Colette isn’t your typical takeaway. With menu items including lobster bisque, gravadlax slices and bottles of wine costing upwards of £400, it serves an affluent clientele based around the venue’s Chelsea location.
Opening its doors in January 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the UK, Colette operated as a high-end deli, serving dishes in china bowls, which could be heated and enjoyed at home or enjoyed at within the classically elegant traiteur.
When the order for food operators to close came from the government, Colette reacted quickly. It established a safe environment for walk-up takeaways and set the wheels in motion to offer online ordering. This, they believed, held the answer to remaining open during the weeks and months to come.
Wanting a web–portal they could have full control of, and take pride in, they arranged a photo session which captured the food in its best light and made contact with QikServe. Colette’s Director of Operations, Noel Goddard, had previous experience of QikServe’s Preoday digital ordering platform from a past role and knew it would grant them the control missing in rival products.
It’s no exaggeration to say that online ordering has helped save Colette’s fledgling business; 25% of its custom is coming through the online portal and production has increased 300% since lockdown begun. In fact, the team is busier than it’s ever been.
To create awareness of the brand and digital service, the team has ploughed energy into through their social account, knowing that face-to-face marketing isn’t an option at this time, and has organised a leaflet drop in the area. The impact has been clear; in the last eight weeks Colette has gained more than 1000 fans on Instagram, doubling its pre-lockdown following.
Throughout lockdown, the brand has changed little; it’s focus remains on the promise of delivering nothing but the finest quality and freshest produce for its customers’ enjoyment. This is one reason it’s had to adapt parts of its menu; the supply chain is stretched, and food has been harder to come by. The chefs have had to be reactive to the ingredients they can get, and this means dishes are more seasonal. Naturally, difficulties in the supply chain are reflected in the rising price of ingredients being used, yet despite this, Colette has aimed to lower its price point. It’s only managed to do this because of the confidence it has from the order numbers coming in.
Mindful of local need, the deli, which has always sold high end groceries such as chutneys and sauces, has also added items including milk and bread to its extensive product list.
Two months into lockdown, Colette felt the time was right to extend its digital service with the launch of a mobile ordering app and delivery service, both of which are seeing great uptake from customers, existing and new.
Lockdown has brought Colette’s potential to the surface; the team has proven it can react quickly and has received incredibly positive feedback from users of the service. Despite all of the challenges it, and the rest of the industry has faced as a result of COVID-19, the quality of the food its chefs have been producing has remained well thought-out and has lived up to standard.
Once hospitality and social distancing rules have been relaxed, the brand expects to explore areas that weren’t a serious consideration beforehand. While it will continue to create beautiful food, designed around entertaining at home, it will look to expand that premium experience to include add-ons such as floral arrangements.
Further, Colette hopes to expand into a market where it had previously only dipped its toes –corporate hospitality. With corporations likely less willing to entertain out-of-office, the team will look to provide high-quality boardroom meals and private dining to businesses.
In their words:
“QikServe’s technology has helped keep our business alive, and more than that, grow it. All being well, we expect to come out of COVID-19 with a strong, loyal customer base and the confidence to explore fresh ideas and opportunities. Already, people are returning to Colette on a regular basis. We’ve had some customers order 15 times in just 8 weeks!
“In QikServe we’ve found the control we wanted from a solution; we can change menus in real-time, review customer data, amend branding and alter every detail, from delivery zones to the number of customers able to select each collection slot. No-one could ever say that this period has been easy, far from it, but we now know that Colette will survive and have the opportunity to serve customers both digitally, and traditionally again in the future.” – Noel Goddard, Director of Operations, Colette