Local foodies set up popular platform - The Solihull Observer

Local foodies set up popular platform

Solihull Editorial 8th Sep, 2020   0

During lockdown, local foodies – Graham Jones and Marianne Kelly set up a new website which promotes local independent restaurants and food outlets in and around Solihull. 

The website – www.home-dine.co.uk – is still only a few months old but already features more than 75 of the top local pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and produce retailers Solihull has to offer and is receiving rave reviews online from the local community.

One reviewer states: “You guys have done such an amazing job supporting our small businesses. It means so much! Thank you.”

Another satisfied customer says: “Your website is fab. We’ve been out a lot more recently and using your website has been SO helpful.”

So far the website has received over 15,000 visitors, has 4,500 dedicated followers and has recently formed a partnership with Visit Solihull.

Founders, Graham and Marianne were due to get married next month but with the ongoing social distancing restrictions they decided to invest part of their wedding fund into their new venture.

They say doing this alongside their full-time jobs, home-schooling and squeezing in long over-due catch ups with friends and family has led to a very busy couple of months.

“It’s been a lot of very late nights setting it up, but it’s been worth it and we’ve been blown away by the support and take up.” Graham told the Solihull Observer.

“We really want everyone to know how many great food and drink independents we have in the area so we launched this as a membership club with exclusive offers to encourage people to discover new independents and support old favourites.”

Graham added: “Following on from the success of the government’s Eat Out To Help Out Scheme we also want to encourage people to keep spending. In these tough times it really is a case of use it or lose it.”

Co-founder Marianne continued: “We’d love as many people to join the home dine membership club as it offers so many benefits.

“It costs just £2.99 a month and takes less than two minutes to join and get instant access to the discount wallet. In this wallet are over 75 exclusive deals on digital cards for customers to use time and time again.

“Ten percent of what we make we also put back into a fund for independents to use for business improvements and our members get to vote how this is spent.”

The couple say the driver behind them setting up the home dine club was hearing how tough lockdown had been for many of the local independents and how for many, marketing budgets were a thing of the past.

“We will continue offer ongoing promotional support to our independents through our social channels and shareable content which is all free of charge. The only thing we ask from our independents to be a part of home dine is to offer an exclusive discount to our members, which in-turn drives more business their way.”

The couple have also added a bit of personality to Home Dine and have created some online blogs and a series of walking routes with independent pubs to share with the community.

Marianne continued: “The pandemic has been devastating for so many local businesses, so we made a decision to support our community as much as we could by shopping locally.

“Initially we struggled to find outlets offering services which had a collection or delivery option, but over the weeks we discovered marvellous stores who had adapted to these testing circumstances. The food and service we have tried has been amazing!”

Co-founder Graham Jones added: “Using independent shops such as those featured on our website drives about 13 times more income into our immediate economy, which could help Solihull recover financially from the impact of lockdown.

“Research from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies suggests that for every £1 spent, approximately 65p stays local, compared to just 5p in many cases when buying from a national retailer or website.

“If each household increased their spend by just £10 per week to support our local businesses, rather than national stores or websites, it could drive an estimated extra £20m into our economy.”

For more information and to support Home Dine visit www.home-dine.co.uk.


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