The Importance of First Impressions





We’ve been recently exploring the importance of ‘first impressions’ for a hotel concept we’re working on and we created a 360 animation.

Each stage of the customer journey must be analysed, especially during these challenging times, with track and trace now becoming mandatory, you need to reassure your customers at every stage.

There are many cost-effective ways this can implemented and we’d be delighted to help.  We hope you like it!

To learn about how you can create a great first impression for your restaurant or hospitality business contact or fill in a contact form here.

GRIF Marketplace, a virtual conference – 24th June 12pm -4pm GST (9am- 1pm GMT/UK time)

We’d like to invite you to GRIF Marketplace, a virtual conference taking place on the 24th June 12pm -4pm GST (9am- 1pm GMT/UK time). It is open to operators, owners and industry influencers.

Please find the full programme here featuring speakers such as:

Peter Backman, Principal, Peter Backman Foodservice Consultancy
Emma Banks, VP Food & Beverage Strategy & Development EMEA, Hilton
Mario C. Bauer, Co-Founder of Curtice Brothers; Co-Founder of White Space Partners; Brand Ambassador at AmRest
Chris Daniels, General Manager, Munch delivery app
Victor Lugger, Founder, Big Mamma Group

The beauty of the virtual conference is you can pop in and out but do make sure you lock your diary for
the two Harrison sessions:

1. Riding the wave – Main Stage, 12:50 – 1:10 GST with Paul Wainwright
2. What is next for hotels F&B? – Breakout Session, 2:30 – 3:00 GST with Dean Concannon.

Contact me if you have any questions –


Restaurants of the Future

Restaurants of the Future



As we start to reflect on the impact that COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on the Hospitality and Leisure sector, it’s time to consider spaces that are a lot more flexible and adaptable, with transitions that can be easily made without sacrificing large numbers of occupancy.

Traditionally Restaurant Interior Design and Bar Design is very fixed, screens are welded, bolted to the floor and packed full to maximise on cover counts. However, with society Post COVID-19 we believe a less permanent approach will be required from the very initial design and concept phases. Screens that have a sense of permanence yet are designed in a way to shield and protect without forfeiting on aesthetics.

So we at Harrison have put together this vision of the future to show that social distanced restaurants can be beautifully designed without the need for clinical screens and graphics.

If you would like to contact us to see how we can assist you and your business please contact either…

(UK and Europe)
Richard Samarasinghe

Keith Anderson-

Paul Wainwright-


Stay. Socialise. Relax – Islington’s Best

In the second of our review of recent projects, we’re turning our attention to hotel F&B.

We were approached by a global hotel chain to re-design a ground floor restaurant and bar with a proposition that narrated the history and background of Islington.

Our design solution offers subtle references to the local history of Coventry build the foundation of the concept, whilst remaining contemporary in style to complement the architecture of the space.  Delicate elegance, is a contemporary take on the principles of Georgian design, overlaid with contemporary pattern and colour, to generate a warm and inviting environment. Quirky features, from the Isle of Capri fit-out, allow truly unique design elements to personalise the space.

Warm tones, curved detailing and soft upholsteries generate a relaxed, but elegant restaurant space to suit dining.  Bespoke ceiling features, screens and artwork create an individual narrative, unique to the site and its local history.

Punchy signage enhances street level presence and ensures high impact to passers-by, residents, event and casino customers.  Quirky internal wayfinding creates an engaging and more personal arrival, whilst a relaxed check in sets the tone.

To view our concept presentation follow this link.

Storytelling – really connect with your customers.

Behind some of the greats in the business, there’s often an origin story. Richard Branson started his first business out of a public phone booth, known in the creative world as ‘the hero’s journey’. These stories have gripped us since mankind first huddled around the fire, telling engaging, potentially life-saving tales of the tribe.  We are all storytelling creatures.

Hollywood screenwriting instructor Robert McKee argues that stories “fulfil a profound human need to grasp the patterns of living — not merely as an intellectual exercise, but within a very personal, emotional experience.” Creating an immersive experience that tells the origin story of a product – and where it’s heading – can be an effective way to engage with customers on a deeper level than more traditional marketing methods. The key to making them work – the same as Hollywood blockbusters and tales around the campfire – is memorable, instructional storytelling that resonates with the audience.

Experiential marketing is still working. Developments such as the €16m expansion plan for the Guinness Storehouse (Ireland’s most popular visitor attraction), Disney’s Star Wars Hotel and Urban Adventure, a new concept we are currently developing. Urban Adventures, a unique, immersive, adrenaline-fuelled, extreme sports activity entertainment concept. Building on all the guest’s senses to create F&B that is a core part of its DNA.

These days, companies are more likely to use immersive experiences to reach new and existing customers via pop up that showcase brand innovations. Even for celebrities, institutions and IP-based products, telling the story of the brand now need to be more engaging than a few boards of old photographs, a shelf of ‘packaging through the ages’ and behind-the-scenes How-It’s-Done videos.  Even when your product is well established, how can the story go deeper?

That’s where sensation comes into the picture – at Cadbury World, the Heath Robinson-style gurgling, purple ‘chocolate machine gives visitors a taste of what’s in store,

Of course, it’s a good idea to make sure the story you’re telling isn’t a Tall Tale.  Consumers are only ever a few clicks away from a deep dive into a company’s public profile. Visitor attractions ought not only to reflect the sensations you want your brand to conjure up with loyal and new customers but also be able to go through the ups and downs in the history of your organisation and pluck out the tales that demonstrate what the company is really like and what the brand stands for. And it’s OK to admit to mistakes (short-lived changes in brand recipes that caused a public outcry, for example) – that makes you more relatable; more human.

When brands get it right, their visitor attractions morph into something beyond a marketing exercise and become tourist destinations in their own right. Places like the Jamison Distillery and Legoland ask their audiences to travel and pay for a brand experience.

Harrison is obsessed with telling beautiful stories for brands simply designed for people.

Creatively driven. Passionate. Provocative.

It’s your story. It’s yours to tell. Find an honest, engaging way to show people not only what or how, but why your company does what it does they will feel connected to your brand. That’s human nature. We specialise in storytelling and creating brands that are underpinned by the hero’s journey, why no drop us a line or email us.


What is your competitive advantage?

We can all easily convince ourselves that our business is different. We can believe your product or service is truly ground-breaking.

“If customers could see how good we are…”

“If people realised how we could help them”

“Don’t people realise our product is of better quality than….”

I am sure you have probably uttered something similar either recently or in times past. When customers do understand and believe the advantage of buying from you rather than your competitor, it makes the difference.

Whether you’re making jet engines, selling advertising space or financial services, you have to show why you are a better choice than your competitors.

It’s also important to recognise that one of your competitors might be inaction or something totally different.

A customer may decide your time-saving solution is not for them and stick with a heavy workload or may decide to save time in a completely different way. The competition isn’t always a rival company.

So with all this in mind, we reach two key points.

What makes you different from the competition? What is your value proposition?

People have to see and believe your value for themselves. Customers must understand and appreciate your value and place in the market.

Does this resonate with you? The reason many are frustrated is that in an attempt to prove their value to the market, they miss the obvious. It’s not what you say, it is what is interpreted. Everything we do to promote our business is subjective, the success of a strategy, value proposition or competitive marketing plan is in what the prospects and customers believe and act upon.

I know that developing a competitive market position is challenging in today’s world, but it isn’t impossible. I help people put these together all the time. Having these clearly articulated so a new starter can ‘get you’ is where you should begin.

I’d appreciate your thoughts?