Most trends in any industry come and go but there are those that, over time, become ‘business as usual’. One thing is for sure, whether you miss the boat or rise with the tide, keeping ahead of the curve can mean the difference between success and mediocrity. Of course, there’s no reason to chase every fad that comes your way, but ignoring significant, indisputable changes in guest behaviour is never wise.
As an independent company, LSG Purchasing understands the importance of embracing the hospitality trends, for our own business but more importantly, for yours as well.
Being a member of LSG Purchasing not only means that you have access to greater purchasing power, but from time to time we’ll give you a heads up on the latest trends in the industry too. Here are 3 hospitality trends that the team at LSG Purchasing feel are here to stay and now need to become ‘business as usual’ – and one where you might be able to steal a march on the crowd.
Customers want to book, order and pay with tech solutions
It has become evident that customers want to experience your business on their terms. The pandemic showed us that the reliance on easy to use tech solutions is a trend that is here to stay. Traditionally, many pubs and bars were zoned with different service styles being delivered in different areas (E.g. Bar service in a bar area, table service in dining areas etc). However, changes in consumer behaviour mean it’s time to rethink this strategy.
Customers should come first, and this means that we need to start thinking differently about how we zone our bars, pubs and restaurants.
Instead of designating physical areas in our venues, we need to adapt to how different customers want to interact with us:
- Table service customer
- E-ordering customer
- Split the bill customer
- Buying in rounds customer
- Going to the bar customer
Ultimately, what this means is that venues would do well to review their use of technology, team training, and operational planning. By making ongoing adjustments to your service offering you’ll be further meeting the demands of your customer.
One example to consider is using the power of social media to increase bookings. Sure, you’re visible on Facebook and your customer can find your venue, but can they also make a booking or order a takeaway online? It’s a simple process to set this up and means guests are not switching platforms to access your services.
LSG Purchasing are proud partners with a number of technology service providers aimed at the Hospitality sector. Mr Yum offers some of the top order & pay, and marketing solutions available on the market today! While Langleys Distribution offer a diverse range of EPOS equipment, smart order, IT hardware & software, website building and online ordering solutions to the hospitality market.
Chicken – More people are crossing the road for it
The consumer demand for chicken based menu options has taken flight. With consumer uptake in organic food products, and a growing desire to eat more healthily, chicken has grown to be one of the most popular choices when selecting a protein option from a menu.
In 2019 Mintel carried out research which concluded that consumers visiting chicken outlets had risen by 5% from 2018. The research also provides evidence that two thirds of consumers believe that chicken and burger venues offer healthier options than in previous years. This belief has contributed to an increase in the popularity of chicken when ordering take away or eating in restaurants.
All you have to do is look around at the numerous food outlets which have added chicken to the menu, or read more about the ‘’chicken sandwich wars’’ to understand the trends and growing popularity of organic, free-range chicken. Whether it’s deep fried chicken, chicken salad, or hot and spicy chicken wings from a vendor at a festival, chicken is set to stay on the menu for a while to come.
Accelerated growth in Low / No alcohol beer – A serious category in its own right
According to the FT, consumers in the UK spent £380m on alcohol-free and low-alcohol brews in 2021. This figure is more than double the sales recorded in 2016.
No and low alcohol (Nolo) beers have gained a hugely credible reputation as more than just a distress substitute for alcoholic beer. They’re becoming a category in their own right and are more regularly being considered as a default soft drink for adults.
To make the most of the growing popularity and increased demand for nolo beers, consider the following next time you’re placing your beverage orders:
- It’s a range, not a default option
- Different styles should be offered
- Rotate and try new stuff
- Promote in drinks menus
- Take it seriously – train the team, serve it cold in great glassware
Visit Matthew Clark for a fantastic range of beers, cider, spirits and more!
Watch this space – Working from the pub is coming
And it makes so much sense! If there’s one thing that the pandemic showed us, it’s that the way we’ve always worked is NOT the only way to get things done. Our customers have adopted a hybrid routine of working from home, the office, coffee shops and various other non-traditional work space set ups.
There have been a number of pubs across the country which have started offering a workspace solution, and it seems to be paying off.
And here’s why:
- Pubs are generally quiet(er) from Monday to Thursday, between 10am – 4pm (peak work hours)
- Pubs often have ample parking
- Pubs usually have large tables at desk or standing height (healthier for your posture)
Take a look at Meetingsinn for some more inspiration and reasons for your venue to start catering to the remote and hybrid workforce in the UK.
When you look at the basics, all a worker is looking for is the ability to book a table (which can’t be done at a Costa), power, WiFi, table service, and delicious coffee. Take a look at your venue, and its target customers and work out if the Mon-Fri, 9-5 crowd could be your next source of revenue
Invest resources carefully
Businesses with larger portfolios and multiple brands are able to cover more bases and hedge their bets by investing in various trends at once. However, if you’re a smaller independent venue, you’ll understand the need to carefully invest in change, to ensure that it positively affects your top and bottom line.
LSG Purchasing will continue to keep you updated with more insights as well as delivering increased buying power for your business. By working with the sector’s best suppliers we can help you drive your business forward