Supporting Britain’s diverse food culture
by helping independent restaurants thrive


With the hospitality sector struggling during the plight of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gousto were in a position to act as champions of food variety in the UK.

Manifest was tasked with creating a campaign that would drive brand love and showcase ‘variety and choice’ key messaging – the brand’s main strength against competitors – sensitively amidst a culturally turbulent climate.

The Audience

We built the Cookstarter campaign around the brand’s key audience ‘Confident Adventurers’; cooks who look for authenticity. To understand the state of the nation’s independent food scene against the backdrop of the pandemic, we commissioned a survey revealing that 90% of independent restaurants were in danger of closure due to the pandemic. It was crucial to ensure the campaign was an authentic offer of support to the hospitality industry and appealed to the general public.

The Strategy

Gousto’s Cookstarter campaign encouraged the British public to nominate their can’t-live-without local independent restaurants that they believed championed variety and diversity. After a rigorous selection process, which included a public vote, managed between Manifest and Gousto, five finalist restaurants were announced and received £10k of funding and a year-long business mentorship programme with Gousto. Each of the finalists then went on to work with Gousto’s food team to create a recipe inspired by a popular dish from their menu in which Gousto users were able to order and tip back to the restaurants directly using TipJar.

To amplify activity and maximise publicity, Manifest created a three-phased plan.


Using celebrity endorsements, press, broadcast and social media to ensure as many people as possible were nominating their favourite restaurants


We profiled the 5 winning restaurants in their local media, giving more visibility to issues faced by the sector during the pandemic

Food Focus

Profiling the Cookstarter recipes and generating trade coverage for the brand, solidifying Gousto as a recipe box with choice and variety at its core

The Execution

We wanted to champion Gousto’s ‘Give It Some’ creative strategy and attitude by going against the grain and supporting competitors in our industry, showcasing Gousto’s commitment to Britain’s richly diverse food scene. The creative was driven by a multi-channel approach, with a clear CTA that encouraged the British public to nominate their favourite independent restaurants, inspire unity during the pandemic, and tap into the cultural sentiment around supporting local communities and businesses.

We collaborated with the five restaurants to launch a selection of limited-edition recipe kits on the Gousto menu, available to the general public. Customers were able to tip back to the restaurants when ordering via TipJar and were able to donate to support the wider hospitality industry through Hospitality Action, to ensure our reach and impact extended beyond our five winners.


Pieces of top-tier coverage
Conversion rate for media gifting
Paid influencer reach
Total social reach
© Manifest 2022