How Sons & Daughters wins from its cost of living price pivot

We highlight lessons learnt from gourmet sandwich brand Sons & Daughters’ 40% price drop in response to the cost of living crisis
Sons and Daughters sandwich
With UK restaurant costs skyrocketing, chefs and owners are desperately searching for ways to not only keep diners happy from a price perspective but, sadly for many, simply to keep the doors open going into 2023 as the ongoing cost of living crisis bites down hard.

Gourmet sandwich brand Sons & Daughters recently made headlines for announcing a hefty price reduction for almost all of its options as a result of the crisis, with all bar its seasonal specials priced at £6.50, down from £11, from 28th November – a reduction of 40%.

The change came about after the sandwich artisans asked its customer base how best it could help during the crisis, with the resounding answer being smaller sandwiches, with the same ingredients, for smaller prices.

Indeed, many of its customers said that they “struggled to finish” the full-sized sandwiches previously offered, with others claiming they “would come a lot more often if the sandwiches were cheaper”.

Taking this feedback, restaurateur owners James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy switched to less sandwich fillings in slow-fermented white rolls, replacing the previous array of breads, which included fresh baguettes, white bloomers and focaccia.

While a simple move at its core, using less of every ingredient to offer a cheaper product, there are a couple of key lessons to be learned from Sons & Daughters’ cost of living price pivot – lessons that might then be adopted by many in the fast casual restaurant space.

Meal deal wins

Image: Sons + Daughters
While the big news is that Sons & Daughters sandwiches are now £6.50 each, the brand hasn’t abandoned £11 prices completely, as they now offer a new meal deal: one of their white roll sandwiches, one side, and a can of soft drink for £11.

Considering in January 2021, as noted by The Food Connoisseur, the addition of a side and soft drink was an extra £2.50, Sons & Daughters have technically increased their prices here by an extra £2 per meal.

And with £11 the previous price for just a sandwich, an £11 meal deal is sure to be attractive to its ever-growing fan base going into 2023.
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Addressing potential weaknesses

Image: Sons + Daughters
One of the standout comments made by James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy in a recent interview about their price change with Eater was that “almost the majority of positive comments about our sandwiches came with the caveat that they either were quite expensive, challengingly big or quite possibly both.”

They readily admit that there has been an underlying criticism of their offerings from many regulars, saying they had become “more and more aware of even big fans of our sandwiches saying they were almost too big. We want S+D to be a regular lunch spot for people, not an occasional treat that possibly necessitates a nap afterwards.”

Making major changes to foundational offerings isn’t something a fast casual brand does lightly, permanently or otherwise, but to do so during a cost of living crisis, including customers’ financial happiness as part of its incentive, seems a win-win from a trial perspective.

Not to say Sons & Daughters are at all taking advantage of the situation, but the lessons they’ll learn from this fundamental pivot during this period of financial uncertainty will be invaluable.
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