The importance of reviewing your food suppliers and menus in 2023

Food service business

In 2023, the UK eating-out-of-home market will be a playground for those who can think quickly and move nimbly. The independent foodservice business sector has an advantage over its larger counterparts due to less complicated supply chains — so being innovative could prove crucial!

Food service business

Food propositions – questions and challenges

While the next year might be a difficult one for foodservice businesses, it’s important to make sure that your offerings are still in line with what your diners want. 

Economic climate

With the ever-changing economic climate, it may be tricky to predict just how patrons will approach their dining-out habits. 

One thing is certain though: having a plan in place that keeps the business running smoothly no matter what’s happening economically, is an important step to take. Consider your take out service, delivery options, and optimising your menu for varying trading levels, as just a few ideas to get started.

Customers changing their working habits

Flexible ‘working from home’ options may have already had an effect on certain hospitality businesses, as there may no longer be as much foot traffic past town centre establishments. Conversely, suburban and secondary town-located venues may well have picked up trade as their commuting customers are spending less time away from their homes.

There is no set ‘play-book’ for this shift in habit but each business needs to assess the impact in their local market and build a plan accordingly.  

There are ongoing issues in the global supply chain

This manifests itself in disruptions to operations, as many establishments will not receive the items or ingredients they need when they are needed most. A review of current suppliers may be in the best interest of the business, or at least a look at opening accounts with a backup supplier to cover a crisis.

Price increases

Price rises in the foodservice  business are well ahead of the national inflation figures – sitting close to 15% in recent weeks.  Maintaining profit margins whilst remaining affordable for a venue’s customer base is a difficult balance.   

Operators will need to employ a range of strategies to navigate these uncertain times. This may include re-engineering menus and dishes to mitigate the largest cost increases, making tactical price increases or reigning in promotions & discounts in place of other footfall driving initiatives. Visit the Bidfood website for fantastic tips on ways to improve your profit margins, reducing food costs, and more. 

Dining trends

Dining trends are ever-evolving, which is why it is important for business owners and those involved in the industry to always be aware of what is going on. It may be necessary to look at the geographic area of your business, your customers, and of course anything new that you could possibly introduce in order to stay ahead of the curve and satisfy the needs, not only of your regulars but of your new customers as well.

Additionally, businesses should seek out new sources of revenue if possible, such as providing catering services for events or utilising outdoor seating during summer months. 

Analyse what’s really going on in your business – stop, look and listen

Understanding the business you’re in and speaking to customers is a great place to begin when stumped with the question, “What should I do when I don’t know what to do?”. 

It’s essential to take a look at any changes in sales between 2021 and 2022. It can also be useful to observe which menu items are more or less popular during certain times of day or throughout the year, which can help inform smart decisions regarding how best to maximise profits. 

Additionally, understanding exactly when and why the business is busiest or quietest can give insight into potentially revised opening and closing times, as well as the possible need to hire more people to keep up with demand. 

As well as leveraging supplier knowledge and industry reports, hearing customer comments on other venues is also a great resource for gaining an industry perspective. 

Food service business

Decide on a plan and stick with it

Deciding on a few key changes for 2023 is an important step for any foodservice business. These changes could involve trimming or expanding the menu, changing service hours, reducing reliance on certain ingredients, training team members to do more in the kitchen, and making improvements to the alfresco order from Easter into summer. 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for tackling these goals; each foodservice business must approach them in their own way. Sharing the plan with employees is also paramount – allowing them to provide feedback and ideas will be critical in ensuring success. 

A new plan will take time to come into effect, and possibly a little longer before anyone starts to notice, but it will be worth it in the end. 

LSG Purchasing  offers increased buying power through tailor-made deals, so hospitality managers and owners can focus on being innovative and providing the best experience for customers. Contact the team at LSG Purchasing  to learn more about how they can help you succeed in spite of the challenges ahead.