Discover more from Futurestate Insights
Reimagining the role of The Good Food Guide
Turning a much-loved book into something new.
When we were asked by the lovely people at Waitrose to design a digital experience for the iconic restaurant bible The Good Food Guide, we identified that it had potential to play a much bigger role in the broader Waitrose ecosystem, and as such it’s a great example of how, with a little imagination, you can use an existing asset in new ways.
The Good Food Guide has long been one of the most respected restaurant guides in the world: the establishments featured are all reviewed in secret by independent reviewers and the ratings are free of any form of commercial influence. It’s always had high principles, and continues to do so.
When we were asked to design the guide’s first full digital experience, our instincts told us immediately that it would be tough to make this a viable paid-for digital service: it’s an extremely hard sector to monetise directly as it is swamped with free review content from a thousand sources.
Instead, we proposed making The Good Food Guide a complementary component of myWaitrose (Waitrose’s highly successful loyalty scheme) membership.
Promoted as a free benefit to all myWaitrose members, The Good Food Guide’s reach would be expanded manyfold and its value to its parent multiplied in line with that reach. People would still be able to pay for the guide online, and buy a print copy of course — or access it free by signing up to myWaitrose. Thus its role as a complement.
Complements are a critical component of many digital strategies: offering free or low-cost but high-value services as a complement to paid services. The Good Food Guide is a perfect example: a super-high standard guide to eating out that fits perfectly with Waitrose’s positioning as the quality supermarket for eating at home.
The design solution is intended to align directly with both its role as a myWaitrose complement and its qualitative positioning. Some content is accessible openly for social sharing and promotion, while the specific restaurant reviews are accessible only to paid or loyalty scheme users.
The experience is a direct contrast to the cluttered, booking-focused experiences that dominate today’s market.
The Good Food Guide is a service you can browse at leisure for inspiration or search purposefully — and in each case you access a carefully curated set of restaurants you can trust to be good.
It now sits perfectly as a complementary benefit for Waitrose’s loyal customers and has a place in the digital world that should see it flourish for many years to come.