Do we need more steak holders?

Creating steak holders?
Creating steak holders?

Kitchenette , an innovative ‘kitchen incubator’ resource in London, have recently produced a report for Nesta highlighting the opportunities and pitfalls of developing catering enterprise. How to best to support and fund innovation in the sector?

A Steak in the Economy offers insights into how important catering and hospitality is, but the work Kitchenette does perhaps also highlights how under-nourished the imagination of the sector can be in developing new ideas and approaches to food entrepreneurship.

Download the report in pdf format here

The data evidenced in the report shows how perilous sustainability can be in the hospitality sector. The very high cost of retail property and high street outlets, combined with high levels of staff churn and shifting tastes in traditional market segments, means the five year survival rate for food based enterprise is dismally low in the U.K.

However, amidst the weight of tradition, this author would argue, continue some fantastic opportunities for a new, lightweight, agile and responsive approach.

Filling the local empty retail space with a pop-up cafe or restaurant? Read the case studies in the report to see how establishing ‘the minimum viable product’, a technology start-up concept, can help deliver innovation.

The report stresses the importance of social media in developing reputation, a customer base and as a lever in scaling enterprise. If everybody is a critic (…we have all eaten the greatest burger or falafel…)  use the technology to turn this to business advantage. Share the great reports of good food delivered with everyone.

When we network we like to eat and drink together. Low capital cost entry into a sector should be counterbalanced by an imaginative customer proposition. Food can be a binding agent across communities in a local social centre. Food can be a creative output for a young team, seeking confidence and skills as they explore the world and their own capabilities.

A while ago The Guardian ran a series of lengthy articles on the emergent USA street food movement. No lack of enterprise or quality was evident in the outlets reviewed.

Quality, food safety standards and a crisp, potent and telling business pitch are a given, whichever entry route to market the entrepreneurial spirit takes. Here’s to embracing the Kitchenette concept and to seeing social finance help create more steak holders!