Scotland is experiencing record levels of visitors and increasingly they want to sample distinctive local and regional food. In a recent VisitScotland report, tasting traditional cooking was the joint most popular activity for visitors when they are here; almost a third of visitors stated that their choice of accommodation was influenced by the reputation of the food being served.
Every visitor has to eat and drink, so raising the quality of your food and drink offer to include locally-sourced and produced products will add value to your business as customers may stay longer and spend more. What’s more, in this digitally connected world, providing good products and services means that your business will be promoted via positive reviews being seen by your visitors’ connections.
Experiencing Scotland aims to support tourism companies to provide and promote the high quality food and drink produce Scotland offers.
The project offers a range of services for tourism businesses including:
- One to one business advice and support
- Experiencing Scotland Workshops
- FREE business updates
One-to-one business advice and support
A dedicated catering consultant assists eligible businesses by providing in-depth expert advice on how they can offer and promote quality, Scottish produce. This includes:
- An introduction to business tools plus support networks available
- Up to two days of direct business support, delivering a diagnostic analysis which reviews the menu offer, service delivery, purchasing, marketing, staff skills and overall financial performance
- A bespoke action plan with benchmarks, targets for growth and timescales for achievement
- A review of progress and telephone support as required
Experiencing Scotland Workshops
One day group workshops are an introduction to the ways in which tourism businesses (with food and drink operations) can put a stronger and more profitable emphasis on local produce.
FREE business updates
Free quarterly e-newsletters give innovative culinary ideas from across the globe; examples of food tourism excellence; case studies focusing on business growth delivered by capitalising on provenance; top tips for showcasing the outstanding produce available in Scotland; information on working with local suppliers; plus links to the latest food and drink-related events and resources.
There are also a number of free downloadable resources that could inspire your business. From thoughts on what is Scottish food and drink, information as to what’s in season and how to find a local supplier; to factsheets on how you can make the most of Scotland's natural larder, top tips on incorporating Scottish produce into your business and inspiration from other businesses with a menu of the month.
Fiona Ozdem, Experiencing Scotland Project Manager at Scottish Enterprise said:
“Since Experiencing Scotland was launched by Scottish Enterprise in 2010, the project’s one-to-one advice and business support has supported more than 80 tourism companies, collectively reaching over 14 million visitors. On average, this has resulted in an average yearly increase in food and drink sales turnover of 10% for each of the businesses taking part.”
The website has many case studies on different types of tourism businesses that Experiencing Scotland has helped. From small independent operators, to big international businesses. If your tourism business has a food and drink offering, then you may be eligible for support.
Providing Scottish food and drink for your visitors will improve your bottom line. Research has shown that visitors are prepared to pay 15% more for food that they know is of Scottish or regional origin. Those businesses that enhance the visitor experience by providing local food have reported higher levels of sales - on average 20% more per year.
Find out how you can drive business through provenance with Experiencing Scotland. Our handy food and drink intelligence resource also has plenty of food for thought on how you can get involved in this year’s Year of Food and Drink 2015.