Case study

We were delighted to interview Dough and Deer to find out a little more about their delicious pizza business.  They shared great insight and highlighted some of the marketing challenges they face.

Explain Dough and Deer in your own words

Bold and British, we create delicious Neapolitan style wood-fired pizzas in our military green Land Rover Defender using a sourdough-style base, our own sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and carefully selected British toppings. Simplicity is the key. We are based in South West London and travel to events all around the South East.

“I love the freedom of the job, and meeting so many different and varied people.”

How did you come up with the idea for Dough and Deer?

In 2015, I’d been working in the same field for eight years and was getting frustrated by the culture and lack of progression. I really wanted to do something for myself. I went to the Isle of Wight Festival and spent most of the weekend queuing for woodfired pizza, and I thought ‘this is the kind of thing I want to be doing.’ It was my brother that encouraged me to make it a reality.

At the time, pizza trucks were a relatively new idea, a lot of traders had converted incredibly unreliable and slow Citroen HY vans for their ovens. Instead, we rescued an old Land Rover Defender from an airfield in Somerset, and kitted it out with a woodfired oven. I’d been advised to build my brand around private functions, and the Land Rover fitted the concept of the wholesome British lifestyle that our potential clients were looking to enjoy.

How have you grown the business?

Over the first year, we catered six or seven events. I focused on putting together a website and learning the basics of SEO. I was lucky that wood-fired pizza trucks were very much on trend, but there were very few companies offering it – maybe only five or six in the South East at the time – and the enquiries soon started rolling in.
To keep up with demand, in 2016 I bought a pizza trailer and kitted out another Land Rover with an oven, but it’s difficult to find good, reliable staff, who are able to fully manage an event and want to work anti-social weekend hours all summer, so I have since consolidated the business and we now run two ovens.
I continued to work my full time job during the week, doing Dough and Deer at the weekend, until 2018 when I decided to concentrate full time on the business. Last year, we catered for 140 events.

Who are your clients?

We focus entirely on private functions, many of which are weddings or corporate events. However, we’ve done everything from VIP parties through to catering film sets, and even Eton College’s leavers’ party. The only public event that we do now is Henley Regatta – mainly because it’s great fun and also, from a marketing perspective, it’s a great place to get on the radar of prospective clients.

What does a typical day entail?

The bulk of our work takes place on weekends between May and August, so a typical weekday tends to be more laid back: responding to enquiries, ordering ingredients, making arrangements with clients, and, more often than not, fixing things!! We proof our dough for up to 72 hours so we start preparing that three days in advance of an event.
On the day of an event, I’ll be up early, getting the Land Rover ready and packed, making the sauce and then travelling over. It takes two hours for our ovens to get up to temperature, so we need to be on location two hours before any function. In the summer, we can be catering several functions on the same day – so it’s often a 20 hour day. You need the downtime over the winter to recover.

“You may have the best product in the world, but it’s no good if you’re not marketing yourself properly to your potential customers.”

What do you love about it and what are the challenges?

I love the freedom of the job and meeting so many different and varied people. I’m also passionate about the food we create and it’s so satisfying seeing happy customers. However, because of the nature of the business, you are working all day, every day throughout the summer weekends, which is not only exhausting but also makes seeing friends and family difficult. It is also very difficult to find staff who want to work those kinds of hours, so I have had to regularly call upon friends and family to help me out.

How does Feast & Quench help traders like yourself?

I see a lot of new traders getting the business side really wrong, despite having amazing products. Many of them don’t even have a website, and they’re reliant on agencies that charge a commission to secure customers. With Feast & Quench, they look after the marketing side for you. The customer finds you on the website and you’re immediately in direct contact with them to discuss the details and finalise the booking.

“With Feast & Quench, they look after the marketing side for you.”

What would you say to any food business, like yourself, considering joining Feast & Quench?

You may have the best product in the world, but it’s no good if you’re not marketing yourself properly to your potential customers. Having a strong content-driven website, backed up with SEO and PR, is something that all traders need but very few have the expertise to develop – and buying in that kind of expertise is extremely expensive. Working with Feast & Quench, you are accessing all those hugely valuable marketing skills and expertise for minimal cost. Ultimately, it’s a great way to get in front of customers, generate more direct enquiries and grow your business organically.

Promoting your business with Feast & Quench

We have over 20 years marketing experience and have worked with major global lifestyle brands in highly competitive spaces.  Whether you’re starting your business and looking for initial guidance to get it up and running or you’re an established company that wants to elevate itself to the next level, we can help.