Founded by MasterChef Champion Simon Wood, WoodKraft has certainly made an impact on Cheltenham’s food scene since it opened in December 2018. The restaurant is renowned for its brunch, lunch and Sunday roast menus delivered in its relaxed and informal setting on Regent Street.

Adapting quickly to each change in restrictions, WoodKraft has evolved to offer a takeaway service and At Home meal boxes, the latter of which can be delivered nationwide. BID Communications Assistant Alex Boulton spoke to James Kocerhan, WoodKraft’s General Manager, about why the Wood Restaurant Group chose Cheltenham, the pandemic and the importance of social media.

The restaurant’s location on Regent Street

Why did the Wood Restaurant Group decide to open in Cheltenham? How it is being based on Regent Street, known for its many great restaurants and cafes?

We opened our first restaurant in Manchester as that made sense with Simon being from Oldham. However, Wood is co-owned by Simon and Anna, who is from Gloucestershire, and we had always had aspirations to have another restaurant close to Anna’s roots. Cheltenham has always been a hub for independent and good quality restaurants, and we felt Regent Street was a perfect location for the type of food we wanted to create for WoodKraft. With its busy day time shopping, leisure and cultural scene, the town was a logical choice for us and Regent Street has been nothing short of a joy to operate from. Customers, neighbours and visitors are so friendly and have really welcomed our style of food and service. 

How have you adapted your services during the pandemic and how is it all going?

We adapted quickly and set about a home delivery service and reduced menu take out service in the first lockdown and that worked well for us. Re-opening in July with less covers and a different approach to service was a little more challenging, but we were thrilled at the support we received from our customers. 

This time around we have developed our Home Delivery offer even further and are pleased to be getting a great response. We are working closely with our Manchester restaurant to put together some exciting options for at-home dining, keeping it fresh and interesting mixing up our Wood fine dining and less formal WoodKraft menus to offer some real foodie weekend packages. We are also able to offer Nationwide delivery in partnership with DPD, which has been a major part of this being viable for us. 

WoodKraft’s At Home meal boxes, available for nationwide delivery

How important is social media to you as a business?

Social media is really important to us and is the main platform for us communicating to customers. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all play their part, albeit to different audiences. We have probably seen it play an even more important role during the pandemic as it’s the main way people can connect at the moment.

WoodKraft is open for takeaway on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 9am-3pm. Call 01242 580585 to order by phone.

WoodKraft At Home meal boxes are available to order at https://appless.app/HGXXE6/DO8NUK

Local businesses in Cheltenham can now accelerate and streamline their use of social media by claiming their free membership to Maybe*, a market-leading engagement platform that helps organisations use social media to increase customer engagement, footfall and sales.

As the pandemic has underlined the importance of an effective online presence for any business, Cheltenham BID are working with Marketing Cheltenham and Cheltenham Borough Council to offer businesses a free membership to the platform.

Maybe* is one of the ten companies that form the Government’s High Street Task Force, providing data, expertise, knowledge, training and support to those involved in helping to regenerate town and city centres across the country.

Whether you are just beginning to dip your toes into social media management, are in dire need of a social makeover or just fancy streamlining your tactics and goals, there are many ways that using Maybe* can benefit your business. These include:

Ultimately for businesses already active on social media, Maybe* aims to provide the tools to help them become more effective while sharing their successes. For the businesses who are not already on online platforms, they provide the training and inspiration to help them get started.

Businesses in Cheltenham are invited to access their free Maybe* account which includes access to social media support, help articles and weekly demos and webinars. Sign up here: https://www.maybetech.com/