Dating back to the 1850’s, Halsey’s Deli & Eatery (www.halseysdeli.co.uk) – based in Hitchin – is a well-known landmark in the town.
The company most recently changed hands in 2015 when Mark and Kim Henry bought the business from its previous owners. They wanted to modernise the business both physically and digitally, whilst maintaining its familiar and fondly perceived brand presence.
The town of Hitchin has around 100 coffee shops including high street chains such as Starbucks (located directly opposite Halsey’s), and competition is high. Promoting the business across all customer touch points was going to be important for turning this business around, starting with:
A new modernised interior
Halsey’s was an old-fashioned café with lots of pink fabrics and dated furnishings. Mark and Kim have updated the cafe to feature natural wood, greys and whites while keeping the cosy atmosphere the customers love.
A fresh offering
Halsey’s now offers both a place to sample foods from the deli and enjoy a light meal, coffee or a treat.
The eatery is designed so visitors can sit and watch the world go by, whilst enjoying high-quality ingredients. It is renowned for its wide selection of cheeses, pies, teas, coffees and its philosophy to source the best produce and make it available to the people of Hitchin and beyond.
The quality of the food on offer and the expertise behind it is conveyed on the website and in other communications through the use of attractive images.
An updated website
Mark and Kim worked with a web design agency to create the website. This took a few months and Mark – feeling so passionate about the business – wrote the content himself, leaving the agency to manage building the site and the design.
One of the reasons they chose this particular web design agency was because they offered flexible templates, making it easy to change the look of the site in the future if they need to.
According to Mark: “A .uk domain name is the only sensible domain to have and helps to position us as a UK and local business. Our website has helped to launch our new approach and position ourselves as one of the top eateries/delis in the county.”
“For us, our website is a virtual shop window and we use it to create intrigue to draw people in”
Social media promotions
Halsey’s is now almost always busy but Mark uses the website and social media to increase footfall on quieter days.
Halsey’s also runs occasional events in the evenings such as vegetarian nights and beer and food evenings. The website and social media are key to promoting these and provide a booking tool for reservations.
Halsey’s now has 1,665 Facebook followers and sees 2,000 monthly visitors to the website, a number that has been steadily growing by around 15% per month.
The homepage (with 45% of total visits), events, eatery and visit us pages (15% of total visits each) are the most frequently visited. The website’s shop pages experience greater traffic when Halsey’s events are promoted and booked online.
Face-to-face customer contact
Although the website and social media are now very important, Mark still feels that the face-to-face contact he has with his customers is one of the key reasons for the business’s success.
To top the revamp off, in 2016 Halsey’s was awarded a Fine Food Guild ‘Top 10 UK Food Establishment’ award – marked as their ‘proudest sign of the turnaround’.
Mark and Kim now look forward to many more years of running and owning this historical Hitchin landmark.