Institutions, cultural hubs and educational spaces play their individual roles and whilst business performance is not seen as the top priority, each of these types of places all have business plans and strategies in place to ensure they can continue to move forward on a sustainable path. For example, an art centre’s main goal is to bring art and culture to the people however for it to continue to hold exhibitions and expand as a cultural hub, the business of the centre needs to be well planned to ensure growth so that all financial targets are being met or better yet, exceeded.
Just as for any business, business growth in the arts, cultural or educational category needs to be looked at both in terms of how organic growth can be gained as well as new business growth. This is where a well-planned hospitality strategy can achieve both. Let us talk you through how.
Organic growth is when a business expands through internal growth which brings in new clients, customers or users. Organic growth can occur through strengthening existing relationships, leverage of existing relationships to cross all sell products (i.e. catering, facility management, cleaning etc.), contract retention and contract extension, reputation building and referrals - anything that comes from what the business already has its hands on. A hospitality strategy can be one of these things. As talked about in our previous blog post, a hospitality strategy supports the ethos of a business very well when it’s perfectly aligned as well as provides a positive ‘user experience’ for the people interacting with institutions and spaces. A well-planned strategy also places a business as an aware, modern and progressive leader in the category. When on-lookers see these things, it gives them more reason to engage with these businesses. This builds the base of people using these spaces and provides an interactive experience that people gain from. Food is such a major part of our lives because it expresses personal enjoyment, social experience, health and well being. It’s something every person can relate to and see value you. Therefore, combining food into a business by incorporating concepts such as a company café space or curated catering to build on core values and provide a positive experience for all users is another way to ensure your arts, cultural or educational business is achieving organic growth.
New Business Growth
In hospitality terms, new business growth is business obtained through leasing or selling of space to an operator who then operates as their own entity. Going on from this, for commercial catering it is winning new contracts. New business growth is essential to retain market relevance and remain ahead of your competitors. For example, Universities are now exploring ways to align key informal and formal learning facilities with food and beverage. This may include activating building facades facing on to the public realm, or extending the hospitality portfolio to include a mix of high street operators under leasing agreements, commercial caterers who independently run the catering a number of the concepts on campus or student led initiatives.
Whether we view this through the eyes of the “landlord, client, institution or the potential F&B partner, a high level of creativity, commercial savvy, innovation and clear focus is required. We need to establish the vision and desired outcome; happy customers, a food and beverage strategy to support theatre goers, students or the corporate arena, the best campus food in Australia? The hospitality strategy is the key here as a well-planned hospitality offer is what generates demand and makes it a desirable food and beverage destination, offering diversity that meets all user groups who utilise the spaces. It is also important that the operators which ACE businesses enter into leasing agreements with are still one’s that suit these spaces and represent what they stand for. Placing a McDonald’s within an arts precinct is not aligned whereas placing a local, small-scale café that represents the city it’s from and its culture seems much more appropriate.
These two types of growth are essential for any business. Business strategists are always looking for ways to achieve both and until recently, food and beverage was not on that list of strategies. As we have briefly explained, a hospitality strategy can work from both angles in ensuring sustainability and business success for your arts, cultural and educational business.