to me. When you look online for Facebook Ads Manager tutorials you see screenshots that look like something from the stock exchange; columns of numbers, and you don’t know whether they’re impressive results or not. So, I needed it demystifying, and that’s exactly what Double Up did. Super helpful, walks you through it, you get to know how it all works, and you can put some money in to ads knowing it’s being well spent.”
Another standout brand was GOOD KOFFEE, led by Chris Crocker. For Chris:
“As a solo founder its presented huge challenges taking on board the many aspects of launching and running GOOD KOFFEE. More recently keen to dip my toe into the mechanics of paid advertising… it was great to get an insight into how I might be able to tackle any marketing campaigns and use a budget more wisely.”
We were humbled by the support and awareness given surrounding out free initiative, being highlighted by publications such as Restaurant News Magazine, BBC Radio and Metro.
“At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat. It’s about understanding and appreciating that your particular skillset could prove invaluable to a small business during this difficult time. With the news that 40% of restaurants and 1 in 7 pubs were at the risk of permanent closure, we knew we had to help.” - Mark Smith.