Restaurant to Retail: why Hawksmoor’s steak tie-up with Ocado makes sense

Restaurants are continuing to find innovative ways to maximize their offering and find new revenue streams to offset the seismic effects of lockdown. Hawksmoor, the upmarket steak chain, is no exception, having successfully pivoted in the summer of last year to offer a meat-focused meal kit box service – Hawksmoor at Home.

However, what makes them really stand out is their new supermarket approach, having struck a deal with Ocado to market a number of the restaurant brand’s steaks.

Available from the online supermarket since mid-February, the Hawksmoor steak range features individual prime cuts like rib-eye, sirloin, rump and fillet as well as larger cuts such as prime ribs porterhouse and T-Bone.

It is an interesting move and we decided to delve into the category with our friends at Taste Shakers, the restaurant to retail experts. We talked to their category expert David Marston who had some interesting data to share with us.

“An ideal time for Hawksmoor to target grocery”

“With the category in double-digit growth and beef consumption rising, Hawksmoor targeting the beef category in grocery makes sense,” David told us.

“Total beef products sold in UK retail is a category worth £4.7bn – this includes primary and processed beef, ready to cook products, chilled main meal accompaniments, ready meals and other beef products (Kantar, January 2021).

“Overall per capita consumption of beef grew by 2.3% in 2020 to 11.67kg’s / year (OECD). The category itself is in growth by 15.5% YOY, benefiting from trends in COVID with consumers buying more beef products.

“Total steak is worth a little over £809m and is growing by 22.1% YOY – this is why it makes it an ideal time for Hawksmoor to target grocery and Ocado with their products. Steak performed well in the past year, impacted in part due to strong seasonal performance in the Summer and around Easter (with good weather and the subsequent BBQ’s).”

Will Beckett, co-founder of Hawksmoor said at launch: “It has been a joy finding silver linings during this pandemic, which has been so difficult for restaurants and all the people whose livelihoods rely on them.

“Through Hawksmoor at Home [the restaurant’s home meal kit service], we’ve been able to support our farmers and bring a little Hawksmoor char and cheer into people’s homes. We are now continuing down this path by bringing the same steaks we cook in the restaurants to our own website and to Ocado.”

Each purchase of a steak, from either Ocado or the Hawksmoor website, comes with a link to the video masterclass with executive chef Matt Brown, with the move another great example of how restaurants are starting to grab opportunities that go beyond their traditional industry position.

Hawksmoor’s tie-up with Ocado makes sense from a category perspective, looks good, and provides a new way of buying steak. Rather than going to a butcher or a meat counter, a switched-on consumer can now conveniently buy restaurant steaks as part of their normal shop.

By providing cooking tips and masterclasses, Hawksmoor is also moving the buying of meat into a new realm. Aligning a sale with a video is another way of keeping customer satisfaction up whilst at the same time strengthening the brand for when the restaurants reopen.

Hawksmoor is perceived as a high-end brand and, by selling its steak, it is offering that same premium in retail. This could open up a swathe of restaurant products to tempt consumers into thinking differently about the way they shop.

Chandos Elletson
Chandos is the publisher and co-founder of PURE NPD. A former food writer for The Times, Chandos was also one of the three founders of Restaurant magazine and instrumental in the creation of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Chandos is also a winner of the Glenfiddich Food Writer of the Year award.

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