Inside Eating Out: Brick & Liquor

Inside Eating Out: Brick & Liquor

In the 2018 edition of Inside Eating Out, Brick & Liquor founder and managing director David Layton talks about focusing on social media, the potential for crowdfunding and the consumer appeal of independent businesses.

Name and job title:

David Layton, founder and managing director

Number of employees:

15

Changes recently made to the menu:

We launched our “Gin-spiration” menu this summer and it’s been a big success in the summer heat. The concept is a specialist selection of refreshing G&Ts; pairing some interesting and obscure back bar gins with FeverTree’s range.

Biggest changes to the business over the next 12 months:

Doubling down on digital marketing. We strongly believe social media is the new word of mouth and it drives a huge proportion of our advance bookings. We’ll continue to invest our efforts in sharing great content to engage our customer base.

Biggest challenges for the business over the next 12 months:

The usual trinity; rent, rates and Brexit. None of which are new. We expect a lot of the chef shortages faced over the past few years to ease as closures increase.

Expansion plans over the next 12 months:

We have had a number of large investors interested in acquiring our brand but we’re considering a crowdfunding campaign instead to fund our third and fourth Brick & Liquor sites. We love the idea that our guests can own a part of the business and share in the success.

Predicted finances for the next 12 months:

Combined annual revenue of £1.1m gross across two sites.

Takeaways and deliveries:

We are currently trialling with Deliveroo – at this point it’s too early to tell how much meaningful sales/profit uplift we can expect.

Customer loyalty:

We try and develop a personal connection with our brand. Guests like visiting us because we’re independent and they understand it’s a real human business, not just another franchise of some faceless mega-chain.

Marketing your restaurant:

Social media 100%, however it’s important to highlight the focus is mostly on ‘engagement’ rather than explicit ‘selling’. From our experience, our regulars are local so already know what we offer. Therefore, it’s more important to share interesting content so we’re always front of mind.

What customers will seek this year:

I think we’ll see customers increasingly shy away from stale chains, many of whom are being forced to cut corners in order to rescue their P&L. I think authentic businesses with genuine hospitality and care for their guests stand to benefit the most.

Hear from all 14 operators in Inside Eating Out in the August issue of Casual Dining Magazine.