Surf and Turf – The modern way

In an exclusive interview with QuickBite, Annaliese Hughes from Delicious Dining, a hospitality group based in the south of England, talks about the latest addition to their portfolio and one of Hampshire’s rising stars – Shrimp and Burger.

QuickBite Magazine – March 2015

In the wonderful world of food, restauranteurs, chefs and owners are all looking to expand the palates of the nation. Some will come up with new, innovative, menus or designs whilst others will put a twist on a classic and get it right.

One such location is Shrimp and Burger based in Southampton, Hants, whose mixture of tasty seafood and hearty burgers have seen the locals flock in since their November opening last year. The current menu offers an exploration in taste with a range of Prawn, Burger and Hot Dog options from the classic Mac ‘n’ Cheese with a shrimp twist, to its southern soul Louisiana burger and New York style vendor hot dogs.

Described by some as a ‘shack style eatery’ Shrimp and Burger has been created to offer their diners a relaxed, laid back atmosphere, where locals can enjoy a tasty meal in rather eclectic settings. Located in what is now known as Southampton’s ‘bar district’, Bedford Place, the 50 seater restaurant plays on both its location and themes of the sea, with furniture made from salvaged wood and battered oil drums. The quirky design features continue with an array of ‘on-trend’ glassware and packaging, all of which add to the idea that this is a place in-keeping with the ‘urban-vibe’ of the area.

“Described by some as a ‘shack style eatery’ Shrimp and Burger has been created to offer their diners a relaxed, laid back atmosphere”

Indeed most of the success attributed to the venture has been down to a proactive social media campaign, such is the way of modern marketing. The business has grown quickly and earned itself a cult following with social media users actively invited to share their views. Marketing Manager Annaliese said: “This is a really interesting time for us as a group, bringing something new to the city and launching the brand almost entirely through social media. “We are keen to constantly engage with our audience and many of the Shrimp and Burger creations came from listening to our future customers.” “We attempted to engage our potential customers by allowing them to become part of the Shrimp and Burger journey, from updates and images through the design process to asking them what milkshakes they wanted to see on the menu.

“Our audience are constant social media users; effective use of the tools available along with an interesting and relevant content structure enables us to have a strong online presence. “Many of our customers become almost like brand ambassadors for Shrimp and Burger, sharing and liking posts and tweets and engaging in conversations that reference the brand and/or product. “Social Media allows us to deliver content directly to our customers instantly, whether it be a flash promotion offering 30% off, or a limited edition burger the ability to interact in real time is crucial to the core of the business.” Moving forward Shrimp and Burger’s chef, Wilson Bourges, has entered their most popular burger, The Louisiana, into the National Burger Awards after reading about it online.

Talking about their hope for the competition and indeed the future, Shrimp and Burger’s manager Andy Maynard said: “We have only been open a short while and to be shortlisted is already a massive achievement and we are looking forward to going head-to-head with the other contenders in March. “This is exactly what we have been working towards and it is a step in the right direction.”

When asked about the reception that Shrimp and Burger has had, Andy added: “We made a conscious decision to have a ‘soft’ launch, by which I mean there was no grand opening, invites or opening night hype! “Our Facebook campaign was a strong indicator that we had created something our audience really bought in to, and we expected to be busy judging by the posts and reservation requests we received. On opening night we simply opened the doors and welcomed anyone and everyone until we were full.

Annaliese added: “Eating out should above all be an enjoyable, fun experience and we hopefully we’ve achieved this with Shrimp and Burger.”

“I think we were all a little shocked at just how busy we were in that opening weekend! We have a no reservation policy at Shrimp and Burger and in our opening week we were almost always full with a waiting list for tables and a phone that didn’t stop ringing. “As with any new venue you expect there to be a buzz and excitement that naturally drops, however Shrimp and Burger has sustained an excellent reception from customers and now 3 months on it shows no signs of slowing down.” Annaliese added: “Eating out should above all be an enjoyable, fun experience and we hopefully we’ve achieved this with Shrimp and Burger.”