When a Vegan Restaurant is no Longer Vegan-Only

What is remarkable is the way the restaurants appeal not only to vegans but to everyone who likes good food.

In this case study we are also going to explore how these restaurants use technology to leverage their service, through several platform integrations, and how they reduced their emissions to become the UK’s first carbon-negative restaurant.


Stem & Glory is a chain of award-winning vegan restaurants. Today, Stem & Glory has one restaurant in Cambridge (the first to be opened) and two in London.


What is remarkable is the way the restaurants appeal not only to vegans but to everyone who likes good food. “A Passion For Flavour” is their motto and that demonstrates what their core is. They don’t want to be known as a Vegan restaurant, because they are so much more than it.


Instead, they work towards building a strong brand, with a set of values that can define who they are and what they stand for. Today, this is a risky thing for businesses because they may end up driving away some customers but at the same building a strong relationship with others who identify themselves with the brand. From our perspective, the risk is worth it if you have a clear roadmap and a vision of how you want to be seen.



In this case study we are also going to explore how these restaurants use technology to leverage their service, through several platform integrations, and how they reduced their emissions to become the UK’s first carbon-negative restaurant.



Integrations


The whole experience in one Stem & Glory restaurant is unforgettable. This Gloriously Plant-based restaurant uses technology to provide customers with a seamless and better experience in various touchpoints. 


Ordering and payment are 2 critical steps of any restaurant service. They can easily ruin the experience, even if the food is amazing, for example. Often, negative reviews are around the service and staff, which is something that can be solved if you follow a digital and pragmatic approach.


The restaurant chain has decided that digitalisation could help solve some of the issues around these steps. For that reason, they started working with an app called Sunday that allows them to turn ordering and payment totally digital.


With any smartphone, customers can scan one QR code on their table to get instant access to the menu. Once they have made their choices, a waiter will come around to place the order. Then, customers can pay quickly and securely through the app - instead of waiting for someone to bring the bill.


What is also amazing is that it allows people to easily split the bill evenly or pay for the items they ordered and giving them back control.


Stem & Glory is also using other technologies, such as Toggle to enable their voucher offers - gift vouchers, luxury dining for two or a 5-course tasting menu, for example. This platform allows businesses to start selling gift cards, experiences and retail products from their website.


Here at the DTTT, we believe that this is a great strategy to increase the performance of the business and the satisfaction is the customer. Technology can indeed contribute to both at the same time and often doesn’t imply a huge investment that may jeopardise their results - we looked at only 2 tech integrations that are easily implemented in a restaurant but there are many more available for other touch-points.



Emissions


We also consider Stem & Glory as a champion in terms of sustainability. This is the number 1 priority for the owner, Louise Palmer-Masterton. 


Any ingredient that is part of the menu comes from crops nearby to avoid high transport emissions. The most remarkable and innovative solution implemented is their carbon labelling system. Each dish on the menu is accompanied by a colour-coded label, plus a letter from A to G, depending on its CO2 per kilogram. To do that, they collaborated with one eco-tracker platform called Food Steps, establishing the carbon footprint of all ingredients.


All of these initiatives led to low emissions - already 20% below the UK restaurant average. That is why Stem & Glory was named one of the government’s Heroes of Net Zero. They are definitely leading the way in sustainable dining and stand out as a strong brand.


Funding


Stem & Glory is also innovative when it comes to funding. More than once, they have used crowdfunding to move on with new investments.


They raised capital to fund new locations or even their website, whilst at the same time allowing their customers to own some equity. In their most recent crowdfunding in 2022, they have added a new type of reward for all investors - those who invested anything from £10 will get a complimentary digital copy of their new book.


This is aligned with their vision of becoming the largest plant-based movement in the UK. We truly believe that by allowing people to own a small part of the business, they ensure the commitment is broader and the results are more effective. Customers become ambassadors and this is by far one of the greatest marketing strategies.

Key Takeaways

  • Technology can help businesses to increase their performance (saving time and other resources) and satisfy customers at the same time (saving time and providing a unique experience).

  • To become recognised as a sustainable leader, you need to set an example and be bold. Build a strong brand and don't lose track.

  • There are funding opportunities that allow you to get the money without huge risks and to involve people around your project and initiatives.
Published on:
January 2023
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