Business Growth Hub Advisor Monique had a virtual chat with Ana Villegas (owner of tapas bar, Abejas Tapas) to talk about how the tapas bar pivoted from a traditional hospitality venue to an online strategy over lockdown.
Ana, what did your business look like before lockdown?
Abejas Tapas launched in Hatch in November 2019. I am from Granada in the South of Spain and I have a passion for people to experience authentic tapas from that region. Many of the recipes we use are family recipes and much of the wine, cheese and tapas is imported from the region. I have always been passionate about my home and wanted to bring a piece of my home to Manchester.
Wow, November 2019. So, you were not open long before lockdown happened?
Yes, we closed during lockdown. This wasn’t ideal as we had only been open a few months, but it made us think outside the box and propelled us to think about an online strategy.
So how did you transition to selling online?
We already had much wine and we thought it would be great idea to have a box filled with cheese, charcuterie, olives, flatbread and wines that would get delivered straight to your home. So Board in a Box was born. At the start of lockdown ‘Board in a Box’ quickly became very popular. Our customers loved receiving a box with quality food and we had many new customers too. Board in a Box became our focus while our tapas bar was closed.
How did you market your Board in a Box?
Mainly via our social media and of course word of mouth. Manchesters Finest also did an article about us, which helped generate new customers too.
Did you have to design a website to facilitate these orders?
Yes and no. We use Google Forms and our customers place orders through the form. Once they have placed the order, I follow up with an email to take payment. It is still a manual process, so we are currently working on having a full e-commerce website. However, Google Forms allowed us to start quickly and prove that we have a great concept.
Since you have re-opened do you still offer Board in a Box?
Yes! It is here to stay. We have just secured our first corporate client who has ordered 65 boxes for their staff. As we are coming up to Christmas, we hope to do more corporate gifting boxes and market the boxes as presents. They make great presents, so it makes sense.
To find out more about Abejas Tapas or Board in a Box visit: www.abejatapasbar.com
GC Business Growth Hub has supported Abejas Tapas to develop their marketing, sales and e-commerce offer.
Find out more about the Hub’s new Business on the Go programme and register your interest below.