“Eat Early is all about discovering new restaurants and tasting the best for a fraction of the price”
Business Leader recently sat down with Chloe Plaister, co-founder and Director of South West-based, Eat Early. The company helps restaurant-goers find local restaurants with availability, at a fraction of the price.
Chloe talks to Business Leader about how her start-up has grown in Bristol, the company’s recent expansion and how social media plays a crucial role in Eat Early’s success.
Can you give me an overview of Eat Early?
Our exciting start-up company Eat Early, launched in Bristol in February this year. Eat Early is all about discovering new restaurants and tasting the best for a fraction of the price.
Coming from a wonderful family of foodies that all very much love socialising around a fantastic meal, and see it as an occasion for everyone to get together, it should not come as a surprise that I too thoroughly enjoy exploring new places to take friends, colleagues and family to catch up over great food. From this warming and social family orientated lifestyle, the Eat Early movement materialised.
If we enjoy uncovering all of this great food so much, why not share our findings with the incredible people of Bristol to experience as well.
Being local to Bristol and Somerset, it was the perfect place to embark on our new venture as we have been able to enjoy the fabulous diversity of cuisines that the city offers for our entire lives, and although there is still much more to be discovered, we have a good idea of what our fellow foodies will fancy.
We take pride in keeping up to date with the latest trends and modern technologies, and incorporating them into our company to keep it fresh and exciting. We are shaping our business around our passion; so we want our company to be fun, friendly and warming for our customers and restaurants.
I am very lucky to be embarking on this venture with my business partner, co-director and brother, Edward Plaister. After graduating the University of the West of England back in 2012 with a BSc degree of IT Management for Business, I feel my professors taught me some valuable skills that fit perfectly with my sales and marketing experience for this new venture. That, alongside my brother’s excessive business knowledge and experience from his current Directorship at David Plaister Ltd, I believe creates a great team to move forward!
Can you explain how the process works and how does it help customers and restaurants?
How it works is simple; visit www.EATEARLY.co.uk to start discovering new restaurants and keep up to date with the latest news, guides and reviews of our restaurants with The Eat Early Feed. To book on our website; choose your restaurant; pick a time-slot; pay £1 per head to secure one of our limited discounted tables and save up to 50% off your food bill; and then your voucher code will be emailed to you. Simply show this when you arrive at the restaurant to receive your discount on the food bill at the end of your meal.
We are all for supporting the local business community, no matter if our partners are large companies or independent businesses, we are avid believers of working together with these fantastic restaurants to keep the dining scene of this incredible city, as lively and exciting as it is today.
We have personally tasted and experienced something in each of our restaurants that we believe makes them special and unique, whether that is a certain dish, the chef’s cooking style, a cuisine that we love, a warming atmosphere, or a buried treasure yet to be discovered. We are passionate about sharing what we enjoy about each restaurant, so we create characteristic videos for you to watch before booking, so you can get a good flavour of what they are about.
Not only is this service beneficial to our customers, but to our restaurants as well. We only offer discounted tables at an early quieter period of service. We do not take up tables where full paying customers would be sat. It is completely up to the restaurant how many tables they give us, and what time works around their busy periods. This helps the restaurants get people in seats early, which creates a nice buzzing atmosphere to passers by. Word of mouth and recommendation is also very powerful, once a customer has been introduced to a new restaurant through our platform, they can then recommend it to all of their friends and family, which we have seen happening widely through social media.
How would you describe the company’s growth?
We are extremely pleased with our progress so far. We are increasing in the way of restaurants and bookings each month, and our customer following is growing tremendously.
We launched in our second location, Taunton, last week. So now we want to focus on adding more choice for restaurants to both Bristol and Taunton with the increasing demand for Eat Early tables from our growing customer base.
We now have 6,000 followers across our three social media channels since the launch end of February which we are very happy with! Every single day we keep getting more and more people registering on our website to book tables and receive the latest Eat Early news via our email campaigns.
What restaurants in Bristol are you working with?
Our network of restaurants has something for everyone; whether you are a working professional looking to grab a bite to eat after work with colleagues, students looking for a good deal, a young family looking for a nice place to take the kids early evening, perhaps a group of friends or a couple looking to try something new; the Eat Early movement has something for everyone to get together and enjoy!
The Bristol restaurants that have signed up include Harbour&Browns, Sholay, Calypso Kitchen, The Mint Room, Fujiyama, Pipal Tree, Gloucester Road Ale House, Severnshed, The Cuban, Giraffe, Coal, The Crafty Cow, The Eastfield Inn, The Shakespeare, Zero Degrees, Maize Blaze, Opa, Steam, Nova and 99 Queens.
We have more coming on board with us in the next few weeks, these will be announced through our blog on the website and through our social media platforms.
Are there any plans to expand outside of Bristol?
We launched Eat Early in Taunton last week which we are very excited about. We have launched with four great restaurants and have more coming on board in the next few weeks. Again, keep an eye on our social media and blog for new announcements.
The Taunton restaurants that have signed up are The Bank, Hideout, Eat the Bird and Tiffins.
We plan on expanding our service in and around these two areas first and then will be looking at going to new areas soon.
What is the process for restaurants getting involved?
We approach restaurants that we would love to have on board but with there being a huge amount of fantastic ones to get around, we still have so many more in Bristol and Taunton that we would like to include in our restaurant discovery website. Restaurants do contact us as well – there is a section on our website for restaurants to fill out if they would like to get involved.
How big a role does social media play within your business?
We create a huge amount of content for each restaurant which we push out through all of our digital platforms. We create videos, take photos, write articles, conduct chef interviews, and work with a number of local food bloggers who write reviews about their experience of using Eat Early at our restaurants.
Social media is our way of connecting with our audience. As we are avid foodies ourselves, we feel we have a good idea about what our audience would like to see. So we ensure that our content is fresh, exciting, fun and colourful, so our followers can get a good flavour of what each of our restaurants is about before they decide to go and try it out.
As explained, we now have over 6000 followers across our three social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and this figure keeps increasing daily.
This week, we were thrilled to discover that we had been picked to join Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday network. Small Business Sunday, shortened to the hashtag #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010. Each week, Theo rewards six small businesses with an opportunity to become part of his growing network of businesses across the UK. We are extremely excited that Theo has endorsed Eat Early and the extra coverage that this has and will give us!