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The Right Royal Supper Club

The stage on your plate

In collaboration with the Royal Opera House, we explored service propositions to attract a new, younger audience so that they might develop a relationship with the Royal Opera House (ROH) over their lifetime. The project was designed to complement the ROH Open Up development project and enhance the experience of visiting to the Royal Opera House. Our final service proposition was a scalable supper club concept: the Right Royal Supper Club.

Insights #1: Aging audience

ROH customer data shows that only 20% of visitors are in the 18-35 year age bracket, with 80% of tickets bought by returning customers or friends. This shows they have a well established and loyal, but aging audience and importantly indicates an opportunity to inspire, engage and educate new, younger visitors.

Design response: In order to respect exisiting customers who are an important asset to ROH and who appreciate the more sophisticated rituals of the opera, the supper club concept proposes an entirely new iteration of the ROH experience through food and dining. By blending opera into a menu bought alive by performing waiting staff and musical interludes between courses, the opera is removed far enough from the traditional experience to both attract a new audience and simultaneously protect the expectations of loyal customers and opera aficionados.

Insights #2: Sell out shows

Performances in the main house at ROH tend to nearly always sell out with an average occupancy rate of 96%, meaning there isn’t currently scope for increasing demand for the repertoire in the main theatre. However, there is an important opportunity to diversifying income and begin growing the future audience. 

Design response: We proposed that the Right Royal Supper Club (RRSC) would operate as a pop-up dining concept within the ROH, making use of under used spaces such as the Crush Room, whilst also introducing younger visitors to different perspectives on the venue and the art form itself.

Insights #3: Frequency of visits

According to ROH customer data, two thirds of visitors only visit the venue once a year. 

Design response: By reframing the opera experience as a sociable meal out which the target audience might already be doing regularly, the likelihood of repeat bookings with the RRSC increases compared with a classic night out at the opera.
We imagine the narrative of RRSC events would mirror the ROH repertoire and be programmed slight before the operas open in the main house, acting as a prelude or a teaser that might make dinners curious to experience the full opera afterwards.

Insights #4: Market trends

From first-hand research we found that the younger target market rely on social media platforms to find and share entertainment ideas and experiences. Secondary platforms that connect users to the newest and most exclusive events and popups leverage the existing influence of social media; GrubbClub has successfully done this for supper clubs in London which are disrupting conventional restaurant dining experiences by offering more intimate and themed experiences.

Design response: Both the physical venue and entertainment value of the ROH offer a perfect opportunity for an opera themed supper club, which the market is ready for. Furthermore, the more informal and social dinning atmosphere compared to the theatre, provides ample opportunity for guests to engage on social media during the experience, helping to share and promote the new service virally online. 

Insights #5: International brand

ROH is a brand on an international stage, alongside other world-class performance venues such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Barbican and the National Theatre in the UK, The Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia among others.

Design response: Once successfully piloted at ROH in London, RRSC could be scaled across UK and even aboard using partner venues and local performance staff, so that new audiences are grown not only for ROH in London, but also for the ROH BP Big Screens and Cinema programmes.

Project Partner: Royal Opera House, London
Project team: Hsin-Yi Lo, Lin-Chen Li
Year: 2017