Argyllshire food and drink gets a DigitalBoost

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Food from argyll - claire bruce, tommy johnston, martin murray

A café at Oban pier is planning to revamp its online presence to expand sales of local food and drink produce.

With support from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute, Food from Argyll, the co-operative that runs the popular eatery, was able to access one-to-one advice on website development through the successful DigitalBoost programme.

Introducing an online shop, which sells hampers, confectionery, coffee, cheese and preserves will allow Food from Argyll to expand the retail side of the business, now that the café has a steady and solid customer base of locals and tourists to the town.

Katie Ritchie, one of the founding members of Food from Argyll said: “Our goals right at the beginning, when we accepted the opportunity from CMAL to run the café was to offer quality food using local produce, build a solid base and tap into the tourist market. We’re guaranteed footfall but we wanted to ensure our food was the main reason our customers came to us and the feedback and reviews on TripAdvisor have proved we’ve got things right. As the café is doing well we decided to develop the retail side of things, both in the café and online.

“Business Gateway’s support and advice has been extremely helpful and the workshops I attended allowed me to get a better understanding of what is required when it comes to using social media effectively. Our advisor has helped us to highlight what changes are needed to our website to make it more intuitive and to improve sales. Now we have a clear remit to take to our web developer, which is half the battle when it comes to building a website and will hopefully save us a lot of time and money.

The café, which employs five full time members of staff and additional seasonal workers, has an ever changing menu which features as many ingredients from the Food from Argyll members as possible. Now Katie and the team want to offer additional services such as packed lunches to walking groups and bespoke hampers.

Katie added: “Since forming in 2007 Food from Argyll has continually promoted local producers and quality food whether it be at festivals, sporting events including the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow or farmers markets. Although a café wasn’t on the cards originally, once we were given the option to run it, we knew it was an exciting challenge for us and one that could reap many rewards. Our combined personalities and goals meant that right from the beginning we wanted to collaborate and not compete against one another which is perfect when it comes to running individual ventures under one brand. Our Chef Tommy’s remit to use locally produced food and drink results in delicious dishes and we’re excited about the future.”

Donald Melville of Business Gateway said: “Our DigitalBoost programme, which is funded by Digital Scotland, provided the perfect opportunity for Katie to gain a better understanding of how digital skills can make a real difference to a business. By attending workshops, creating a digital marketing strategy and benefitting from one-to-one advice tailored to the specific needs of Food from Argyll, Katie will be able implement those digital aspects most likely to give the business a boost.”

Find out how Business Gateway Argyll and Bute can help your business by visiting their local page or calling 01546 808 363.

Outwith this area? Find your local Business Gateway office or call 0300 013 4753.

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