Food Retail Workshop

Timing the supermarket sweep

Pasta sauce maker Mr Organic is part of a wave of startup food and drink brands biding their time before they agree on a supermarket deal. ‘The plan is to make organic food more accessible,’ says Kostas Papakostas, co-founder of grocery brand Mr Organic. He says supermarkets are an inevitable step towards reaching that goal. The only question for Papakostas …


Food Workshop

How to get expert advice for your startup

With no experience in the food and drinks industry, Tea Rex’s founder landed a veteran to help get his tea brand off the ground. Like many a startup founder, Andrew Walker was left scratching his head when it came to several technical aspects of launching his fruit tea startup. How to get stocked in a supermarket? What’s the right price? …



How Jack Sheldon turned his free Jack’s Flight Club newsletter into a money-making business

Turning a digital hobby into a money-making business has flummoxed many. Jack’s Flight Club has made it work by offering paid-for supplements on top of a free service. Jack Sheldon has a talent for finding the cheapest flights. Thousands of his newsletter subscribers would attest he’s better at it than even famous sites like Skyscanner and Expedia. Sheldon is a …


Retail Workshop

Will chatbots take over customer service?

The benefits and limitations of chatbots are a major talking point in retail. Retailers have been using rudimentary artificial intelligence software to replicate the kind of human interactions that people are used to having over the phone to a call centre. Facebook in particular has been shouting about how chatbots are a game-changer for customer service, and is already integrating …


Retail Workshop

Online glasses brands are ditching chatbots for social media

Ace and Tate’s flirtation with Facebook, Snapchat and Skype is emblematic of how companies everywhere are turning to social media for customer service and sales. Selling glasses in shops isn’t easy. People get overwhelmed by the choice, and frustrated by trying on lots of frames. Doing it online is even harder. Amsterdam-based Ace and Tate has thrown the digital kitchen …



The Bonneville: one cocktail bar’s story of surviving a Twitterstorm

Just after it opened in Hackney, owners of The Bonneville feared they’d lose everything over an insensitive tweet. In the summer of 2014, another cocktail bar opened in Hackney. It shouldn’t have been anything newsworthy or remarkable. But, on its opening weekend, a man stumbled into the bar after being stabbed nearby. It was a stark reminder that the nickname …


Food Workshop

Meet the motorway service stations that are embracing artisan food

Retail has become a cash cow for motorway service stations. Westmorland Family brought in £92m last year from just two outlets thanks to posh sausage rolls. About 30 miles north of Bristol along the M5, there’s an artisan petrol station. Gloucester Services houses an on-site butchers where people pre-order meat, stating whether they’ll be travelling north or south. Many don’t …


Tech Workshop

Why tech startups are advertising on the London underground

They’re unsophisticated, untargeted and seriously old school: so why do London’s tech startups still love tube advertising? Strange as it may seem in the age of Facebook and Google ads, a growing number of London startups are turning to tube advertising to attract new customers and help their brands stand out from the masses. ‘The tube cuts through the noise,’ …