Brands coming out fighting against the pandemic

Nov 18, 2020

GDR’s John O’Sullivan highlights five companies from sectors hugely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic that are fighting back by diversifying their offers.

While this year has undoubtedly been the most difficult in living memory for hospitality and retail brands around the world, one of the bright sparks has been the speed with which many companies have innovated to create new, more robust propositions for the pandemic-era.

Something that has struck me as the UK has been forced into a second lockdown in recent weeks is how much better-prepared many restaurants, bars and retailers are for the battle ahead. Lessons have clearly been learned during the dark days of the first lockdown and many companies have very quickly pivoted their supply chains and changed the role of their physical spaces so they can serve their customers in new ways.

Below I pick out the five examples that have really jumped out at me during the last few weeks from sectors heavily affected by the pandemic. Although these brands may have lacked the impetus or permission to roll out these innovations were it not for the pandemic, I do believe that many have long-term potential as the on-demand delivery market matures and begins to offer richer and more experiential possibilities.


Côte at Home

UK-based French brasserie chain Côte has launched a new service delivering heat-at-home versions of its most popular dishes. Launched during the second phase of the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown when its restaurants were shut, Côte at Home offers a wide range of starters, main courses, desserts and set menus to customers across the country.

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Lush x Stuart

British personal care brand Lush has responded quickly to the onset of the second Covid-19 lockdown in the UK by offering two-hour delivery to customers living within a five mile radius of 45 of its stores. Lush is partnering with on-demand delivery service Stuart while its stores are shut until December 2nd, and effectively turning its stores into fulfilment centres.

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Hoppers Cash & Kari

London-based Sri Lankan restaurant Hoppers has launched an ecommerce site offering nationwide delivery of various food and drink items. Cash & Kari is modelled on the ‘one-stop corner stores of Sri Lanka and South India’ and offers meal kits as well as various snacks, spices, drinks and merchandise.

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Marriott Enjoy Khao Lak in Seoul

During November and December 2020, the JW Marriott’s Seoul location has been transformed into the JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa in Thailand, offering locals a taste of the exotic destination without having to leave the city. As part of the Enjoy Khao Lak in Seoul promotion: the lobby, staff clothing, room design and toiletries have all been changed to mimic those of the Thai resort. Services on offer in the hotel have also been given a Thai makeover, including a Thai-style buffet restaurant, yoga classes and Thai-inspired art sessions for kids.

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Speakeasy At Home

Three award-winning London bars have joined forces during the Covid-19 pandemic to launch a nationwide bottled cocktail delivery service called Speakeasy At Home. Signature drinks from the Nightjar in Old Street, Oriole Bar in Farringdon and Swift, which runs locations in Soho and Shoreditch, are all available via the new platform. Each of the bars has their own page on the Speakeasy At Home website, where visitors can explore their cocktail menu and order their drinks in 220ml two-serving pouches or 500ml bottles, which contain five servings.

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