GETTING NEW STUFF OUT THERE IS EXCITING FOR A FOODSERVICE PROVIDER. BUT, TRADITIONALLY, TRIALLING NEW FOOD CONCEPTS AND BRINGING THEM TO THE TABLE HASN'T ALWAYS HAPPENED AS QUICKLY AS WE'D LIKE.
At Eurest we want the great ideas our chefs and food development teams come up with to be making mouths water as soon as we think they’re ready. So we created our Innovation Forum to give momentum to exploring those ideas and turning them into commercial realities — and the results are already turning heads and winning awards.
“Our challenge was — how to develop new offers and concepts at pace, with a robust structure to keep them moving through the system,” says Jon Siswick, Marketing Director. “The Innovation Forum was all about taking a new approach to innovation.”
“The top of the funnel is where we pool the concepts, insights and ideas that might have potential, as well as looking at some of the research around them. Ideas may spring from innovation we’ve seen on the high street or in the marketplace, or they may be a unique concept created within our Eurest team,” says Jon.
“We explore or develop the ideas in the middle of the funnel — for example, all recipes are tried and tested, marketing materials developed and we look at what kinds of customers the concepts will suit. Our chefs play a key role in this as do our commercial and business excellence teams — and we will involve suppliers and clients in the future too."
Before any product or concept is rolled out it must undergo rigorous testing by cross-sector culinary teams including our executive and regional chefs. Each concept has recipes and marketing materials developed ready to trial or introduce sector-wide.
“After that, the successful products or concepts that have survived the process are ready to roll out to our sites, and we begin creating marketing materials to support them. That’s what pops out of the end of the funnel — strong new concepts ready to go. We aim to bring ideas to life within around six weeks.”
We’re proud to say that Eurest won the 2013 Workplace Catering Solution Menu Innovation and Development (MIDAS) Award for the work surrounding the Innovation Forum. In particular, MIDAS commended Eurest’s pop-up menu platform and commitment to using customer insight when making the award.
Now the Innovation Forum is up and running, there’s no stopping it. Every two months it gathers together a variety of regional business knowledge and expertise to scope future projects. So as well as exploring innovation, the Forum also plays a key role in raising the bar and driving up standards — so Eurest customers can look forward to some big, bold flavours coming their way pretty soon.
What’s already through the funnel...
Mistura: Inspired by Ottolenghi, our vibrant gourmet salad has an ‘eclectic, Lebanese feel’.
Fish Market: A fresh, exciting way to promote fantastic fish recipes.
The Meatball Co: Sizzling meatballs big on flavour
Urban Dogs: A range of colourful, vibrant and flavoursome hotdogs using non-traditional toppers and sauces.
Street Food: The tastiest street foods from around the globe.