Covid A Year On: Lussmanns and the art of pivoting
- Credit: Lussmanns
‘Pivot’ is part of the pandemic vocabulary, along with bubble, quarantine and lockdown. But it’s a positive word in many ways; a reminder of how innovative businesses can be and the fighting spirit burning in many entrepreneurs.
Over the past year businesses up and down the country have had to pivot to survive and Andrei Lussmann, the man behind the restaurants in St Albans and Harpenden, has done a lot of it, as his staff has learned to respond, often with breath-taking speed, to constantly changing restrictions and regulations imposed on the hospitality industry.
“As soon as our customers could no longer come to us, we had to get to them,” said Andrei. “But this has inevitably meant transforming our offering so that it would work in that way.”
Customer confidence in the brand has been key to all of Lussmanns incarnations in the past 12 months. “We’ve built a resilient brand that our customers trust and we were never going to change the core of what we are and what we stand for, which is good food, sustainably delivered, and served with a smile."
The first ‘pivot’ was into a food-to-go service. Lussmanns began delivering simple pre-prepared cook-at-home dishes, but also artisan breads, sustainable fish, fruit and vegetable boxes, premier cheeses and drinks.
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To date, Lussmanns has delivered more than 100,000 food packages to its customers.
The increasing warmth of the summer brought with it a decreasing fear of the virus and a relaxing of the restrictions. Lussmann’s pivoted once again, creating burger and hotdog BBQs outside in Waxhouse Gate in St Albans.
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After a brief period when restaurants reopened and then got shut down again, came Lussmanns' third pivot - changing the burger business to a Saturday night takeaway order and collect service (then also a mid-week version).
And recently Lussmanns has pivoted for a fourth time, and come up with Celebration Boxes - luxury supper boxes (think steak, lobster, premium sustainable fish) to share, with everything needed to mark a very special occasion, including sauces, vegetables, sides, puds and wine.
These flew off the shelves for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day and proved that, a year on from the first lockdown, people are craving a luxury experience for that special day, be it a birthday or anniversary.
Andrei Lussmann is hoping that restaurants reopen completely soon. He’s proud of his team’s ability to transform its offering at a moment’s notice. But the novelty of pivoting has worn off.