Bury St Edmunds-based Food Innovation Solutions helps restaurants deliver what customers want

Members of the team at Food Innovation Solutions (FIS)

Members of the team at Food Innovation Solutions (FIS) - Credit: Archant

A good restaurant experience tends to feel effortless - the food, the service and the atmosphere are just as they should be.

But for many eateries, to get to a position where everything works just so is not something that happens naturally. It has been achieved through hours of research, development and training.

Just ask Mike Faers, managing director of Food Innovation Solutions (FIS), who helps restaurant chains and food businesses understand what their customers’ want and how to deliver it.

Over the years, FIS has worked with a clutch of well-known restaurant and food brands from Giraffe, Carluccio’s and Ben & Jerry’s to Dominos, Tesco and Greene King.

The EADT/EDP Future 50 business started in Bury St Edmunds, where it still has an office dedicated to the consumer research arm of the business. Three years ago it also opened a fully-equipped product development suite in Waterloo near London’s South Bank, where its team of chefs and nutritionists work with customers on their menu development. It’s location in the capital means clients from food businesses can easily visit and talk with the FIS team.

“We offer a one-stop shop,” explained Mike.

“We conduct consumer research into what our clients’ customers really want and then work with them to create new menus, design supply chains, train staff and implement this all into organisations.”

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Mike says because he and his team work with numerous operators, they are well-positioned to identify trends in the restaurant world - “We know what it takes to win in the industry” – and offer a level of expertise that many businesses can’t muster in-house.

He continued: “Food is not the only reason people go to restaurants - you also need good customer service, a nice environment and value for money. The perfect restaurant has all four of these elements absolutely connected with their target consumer.

“And then they must work hard at keeping diners interested so they return - this is about maintaining a conversation with relevant offers and specials. It’s about maintaining and improving - restaurant operators who don’t evolve will one day find they have become irrelevant.”