6 mins

Matt’s pitching tips for the hospitality sector

Date 27.03.2024

People are sick of me piping on about our home at the STEAMhouse. We’ve filmed, blogged, Reeled, and posted the bejesus out of this building to the point that it has probably become a little nauseating. So, you needn’t worry, dear reader, for this blog isn’t about the STEAMhouse building.

It’s about the people within it.

Anybody who has consumed previous content we’ve published about this place will know it’s a centre for collaborative innovation, business support and learning opportunities. The place is about community and overcoming commercial and societal challenges through collaborative innovation.

I hold my hands up and say we’d only scratched the surface of what STEAMhouse could offer until recently, when, in the space of just a few months, we were invited to support some budding entrepreneurs…and some that were far more than ‘budding’.

This increased interest in Brew was due to our unprecedented experience with the hospitality sector. Entrepreneurs wanted to tap into our years of rich experience in this quite brilliant sector, given that they were looking to introduce new digital solutions to pubs and restaurants.

To cut a long story (or three-hour-long conversation) short, here’s the advice we offered in three handy questions to ask yourself when pitching an idea to this sector.

The hospitality sector is full of nuance. It’s a unique sector, and first and foremost, pub and restaurant businesses will want to know that you understand this industry and everything that comes with it. What’s more, you need to be aware of the recent challenges this sector has faced — the impact of inflation, soaring energy, utility costs, and staff shortages, which have ravaged these businesses that were already reeling from the pandemic. Knowing your audience is particularly pertinent when it comes to this sector.

Tip: Do your research and read relevant material, including Propel, Morning Advertiser, and The Caterer, to stay up-to-date. Also, speak to people. You’ll likely know someone who works in this sector, so it’s worth a chat.

The person you’re approaching will likely have a list as long as your arm of projects and workstreams they can’t find the time to get off the ground. The items on that list have been deprioritised because they are deemed less important than what they are working on today. Is your idea worthy of disrupting the top of that priority list? This is down to the quality of the product/solution, its relevancy to this sector, the business you are approaching and, of course, how you pitch it. Given the above, evidencing high value to the business and a light touch for the individual or department would be a good starting point.

Tip: Whenever anybody asks me about pitch decks, I point them toward Canva’s incredible pitch deck. Known as a tool for supporting with pitch deck templates, this is Canva’s original deck used to pitch to potential investors, as Cameron Stewart highlights in this post. Their key is knowing their audience, knowing the gap they fill and ensuring their story is clear and concise.

Trialling your solution with a particular campaign and/or across several trial sites could be a good way to get buy-in and proof of concept. But be careful about campaign lead times – the timing here is key. It’s likely the marketing, IT, and purchasing teams you’re approaching are incredibly busy ALL of the time, so you do need to acknowledge this and bear it in mind when thinking about how you introduce your idea.

It’s also important to note that this sector is driven by key calendar dates throughout the year. I’ve seen companies pitch ideas for Christmas in October/November. Honestly, summer is too late to introduce something new for Christmas, given how lead times work in this sector. Get in early. So, think about Q3 activity in Q1. Think about Father’s Day in November, Easter in September and Christmas as early as June.

Tip: Here are some approximate pitch dates to give you a general rule of thumb.

January offer September
Valentine’s Day October
Mother’s Day November
Easter November
Father’s Day February
Summer Holiday March
Halloween July
Christmas June

 

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