Revolution Bars Group has described the steps it has taken to “stabilise” the business after a major customer feedback exercise highlighted it was coming up short in a number of areas, including food.
The views of more than 3,500 individual guests and 2,500 team members were gathered during the exercise last year, leading to the 77-strong bar group drawing some harsh conclusions about the way its offer was perceived.
Among the criticisms it faced was that “slow speed of service” remained a frustration for current guests and a barrier for lapsed guests, while food and drink menus “lacked innovation” and had failed to keep pace with guest preferences.
Consequently, Revolution used the results to create 30 different work-streams aimed at restoring the brand and group performance.
Earlier this year it In March, it announced plans to cease new openings and suspend dividends in favour of increasing investment into refurbishing its core estate, repaying bank debt and delivering the work-streams to revitalise the brand.
Around £1.4m has been invested in refurbishing eight bars, leading to an overall sales uplift relative to the estate of 5.6%, sufficient to repay the investment within 26 months.
Since the start of its new financial year in July, the group has invested a further £1.1m refurbishing six more bars and remains “very encouraged” by the response from guests and the early sales performances.
In terms of the food offer, CEO Rob Pitcher said that the chain has deployed a number of promotional and core pricing changes to provide better value for money to customers.
A 5% reduction in average selling price across the year translated into a 19% upswing in the volume of meals sold. “The increase in footfall this brings also benefits drink sales associated with the food sales,” said Mr Pitcher.
Revolution has also partnered with Deliveroo across 74 bars where the Deliveroo service is available.
“Sales penetration by bar varies greatly but we expect to deliver £500,000 of food sales through this new channel in FY20 and we anticipate this will continue to grow,” he added.