Pivoting a Business During COVID

Transforming a restaurant supplier’s entire business amidst a global pandemic

//The Challenge

An international restaurant supplier’s online marketplace, which sold specialty goods unavailable from the wholesale market to restaurants, never found traction and was bleeding money for the company. Their Innovation Lab hired Manifold–whose expert agile methodology finds simple, elegant solutions to complex commercials problems–to pivot and monetize their business. As the engagement began, the pandemic hit, further exacerbating the company’s losses but opening up new value prop possibilities as the entire restaurant industry transitioned from dining to take-out.

Service Line:

Growth & Innovation


Restaurant Supply


North America


Pivot and monetize business


Align solution to changing market needs


Increased top of funnel leads by 50%

//The Solution

Manifold immediately assembled a team of marketing and subject matter experts who brainstormed ways to pivot the business, focusing on different areas of the supply chain. After interviewing and surveying countless restaurant owners and chefs it became clear that they already knew where and how to buy specialty ingredients. However, they had no idea how to elevate packaging for their take-out orders

As a result, Manifold decided to pivot their business to an e-commerce packaging site that supplied restaurant operators with the best packaging solutions for their menus, along with general guidance about how to build and grow successful takeout businesses.

Manifold’s food and beverage SMEs and go-to-market team narrowed the buyer to independent restaurant owners with five or fewer locations and who didn’t have packaging strategies in place. Manifold found that this same buyer was using a default vendor’s packaging or buying materials directly from Amazon. These restaurants really cared about their takeout experience and wanted their food to be high-quality and fresh with eye-catching, well-branded, and eco-friendly packaging.

Manifold’s developers and designers then concept tested and validated the ideas. To enhance the actual packaging, they digitized it by adding QR codes that customers could scan to get a coupon or a sneak peek at an upcoming menu.

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After digitizing the packaging itself, Manifold focused on overhauling the website and brand, transitioning it from a speciality goods marketplace to an e-commerce packaging site, and launching an omni-channel marketing campaign to drive traffic to the new website.

Manifold first sourced and uploaded images of the packaging inventory onto the website. The Product and Development team then tested different wireframes and prototypes, incorporating traditional and cutting-edge e-commerce solutions to help restaurants order as fast as possible. Finally, marketing experts rebranded the site and updated its messaging.

Despite having to host the supplier’s new website on an old backend provider, Manifold significant improved the site by making it more user-friendly, stable, and fast.

Knowing restaurant owners are always running around and not online 24/7, the go-to-market team poured energy into creating a marketing strategy that merged online and offline awareness-building. The tactics included cold calling restaurant owners and sending direct mailers and sample boxes with QR codes linking to the website. Online tactics included running digital ads, conducting email outreach and launching a powerful demand generation campaign to bolster site traffic.

//The Results

Since Manifold’s marketing experts communicated and worked so well with the talented developers, in just one year, the supplier’s website was 50% faster and included 50 new restaurant and packaging-specific blog posts. Most importantly, website traffic increased 58%.

And since Manifold’s go-to-market team was able to assemble and learn from a network of food and beverage SMEs so quickly, it was easy to target buyers, fine tune messaging, and efficiently build the supplier’s lead generation program from scratch.

In just 6 months, the supplier received 500 qualified leads, increasing top of funnel activity by 50%. Of these 500 leads, 20% converted to a phone consultation and 3% of these consultations converted to purchases.

Never afraid to complement cutting-edge technique with “old-school” approaches, Manifold sent out 100 sampling kits which had a 3% conversion to phone consultations and then a 33% conversion to purchase. The direct mailers had a 1% conversion to purchase.

If you’re looking to pivot and rebrand your business through an interactive, agile, and focused strategy, please reach out.

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Ready to learn more about how Manifold Group can help you transform your business?

Reach out today to speak with an expert.

Jordan Katz
Phyllis Lee
Partner, SVP of Marketing

Case Studies

Case Studies

Case Studies

Case Studies