Cateys 2021: Best Marketing Campaign Award: the Rick Stein Group

08 September 2021
Cateys 2021: Best Marketing Campaign Award: the Rick Stein Group

Sponsored by Bidfood

Many businesses launched into the ‘at home' market during the pandemic, but the judges were particularly impressed by how the Rick Stein Group developed a well thought-through marketing campaign that will be scalable post-pandemic, generated real benefits to the business and significantly leveraged their brand to engage a national audience.

Stein's at Home was launched in June 2020. Challenged with creating an offering as close as possible to the restaurant experience, the team came up with menu boxes of three courses for two people, made up of dishes usually found in the group's restaurants, with price points ranging from £40 for two people to £100.

The team quickly realised the project had more potential and reset objectives to achieve weekly sales of 2,000 units by December 2020. By using digital marketing to significantly expand reach beyond the group's existing database, as well as partnering with similar brands, the target was met in November.

The group appointed and briefed a new online marketing agency to promote brand awareness through a direct sales search advertising campaign to saturate the market, coinciding with the third lockdown in England when people would be stuck at home.

To reach a younger audience, the group invested heavily in paid social media, setting up campaigns to reach this target audience. Targeted influencer gifting and a PR campaign also ensured coverage and feedback, while the group's already engaged database was nurtured through new experiences and content including recipes, blogs and discounts. Partnerships enabled the brand to grow its database by 45% over the last year.

After reaching its initial objective, the board was willing to seriously invest in marketing to get the best return on marketing spend. For the first quarter of 2021, for every £1 spent on marketing, the campaign generated £10 in return.

During the third lockdown, the success of the campaign also allowed the group to keep 67% of its workforce working, who would have otherwise been furloughed. The success has also led to the creation of 43 new permanent roles across customer service, administration, kitchen, operations and marketing.

The numbers speak for themselves. Since launching, Stein's at Home has sold more than 110,000 boxes across the country and raised nearly £10,000 for charities, with videos and adverts garnering millions of views and impressions. Stein's at Home has also sold more than 2,000 subscriptions to date.

The success of this campaign has been a lifeline to the business, creating work in a time when redundancies and furlough were the only options for many, keeping suppliers in business and from wasting produce, and introducing new customers to the brand that geography would have otherwise prohibited.

What the judges said

"A great blueprint for both large and small restaurants going forward." - Diane Howarth

"They created a very well thought-through campaign in just two months of lockdown, which has generated real benefits to the business and established a whole new product that has real structure and can continue into the future. They acknowledge the concept of ‘meals at home' became very popular through the pandemic, but it is clear they stand out in this field." - Sue Williams

The shortlist

  • Barge East, London
  • Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants
  • Exclusive Collection
  • Incipio Group
  • National Association of Care Catering (NACC)
  • The Rick Stein Group

The judges

  • Jeremy Gibson, marketing director, Hospitality Action
  • Diane Howarth, managing director, Cottage in the Dales
  • Sue Williams, general manager, Whatley Manor
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