© Rahi Rezvani

OUTSIDE INNOVATIONS

  3 min

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COOL CONCEPT


Unilever, Russia

The first foray isn’t entirely outside of the food space, but Unilever Russia’s creative approach to a career fair is worth noting. Instead of the same old stalls in an overcrowded event space, Unilever went virtual. They designed and launched an online game where graduates looking for internships, leadership programs, and career opportunities at Unilever could visit 8-bit versions of the company office and interact with virtual representatives. A little quirky but certainly creative.

What can foodservice learn from this?
While physical interactions are fraught with uncertainty, hospitality can transcend the limitations of physical space. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to customer interaction and engagement. While designing your very own game may be a little on the ambitious side, the digital space offers plenty of free or low cost opportunities for interesting engagement. It may help also to attract a different audience, as online interactions are second nature to many young people.


Lost Stock, Great Britain

Lost Stock is a British apparel start-up offering ‘surprise boxes’ of unsold clothes directly from textile factories. Lockdowns around the world caused a severe drop in demand for clothing, while the supply side was left with a significant surplus. Estimates vary but the number of unsold clothing items biding time in warehouses is somewhere north of several billion. Factory workers in low wage countries are posed to take the brunt of that financial hit, and Lost Stock takes steps to shorten the supply chain and aid the workers. A box with three items of clothing is sold at half the recommended retail price and the revenue supports a working family for a week

What can foodservice learn from this?
The apparel industry is far from the only industry facing massive supply chain disruptions. With food waste already a hot button issue, ensuring supply chain resilience feels more important than ever. Now is the time to reach out to local suppliers and producers and work with them. Perhaps a ‘surprise box’ of produce or a meal kit is the answer there, too. It’s been done before, but the need for a more secure future of food has never been greater.


LMNTS Outdoor Studio, Canada 

In Toronto, LMNTS Outdoor Studio set up fifty outdoor, clear domes for individuals to participate in outdoor yoga sessions. Each dome offers over a hundred square feet of private, heated space and takes away any worries about maintaining safe social distancing.

What can foodservice learn from this?
Offering private dining spaces is an obvious takeaway, but the key lesson lies in acknowledging and caring for the mental health of your guests. Foodservice and the hospitality industry at large is used to putting patrons at easy and facilitating a good time, but in a year as profoundly stressful and disruptive as 2020, the ‘standard package’ isn’t going to cut it for many. What can you do to provide a wholesome, nurturing experience for your guests? One that can make them forget about the many woes of the world  for a moment in time? It could be as relatively simple as ensuring health and safety guidelines are followed as unobtrusively as possible, or you could elevate your care to beyond filling a stomach in a safe way. You could attempt to feed a soul.

  3 min

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© Rahi Rezvani


Unilever, Russia

The first foray isn’t entirely outside of the food space, but Unilever Russia’s creative approach to a career fair is worth noting. Instead of the same old stalls in an overcrowded event space, Unilever went virtual. They designed and launched an online game where graduates looking for internships, leadership programs, and career opportunities at Unilever could visit 8-bit versions of the company office and interact with virtual representatives. A little quirky but certainly creative.

What can foodservice learn from this?
While physical interactions are fraught with uncertainty, hospitality can transcend the limitations of physical space. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to customer interaction and engagement. While designing your very own game may be a little on the ambitious side, the digital space offers plenty of free or low cost opportunities for interesting engagement. It may help also to attract a different audience, as online interactions are second nature to many young people.


LMNTS Outdoor Studio, Canada 

In Toronto, LMNTS Outdoor Studio set up fifty outdoor, clear domes for individuals to participate in outdoor yoga sessions. Each dome offers over a hundred square feet of private, heated space and takes away any worries about maintaining safe social distancing.

What can foodservice learn from this?
Offering private dining spaces is an obvious takeaway, but the key lesson lies in acknowledging and caring for the mental health of your guests. Foodservice and the hospitality industry at large is used to putting patrons at easy and facilitating a good time, but in a year as profoundly stressful and disruptive as 2020, the ‘standard package’ isn’t going to cut it for many. What can you do to provide a wholesome, nurturing experience for your guests? One that can make them forget about the many woes of the world  for a moment in time? It could be as relatively simple as ensuring health and safety guidelines are followed as unobtrusively as possible, or you could elevate your care to beyond filling a stomach in a safe way. You could attempt to feed a soul.


Lost Stock, Great Britain

Lost Stock is a British apparel start-up offering ‘surprise boxes’ of unsold clothes directly from textile factories. Lockdowns around the world caused a severe drop in demand for clothing, while the supply side was left with a significant surplus. Estimates vary but the number of unsold clothing items biding time in warehouses is somewhere north of several billion. Factory workers in low wage countries are posed to take the brunt of that financial hit, and Lost Stock takes steps to shorten the supply chain and aid the workers. A box with three items of clothing is sold at half the recommended retail price and the revenue supports a working family for a week

What can foodservice learn from this?
The apparel industry is far from the only industry facing massive supply chain disruptions. With food waste already a hot button issue, ensuring supply chain resilience feels more important than ever. Now is the time to reach out to local suppliers and producers and work with them. Perhaps a ‘surprise box’ of produce or a meal kit is the answer there, too. It’s been done before, but the need for a more secure future of food has never been greater.

Overview magazines

Food Inspiration Magazine is the online magazine for foodservice professionals in search of inspiration and innovation. With the magazine we collect, enrich and spread inspiration. The free subscription magazine is published eight times per year and is an abundant source of inspiration for food and hospitality professionals. Our readers can be found in the U.S., Northern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
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