Design thinking places the human at the centre of brand decisions and helps this brand stay ahead of the curve by driving innovation in a business environment.
I was quite proud of myself for blagging me and some mates a space at London’s best Sunday Roast restaurant.
In reality, someone didn’t turn up for their booking but it's not what I told myself at the time. We got in… purely based on my powers of persuasion!
Blacklock’s exclusive notoriety was only heightened as we edged our way down the stairs, with the excitement building; was it really London’s best Sunday Roast restaurant?
Sitting down at our table, the restaurant was abuzz with edgy-looking Londoners and Earth, Wind, and Fire playing the track September in the background. This was my kind of restaurant.
As the attentive staff offered the detail of the menu, I zoned out for a second or so as I saw what Blacklock was famous for, being delivered to the adjacent table. A mound of meat was delivered to a family of 6 who looked as amazed as me. I closed my jaw and realised that I missed the waiter’s debriefing.
I decided then and there that I was coming back. In the end, the food tasted as delicious as it smelled!
You probably get where I am going with this. I already bought into this brand before I had tried the thing that it's selling, the Sunday Roast.
What does a restaurant really sell?
Does a restaurant really sell food?
From the moment I encountered the brand, I already knew that it was a scarce and rare commodity which made me want it even more (damn them!). Moving down the stairs into the restaurant, I felt at ease with the aromas of the food mixed in with the wooden interior; and the sounds emanating from their Spotify playlist made me feel like I was on holiday. The staff were friendly and helpful yet slightly aloof, reinforcing that they’re busy… and they mean business.
Restaurants sell an experience.
Fast forward a couple of months, and they have been forced to close their doors for prolonged periods.
Design thinking challenge
How do you recreate an experience which made me buy it before I tried it… at home?
The short answer is you can’t...recreate it.
But you can design an at-home experience for patrons that matches Blacklock’s values though, and they have done a really good job of that!
The hypothesis of the home customer’s goals
One patron’s goals (me)
As a customer I want this experience to feel exclusive and well put-together. I also want that fun holiday feeling, so:
Feeling of exclusivity
Feeling of quality
That holiday feeling
Delicious high-quality food
After a long week at work, I want to kick back and enjoy something memorable and special, at home (because I can’t go anywhere else)
Where will patrons generally experience this
At home on a dining room table, homeware abound and perhaps some kids in the room next door watching a movie.
Blacklock’s solution for the at-home experience
The holiday experience
Nothing like a cocktail for get the holiday vibe going
We know you’ve had a tough week, let’s kick back. Can I offer you a cocktail to start?
Blacklock included a cocktail in their pack to get the patron going on their experience.
Let’s create a bit of ambience
Dim the lights if you can. We’ve included a candle in the pack and we suggest that you play the same tunes from our Spotify playlist.
Blacklock included a QR code for the user to launch their Spotify playlist
Let’s get down to the cooking
Here’s some ingredients direct from our chefs.
Blacklock prepared high quality ingredients in package that feels upmarket and exclusive
The seated restaurant experience
Blacklock provided menus, so their patrons feel the ambiance of the restaurant.
Perhaps there may also be an opportunity for sale of branded linen, cutlery, candles, and glassware.
My mate Dave, and his husband, want to order a meal for Valentine’s day but it’s “sold out”. The message : Blacklock is busy and they don't compromise on quality.
Is there a digital opportunity for Blacklock to further apply the same design thinking rules digitally ?
Currently, Blacklock sells meals online, and while the package the customer receives is excellent at bringing the Blacklock experience to the home, is there more that can be done digitally to achieve the exclusive high quality holiday-feeling goals?
Could Blacklock offer some kind of experience for the table? Perhaps something could be offered which is available only in the restaurant and aligns with their brand values? An AR experience of an actual Blacklock waiter, dancing 🕺🏽 ?
Could the patrons set up a voice assistant skill (Alexa or Google etc), barking an order on Wednesday to their assistant, “Tell Blacklock to order my steaks for Friday night”?
Do you need design thinking to supercharge your online experience?
With 2021 set to be the year of direct to consumer for food brands, consumers will be spoilt for choice.
So if you’ve already got your operational logistics nailed, don’t forget the importance of creating a memorable experience for your customers.
Not maintaining your brand during lockdown is akin to turning off the engines of a 747 mid-flight and watching it glide to the ground.
From consideration to purchase, from dining at home to the day after, are you using everything in your digital toolbox to boost real human connections and loyalty with your customers?
A human-centric approach towards problem-solving makes an effective bridge between brands and customers, especially now. If you need a hand in improving your digital brand experience, then drop us a line.
2021 is the year of direct to consumer for food brands.
(Please note that images may not be Blacklock products and are utilised for illustrative purposes)