The latest news, views and research from our team.

Stone & River Opportunity: Office Manager

We’re looking for an enthusiastic, curious and organised person to help us with the day-to-day running of our consultancy firm.

Four steps to refocus your business for growth

The eating and drinking out market continues to be a difficult place to thrive. Yet we believe that there are a number of steps that a business can take to re-focus and find growth again.

Three critical factors for successful restaurant growth

What levers can be pulled to ensure successful restaurant growth? We explore three examples, alongside some valuable lessons learned from the industry.

Engaging with brands: “People want the entire experience” says Lizzie Ryan of Imbiba

In the latest of our Value Creation interviews, Stone & River caught up with Lizzie Ryan, Director at Imbiba.

The Tonkotsu model for success

Stone & River's Lucy Orr-Ewing caught up with Rob Palmer-Williams, one of Tonkotsu's operations managers, to discuss their growth story so far.

Our annual report with CGA reveals momentum brands in out of home food and drink

Exclusive analysis from CGA and Stone & River uncovers consumers’ view of favourite British eating and drinking out brands.

“Entrepreneurs need to find the right chemistry with investors,” says Robin Rowland of TriSpan

In the latest of our Value Creation interviews, Stone & River caught up with Robin Rowland, Operating Partner at Trispan LLP.

From property to proposition: the shifting landscape of the pub sector

Pubcos and Brewers recognise the importance of proposition yet many remain property-led. Leaders need to decide which direction to take: our thoughts on the way forward.

Businesses with purpose: "It's the big societal change," says Edin Basic, founder, Firezza

In the first of our Value Creation industry interviews, Firezza founder Edin Basic tells us how growing businesses now need a clear purpose if they are to succeed.

The need to differentiate: how has the approach to Value Creation changed?

Pressure on the top line. Pressure on the bottom line. Staffing challenges. Brexit. The volatility in the restaurant sector isn’t changing any time soon. But what does it mean to create value?

Brexit: Can we make any sense of it?

Stone & River's Molly Johnson-Jones recently appeared on BBC Radio London to discuss the Brexit challenges facing the food and retail industries. In this article, Molly provides a summary of her thoughts.

Our news

In this newsletter we look back on some of the work we're particularly proud of from last year, share some of our recent insight and look ahead to 2019.

A strong festive period for drinks-led operators, but plenty to consider in the months ahead

We consider how the strong trading results from the Christmas period can give drinks-led operators the confidence to be bold and proactive in 2019.

The evolving role of the physical store

With consumer expectations across multichannel never higher, retailers are increasingly innovating with the role of the store to keep it relevant for changing customer behaviour. This article takes a look at some examples.

Partnerships in grocery: desperation or opportunity?

The grocery market's M&A and partnership activity of the last 18 months has been justified by several purported reasons and benefits. We set out to identify whether the partnership announcements were driven by desperation or opportunity.

From Big-Box to Small Format

An increasing number of big-box retailers are exploring smaller, high street formats. We look at some of those who have been successfully testing this format, why they are doing it and what this means for the future of bricks-and-mortar.

Ocado’s international uptake: what does this mean for the future of grocery shopping?

Ocado’s success securing international partners signals a shifting approach to online grocery. We explore the reasons why and what this means for grocery shopping's future.

Our report with CGA reveals momentum brands in out of home food and drink

With the industry undergoing mass change, are you set up to win? Our report explores those brands best achieving momentum with customers, and how others can achieve it

The Art of Not-Knowing: Leading in an Age of Uncertainty

We know that the complexity and uncertainty of the world of work is impacting on leadership. How should leadership developers respond? From conversations with leaders across public and private sectors - our latest report.

Automation: what does it mean for Retailers?

Retail is one of the sectors most ripe for automation, offering business leaders the jewel of improved productivity. We explore why.

The Evolution of the Pub: how the industry is meeting modern day requirements

Pubs are on the steady decline, right? Wrong. Pubs are set to outperform the rest of the eating out market for the first time in recent memory. We explore what’s driving this change.

Brexit: why the Retail & Leisure industries need to get radical with their people strategy

Within Retail and Leisure, there is one Brexit certainty: management teams need to be more inventive about how they staff their businesses. Here’s why, and how to do it.

Bundles and Subscriptions in Retail: battling for customer attention and securing loyalty

As trade moves to digital, the battle for consumer attention increases. We look at how retailers are increasingly exploring bundles and subscriptions to meet this challenge.

Agile: How can Learning & Development teams get buy-in from CEOs?

Many companies recognise the benefit of launching Agile within an organisation. Yet some CEOs are hesitant about doing so: how can L&D teams help secure their buy-in?

The benefits of concessions in Retail: how best to make them work

Both traditional retailers and online specialists are converging on the middle ground, omnichannel, model. We explore what makes for a successful concession.

Slowdown in the Casual Dining Sector – A blip or a sign that “Winter is Coming”?

Do the recent difficult series of results in the casual dining sector, with Fulham Shore the latest example, reflect the industry as a whole?

