Case Study

Generating New Menu and Promotional Items with Virtual Ideation


The COVID-19 pandemic changed meetings, perhaps forever. Virtual meetings via Zoom, Teams, and the like, have become ubiquitous and—for some—the perfect opportunity to turn off the camera and disengage. But what happens when you have an urgent business need that requires high engagement across a wide sector of your employees?

Our client, a casual dining chain, needed to generate creative and fun ideas across four core business platforms. When initial efforts to ideate in-house were unsuccessful, the client approached C+R for help.

C+R utilized an online meeting platform and virtual whiteboard to lead a fun and engaging ideation session filled with activities designed to promote creativity. At the end of 2.5 hours together, employees had generated over 70 new ideas to move their brand forward.


Combating Zoom Fatigue

To attract customers, our client, a casual dining chain, needed to ideate as many new menu items and promotional offers as possible. They’d tried to tackle ideation internally, but their initial meeting hadn’t gotten them what they needed. So, they called C+R.

Ideation sessions are normally held in-person at interesting off-site locations that help participants get out of “the every day.” However, because of COVID-19, meeting in-person wasn’t an option.

In planning the ideation session, our team knew they had to get creative in order to assure that when it came time for the workshop, participants had what they needed to get creative.


A Quick, Fun, and Effective Online Ideation Session

Prior to the ideation session, prime participants were asked to complete a brief ‘homework’ assignment. Each person was assigned one of the four opportunity platforms the client had identified for ideation and asked to look for real world examples the company could leverage.

To maximize engagement, the workshop began with small group breakouts. In each breakout room, a C+R facilitator used creative exercises to inspire imagination. For example, one group selected from different categories (protein, sauce, spice) to fit ingredients together into a new menu idea. Another group played a trivia game where the questions and answers forced them to consider different styles of cuisine and regional specialties. Another group used an optimization technique to improve current menu offerings. And the final group used a game board to generate promotional ideas for specific menu items. For each idea, C+R facilitators captured the name, a brief summary of what the idea entailed, and a “reason to believe” the client could leverage the idea to meet customers’ needs. 

After breakout sessions, each group presented two to three favorite ideas to the larger group and gave others the chance to build on the ideas. All builds were captured by the C+R facilitators using the virtual whiteboard. Next, ideas were compiled, and the entire group individually reviewed ideas and privately voted for the ones they felt had the most potential across the four business platforms. 

To combat “Zoom fatigue,” the entire ideation session lasted just a few hours (versus all day for a traditional in-person workshop), was fast-paced, and included a combination of full-group, small group, and individual work to maintain engagement. 

The result

More Than 70 Ideas in 2.5 Hours!

The session was a big success.

Participants remained engaged throughout the workshop and produced more than 70 ideas across the four themes in just 2.5-hours! They also had a lot of fun!

proven experience

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