Matt Snell, managing director of Gusto, speaks to MCA about how Instagram is influencing menu development, its future focus on delivery and why data social media data is so valuable.

Instagram is definitely a factor in the presentation of dishes… “We always design a dish around taste, but presentation is a big part of it too. There are some dishes that we offer that don’t necessarily play to our core demographic, but it’s about having those dishes on the menu to entice the millennial Instagram generation.”

There is now more for vegans and those with food intolerances on our menu… “We have introduced a vegan pizza, fruit salad and cauliflower steak, for example. It is the kind of thing we wouldn’t have considered 18 months ago, but it has become a cornerstone of our menu. It’s not something you can ignore anymore – it’s about being progressive and trying to make that food interesting. So often it ends up being a cursory nod to the vegan box, but we have spent time making dishes that non-vegans would order.”

We think we can do more with data… “In the past, when service didn’t go very well nobody but the customers you are serving would know, but tomorrow we could know what a server was saying to a table at 9pm in Leamington Spa, thanks to social media. That is an unbelievable richness of data with which to help run your business; one of the things we are looking carefully at is how to do more with that core understanding that we have. You cannot ignore what guests say these days, as the market is so competitive.”

Delivery is now a much bigger focus for us… “Delivery has been a massive disruptor over the past four years, so closing our eyes telling ourselves it’s not happening is not really an option for us. It is something the business has not really focused on in the past, but it is something that we are focusing hard on now. We have reviewed our all packaging, and we are giving it specific attention when we are doing refurbishments or new developments in terms of the fabric of the building and how it works for delivery.”

It is so important for brands to play their role in society… “It can’t be about take, take, take. Millennials in the business want to know they are working for a business that isn’t all about profit, but that is also about giving back. We have worked with a type 1 diabetes charity called JDRF on a providing information on the level of carbohydrates in our dishes, and in December we added £1 to every menu item and raised £50k for The Tim Bacon Foundation. Giving back and being part of society is something we want to do more of.”