Smoke House Deli (SHD) is a decade-old European restaurant with outlets in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. When they initially began operations in 2011, the agenda was to serve accessible European food that was otherwise difficult to find. Ten years later, the mission was rebranded to imbibe a new gastronomic design language that reinforced clean eating in bright, airy spaces.
Poocho was commissioned to verify, validate, and discover customer responses to these changes. We developed a research design that unpacked habits and behaviours related to restaurant experiences in Mumbai. By understanding what drives different segments to dine out, we built out key loyalists personas and provided custom marketing-strategy recommendations to grow, convert and nurture this cohort.
Loyal and ‘irregular’ restaurant patrons screened, managed, and onboarded for 60-minute long Zoom interview sessions
Minutes of detailed interview recordings that were thematically coded across 16 socio-cultural and behavioural themes to interest, convert, and retain customers.
Types of consumer personas outlining detailed habits, routines, influences, lifestyles, and challenges of loyalist and irregular customers for comparative analysis and strategic decision making.
Before we could unpack how consumers felt about the shift in brand messaging and the overall restaurant vibe, we workshopped with key stakeholders of the brand (across their marketing, business development, insights and service verticals) to understand individual perceptions of the brand and its value proposition.
The insights uncovered at this stage gave us a baseline understanding of business objectives driving the brand experience; enabled us to build stakeholder consensus around key research objectives; and ultimately compare and contrast customer insights with stakeholder assumptions to promote more strategic alignment and carve a productive way forward.
To understand how people experienced dining out, we built our context around what the city currently offers a similar clientele in terms of a dining out F&B experience. We mapped the city’s restaurants as well as emerging food trends, particularly post COVID-19. We came across the phenomenon of revenge-eating wherein diners were keen to make up for lost time by opting to dining out more often than not. Even as sanitary conditions mattered, the desire to explore what’s new and upcoming had never been bigger.
We took this knowledge to deeply understand the decision-making pathways by which restaurant patrons were choosing restaurants - the triggers, considerations, and actions they were taking to support their dining out desires - and where Smoke House Deli fit into that process. The output of combining primary and secondary research was more targeted and relevant questioning that helped us unpack the brand’s various value propositions in a post-pandemic context.
To understand who eats what, we aimed to understand who eats where.
To start with, in a city like Mumbai, we factored in commute time and distance within our research questionnaire. We then segmented our target research audience across two location types - residential and commercial. Comparing and analyzing customer behaviors and preferences across both types of settings gave us a sense of shared traits and habits but also key differences that were location-centric.
This led us to develop personas at the intersection of individual behavior and location-based factors. All in all, we were able to offer the client more nuanced advice on how to target, convert and retain customer types across different geo spaces.