League of Meals: weeknotes #3 - The Supper Club
Posted on 29th March 2012 by Johanna Kollmann -
Last time, I wrote about our first cooking session, and how we realised that we need to improve our outreach to people who might be interested in paying for our cooks' food and services.
To bring the audience and the cooks together, League of Meals hosted a supper club last Friday. After a feedback workshop with our cooks, we were keen to improve the cooking experience. The supper club would allow us to expose an audience to the cooks, the League of Meals brand and experience, and get direct feedback. Additionally, the event would be an opportunity for media coverage and content creation.
Before embarking on organising the supper club, we listed:
- key open questions about the LoM proposition
- our strategy to clarify those
- what success would look like.
This was useful as guidance for the team while I was on holiday, and made it much easier to analyse our learnings from the event. Iterating and learning requires reflection, and checklists like this one facilitate this.
Below are a few impressions from the supper club:
The dining table
Paula preparing ingredients
The cooks share recipes with the guests
BBC Radio London 94.9 FM came along to try the food and report about League of Meals. We were live twice during Drivetime with Eddie Nestor.
Rick Crust from the Hackney Healthy Eating Project, Silver Surfers Talking Food Group sneaked into the kitchen with is camera.
Good news first.
The supper club was a quality experience that attendees were happy to pay for, and we got some great feedback:
"Fabulous! Amazing three course meal, great atmosphere, a really special evening. Thank you. Especially liked meeting and hearing from the local chefs, inspiring!"
"Delicious - I’ll definitely come back!"
The food tasted good, and diners especially enjoyed meeting the cooks and hearing from them how they prepared the dishes. It was rewarding for the cooks to get direct feedback.
We also got a good indicator on how much people were willing to pay, and made enough money to cover costs for kitchen and materials, and some profit to be invested in the next iteration.
Via Twitter, we got more feedback on the concept, and more views and followers.
What didn't go so well?
The short time to organise the supper club meant less time to invite people along to eat, less diners than we had hoped for, and fewer cooks who could make it. For several reasons, we also got less documentation and content than planned. A broken dishwasher made cleaning up afterwards time-consuming, with very tired cooks leaving rather late.
We have yet to catch up with the cooks, and I'm sure they will have more feedback on how it went for them.
I wish I had known then what I know now
While one of our next steps is to iterate the supper club, at the moment we are sense-checking the original bigger vision for League of Meals against what we know now, and didn't know before. Many food-related business models started from a real-world experience (restaurant) or personality (a chef). Recipe apps, cooking classes, dining events - take Jamie Oliver or Great British Chefs, all of them create revenue through multiple streams rather than just one product. The supper clubs are one way to building an identity and brand that allows us to diversify the offering, but not the only one. Does our wider vision still hold true, and are we on track to get there?
Following a visioning/focus workshop early next week, we will make a plan for the following months, building on what we have. Potentially investing in content production, our website, and PR activities. I'll tell you more in the next week notes.