How one company is inspiring chefs and restaurants around the country to pair story with seafood.
Expanding on the launch of our Storied Fish research report, The Untapped Potential of Story to Sell Seafood, we caught up with Sean Barrett, Co-Founder of Dock to Dish to hear how spreading the message of “know your fisherman” has allowed restaurants to market Storied Fish at top prices, and has inspired chefs to demand story with their seafood.
Why did you start pairing fish with story and when did you know that it worked?
We grew up fluently understanding that storytelling around the dinner table was an integral part of harbor town culture. Many of our members had never experienced this kind of curated seafood before. We built an incredibly loyal base of supporters and advocates rather quickly. Once they experienced Dock to Dish, they all said the same thing, “This is how wild seafood sourcing and distribution should be.” They would no longer eat seafood that could not provide that kind of experience.
How do you measure the value of attaching a story to your seafood?
How do customers respond to the seafood stories that you tell?
Our stories focus on our fisherman and include detailed information about changes in the ecosystem and environment. Sharing this information led to a whole new level of interest and enthusiasm from conservation groups, many of whom applauded our mission and methodology, even calling Dock to Dish the new face of sustainable seafood in the U.S.
Have you noticed any changes in the use or effectiveness of Storied Fish over time?
Many of our chefs tell us that we’re causing the change. Chefs have started to demand freshness, quality, and story. They tell their suppliers, “If Dock to Dish can tell us [where this fish came from], then so can you.”
And fishermen reap the benefits as well. Many fishermen are connected with chefs and restaurants on social media. When we saw chefs thanking fishermen we realized the power of sharing fishermen’s stories. Since the quality of seafood depends on how it’s handled once it’s caught, commitment to quality across the supply chain is essential. Once fishermen got to know the chef who was going to prepare their fish, they started to take extra care. In this we saw a restoration of quality controls. Fisherman started using lost techniques that their grandfathers used.
What challenges have you encountered when it comes to Storied Fish?
How could your example scale or apply elsewhere?
Read more about Sean’s involvement with Future of Fish here. And check out this video about Dock to Dish’s partnership with Google.
Published September 12, 2016