Levy Leisure – The design journey of the food and drink experience

Rak Kalidas, Strategic Director at Levy Leisure on the innovative food and drink experiences on offer at some of the UK’s most renowned cultural, historical and visitor attractions.

Projects in the last year have seen Levy Leisure create a sleek new destination restaurant, Arthur’s, in iconic Liberty London; open a River Cottage Kitchen & Deli and trendy River Cottage Botanical Cocktail Bar at HMS Belfast; an innovative transformation at Hever Castle saw an old storage unit turned into an elegant prosecco bar.

Each unique food and drink concept that Levy Leisure conceive and actualise complements every venues’ character to create memorable guest experiences while driving footfall. For example Levy activated an interactive Royal Afternoon Tea with Her Majesty The Queen at Madame Tussauds; and a trendy veg-centric restaurant, Bryn Williams at Somerset House, was opened in the iconic creative arts hub.

Each new concept that Levy Leisure creates is totally different to the previous. The strategic and creative team understand that there is not a one size fits all solution, therefore they take a considered and holistic approach, from design-to-execution, rooted in a methodology which equally combines research, design and innovation.

Levy Leisure advocates that food and drink is paramount to the visitor journey at client venues and that a design led approach contributes to the experience.  

When thinking about new concepts with clients, market research helps inform the food and beverage offering alongside the design of the setting. The team analyse the data and culinary trends, helping drive the operational and design process. Further research is then carried out to profile the typical guest, research here can highlight cultural trends, demographics and help the design team understand the customer base which will inform the offer. This can become quite complex with some venues catering for a mixed and varied audience.

A critical analysis of the physical space looks at what’s working and what isn’t, this review helps create new innovations, informs the layout or redesign of the area and helps the team produce practical solutions to operational problems. Maximising space and understanding the customer journey in a venue is an integral part of this.

Conversations with colleagues who work at the venue are one of the most important tasks undertaken and helps teams to understand the environment and the people who work within it. The guest experience is equally a combination of the space, the food and beverages, and the interaction between the guest and the people who work there. The human experience is just as important as the culinary one.

Finally a review of the supply chain helps create menus, which champion great food and drink offers.

This is the process we at Levy Leisure follow to create a fully rounded food and drink experience, which helps each venue contribute to a visitor’s day out in a unique and special way.