Two Key Strategies to Win in the Food and Beverage Industry

The Food and Beverage Industry (Casual Dining, QSRs and Food-to-Go Chains) can learn something from the simple lessons provided by the 'Product Life Cycle' theory.

Transforming an organisation’s DNA: moving beyond recycling to genuine culture change

Never has the demand been so great for organisational transparency, flexibility and integrity. Our insight on what it takes to achieve genuine culture change.

Serving notice on grocers: what the Amazon – Whole Foods deal could mean for the industry

The announcement of the Amazon – Whole Foods deal sent shockwaves through the retail world. But what could the genuine impact be for UK grocers, and how should they respond?

Taking the lid off leadership

What do individuals really need to know when they become leaders? We've kicked off a research project where we will speak to leaders across multi-sector organisations to answer the question: what is the experience of being a leader today?

Join our fast-growing team

We have varied and rewarding Analyst, Senior Consultant and Engagement Manager roles available: we'd love to hear from you if you'd be interested in working across our exciting projects.

The at-home food delivery market is booming, but could the bubble burst?

Faced with poor unit economics, will Deliveroo use their Roobox concept to move into 'own brand' products and differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market?

Opportunity or risk? 5 Reasons Nando's are hesitant to sign up to Deliveroo

This year the delivery market should continue its rapid growth. We look at the 5 reasons restaurants are hesitant to embrace delivery, and what they can do to allay their fears.

Securing lifetime customer loyalty in an eCommerce world

Traditional loyalty programmes are old news as online-only businesses create innovative ways to keep customers coming back.

Designing for Thriving

Why building an agile business means rethinking traditional approaches to Organisation Design.

How habits trump loyalty schemes, but loyalty schemes trigger habits and inspire action

As Itsu launches a loyalty app in 2017, following Starbucks’ success, debate reopens on how important loyalty is in the sector and whether to create an app or scheme.

The perfect storm is brewing in the Informal Eating Out Industry

The winds are changing. It is already clear that 2017 will prove pivotal for many businesses in the Fast Casual, Pub and Food-To-Go industries, with the viability of some business models called into question. We explore the key issues.

Why eating out should still be a treat

We explore the potential for greater commercial benefit and improved brand loyalty through driving innovation within restaurant chains.

5 Things UK Retailers can expect for Black Friday 2016

The phrase ‘Black Friday’ meant little just 5 years ago, but is today the highlight of the retail calendar. We explore what retailers can expect from 2016.

It's time to change the way we change

Organisations across industries are facing unprecedented levels of disruption. Transformation is imperative, and speed is the key to survival. We offer our insight.

In focus: Driving the in-store experience

Outstanding customer service remains a crucial point of distinction for the in-store experience. We explore two examples to show why.

The High Street and innovation: Let's change the narrative

The demise of the High Street is a popular media topic, but ignores what could be one of the most exciting periods for retail bricks and mortar.

Fast forward: Digital and diversity

Digital is not simply a technology product. How businesses can adopt an agile approach to accelerate their diversity agenda.

Addressing the ‘innovators dilemma’

Is your business blinkered to disruption, running quickly but in the wrong direction? Harnessing innovation is key to building commercial advantage.

Disruption in retail: Innovating to compete

With the pace of technology and digital disruption, retailers cannot afford to embrace change at the same speed as they may have done before.

Egremont International relaunches with combined consulting and digital capability

Egremont International combines its consumer-facing consulting heritage with new digital capability: Stone & River

Engaging ‘Digital Natives’

With the accelerating pace of technological advancement, it is hard for Retailers to foresee the role of the physical store in the future omnichannel retail experience.

Retail and the Living Wage: engagement catalyst

The retail sector will be heavily impacted by the National Living Wage. Despite initial trepidation, taking the right approach can represent change for good.

Retail banking: the power of the personal

With customers still seeking personal interaction, the branch and contact centre remain crucial facets of the omnichannel journey: a cohesive strategy is essential

What does the Amazon-Morrison’s partnership mean for UK grocery?

A bricks and mortar grocer taking on a digital partner in the UK is nothing new. However, Morrisons allowing Amazon to deliver its products on their ‘Pantry’ is a first.

Retailing and the (digital) Gap

Studies continue to show the competitive benefits of digitisation. So why do we see a yawning gap between the digital haves, have somes and have nots?

Putting the ‘retail’ into financial services

As the financial services industry embraces the digital revolution and its pace of change, and looks to strengthen relationships with consumers, customer-centricity has become a vital driver of success.

Banking: Young people prefer face-to-face contact

Young people may be ‘early adopters’ when it comes to the latest smartphone technology and the digital world, but are reluctant to use the platform when making significant banking decisions, according to our survey with YouGov.

Placing the branch at the heart of the omnichannel journey

Much has been made of the demise of the bank branch, but with major brands making significant investment in the format, it still suggests a strong commitment to bricks and mortar.

The customer centricity conundrum

Focusing on the frontline experience