James O’Donnell, general manager, The Devonshire Arms Hotel
Alfresco dining experiences
Set on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, The Devonshire Arms is renowned for its classic country house charm, afternoon tea and fine dining in the Burlington restaurant. However, safety measures and changes in business operations meant that on reopening, the Burlington restaurant is only open Thursday to Sunday. This left a large gap in the hotel’s food and beverage offering, whilst being mindful that many customers wanted to treat themselves after a long period lockdown, the hotel wanted to provide a high quality offering and something new for customers to get excited about!
In order to welcome guests back in a safe way, and taking advantage of the rural setting, general manager James O’Donnell, proposed a Champagne and Seafood Terrace to add to the food and beverage offering, in association with Laurent Perrier.
This pop-up restaurant was based in a large stretch tent on the lawn of the hotel, accompanied by a mobile Champagne bar, housed in a quirky van, with panoramic views. The pop-up restaurant helped to more than double outdoor seating capacity where social distancing could be managed with ease.
Following the success of that, a new initiative for winter has been created.
Replacing the stretch tent with a traditional Yurt, which now houses The Yurtshire Arms Soup Kitchen and Ale House. During this difficult time the hotel is also supporting its local food bank, giving a donation for every bowl of soup sold.
The Laurent Perrier Champagne and Seafood Terrace proved hugely popular, kick-starting the business recovery with covers up by 43% YOY. Not only helping to boost revenues, the pop-up initiative also allowed the business to bring back members of staff, who would have otherwise been furloughed.
The initiative also helped to create a buzz on social media, with the opening announcement gaining organic reach of 36,000 up a huge 900% on usual organic reach.